Cool sunny weather brought them out in droves to New Albany. Recently, a reader of this blog said, "Yeah but only strong riders show up for those rides" but these COP sponsored rides from New Albany and Canal Winchester attract A. B and C rated riders so there is a speed for anyone reading this (including you Belinda).
I counted anywhere from 48-52 cyclists, including of course George. I coasted up to his car while he was preparing his bike and he approached me with a serious look on his face and shaking his head. "Man, I've been thinking hard about what you need to do to keep up with me but I can't think of anything." Ho, ho, ho. At least that was somewhat original. Others showing up were Super Dave, Franz, Greg Hall, Flying Tuna, Kenda Dave, Mark V, Mario, Todd Lee, Paul Stock, Jamie (Group Killer), Justin of Jeni's Racing, 2 Walker guys, Chad, Mick, some super muscular dude that must weigh 200 pounds but can kill on the flats, Jeff S, Farmer Mike and other racing types, INCLUDING Jon the Dentist, making a rare appearance. I can't ignore the obvious, Jon's appearance ratcheted up the interest level for you know who and I suspect changed GK's strategy for the evening. Earlier, Jamie had said there were too many strong riders for him to pull all the time so he was going to mellow out. The total leaving the lot with the A group was 22.
Immediately, Jamie rode to the front and dropped the hammer during the warm-up phase but something extraordinary happened, nobody chose to pursue. In a typically high testosterone group ride, that sort of provocation is never ignored but everyone simultaneously decided to do the warm-up instead. Eventually we regrouped and as a statement Jamie would pull, slide to the left but not enter the draft, instead ride alongside whoever had moved up in the line and when that person tired, Jamie slid back into the lead. My thought is before Group Killer reduces his ride time to focus on distance running, he wanted to make a statement and boy, did he. Anyway, we made it to Alexandria with still a fairly large group and turned left on Mounts, where there is a lot of climbing all the way out to Hardscrabble.
These ride reports are about the cyclists that struggle, sweat, push themselves beyond the brink of exhaustion, do strange things under the pressure of keeping up and say funny things driven by exhaustion (gosh I love the environment so) but I strive to never make them about me, choosing instead to self deprecate about how I am barely hanging on and how lucky I am to make it back alive. Please allow me this one time only the following: by the time GK reached Hardscrabble, I was the only one on his wheel and that was a great feeling.
The rest of the route was the usual mix of rolling hills along Concord, down Caswell, out Green Chapel, you know the drill. We arrived back at the lot with 10 people and a 22.7 mph average. It sounds as if many will be at Pastor Mark's church for the HOOT ride on Saturday and there are a few who will do the time trial on Sunday too. George arrived in the parking lot complaining about his rear wheel rubbing, which caused him to stop in Alexandria. Greg Hall revealed that in preparation for a final weigh-in contest the following morning, he had not eaten all day and spent the ride bonking. The Flying Tuna had something really super duper fantastic happen but she said I could not use it in the ride report. However, knowing Cindy, she'll manage to tell everyone before the start of HOOT. Whatever happened to Dennis? Also, Recumbent Dude, where were you on this glorious weather evening? Lastly, Farmer Mike is 67 and a hard core mountain biker who also rides a road bike sometimes. Last weekend he competed in the 50 and over division of a 60+ mile race with lots of climbing and out of 50 riders, finished 8th.