A large group started at about 8:15 and after a few miles, smaller groups emerged as some went faster and some went slower. I fell in with fellow 80 milers, Larry P, Lisa A, SuperDave and at times, Kevin K was with us, Steve O hung with us for awhile, Mitch the Enginner and Jeff S rode with us but by the time we reached Mooresville, there was just 4 of us.
We departed the fun at the food stop and soon, made the left at the walnut tree orchard on Clark Road for the difficult climb to the top of Tar Hollow. Larry and I competed for KOM points, which he won easily. After coasting down to the bottom and emerging on I think #327, we headed north, realizing we would have to reclimb the hill again, this time up the long but not as steep side. Larry again vanquished me but I put up a good fight, whining that 18 holes of golf the day before had taken everything out of me. Eventually, at mile 57 we hit Laurelville for a food stop, which was very welcome. This is where the 100/80 mile split was and we happily headed for the 80 mile route.
Out #180 before making a left on Union. I don't remember riding this "buckley Knee" road of one uphill stretch after another after another. Just when you thought there could not be another ramp headed up we would crest the hill and see another. Larry laid down the law again but I made him work for it, a little, with Lisa A always right there too. A March fall has caused her some difficulty and she'll be going under the knife after CFC to get it fixed. Anyway, the real kick in the teeth was yet to come, a large boulder field about a 1/4 mile long that forced everyone to dismount, except Larry who managed to ride through it. One rider became inspired by Larry and attempted to remount his bike and ride but he promptly took a painful fall. We rolled into Tarlton at mile 68 where I paused, debating about drinking another Monster but decided to continue but withoyt Larry and Lisa, who had kept going.
For some reason, with all the distractions in Tarlton with a farmres market and multiple cars and pedestrians, I missed the turn and headed out #159, riding southwest and off the route. I realized my mistake after I got to the top of the climb but there was no way I was going to retrace and face another climb out of Tarlton so a couple of map checks eventually put me back on the route and then at Circleville with 81 miles. Again, a great route, good map and good roads, mostly.