As mentioned above, the route brought out central Ohio's climbers, plus a few wannabees who just came out for the fun and workout. At the start there were 30-35 cyclists including Todd Lee, Dennis, SuperDave, Flyin Tuna, Amanda, Sarge, Retro George, Jeff S, Larry P, The Boss (just back from a vacation in PA), Steve O, 4 Jenis guys, Mitch T, Margarita Holt, Randy Drum, Lisa A, couple of Team Echeloners & others. The sun was out at the start, hot temperature and high humidity for a very hilly 70 mile ride having a 54 mile shorter option.
We rolled out Bovine, making a right on Hamburg and a left on Christmas Rock. I was content to hang in the back for a recovery-type ride day but ahead was Dennis, looking back at me with that smirk, and so I had a dig and got somewhere in the middle of the field riding with Dennis and others. We cruised along the ridge to the downhill on Revenge and then over to the Snortin Ridge climb. Pretty uneventful all the way over to and down Jack Run with Randy D pulling us along and then up to Rock House where a large group was waiting. The blue sky had been temporary and as we waited for folks to fill water bottles, I heard someone, as they checked their phone screen provided weather radar, exclaim, "Rain's coming."
A large group of us took off, with another group behind. Our group had Mitch T to keep the pace fairly high but he was not pressing things too much and we mostly stayed together until Larry P and others rode by from the 2nd group. We jumped onboard and rode hard to Conkles Hollow along 374 and after summiting a huge climb, screamed down hill and ended up at South Bloomingville with lots of empty store fronts and also having missed the short cut turn at Big Pine. Damn! Making a left on 56 we worked our way over to Ash Cave and 374, then past Cedar Falls and finally stopping, after another giant climb, at the turn-off for Old Man's Cave. Another climb brought us to Grandma Fey's store and we stopped to refuel.
As we arrived, Craig's group had just left and it looked like it was he, 2-3 Jenis, Steve O, Randy Brown, George and a couple others (I'm waiting on my spies from that front group to give me a report that I will post here later). We hung around the store and pretty much everyone decided to bypass one loop and take the direct route back to Lancaster. The climbing was taking its toll and the weather was very overcast and threatening. We were already soaked in perspiration and so as we left the store it began to rain lightly but it was a welcome relief with the rain temperature being about the same as the sweat temperature. We worked our way back over to Rock House and then to Jack Run and that infamously steep climb. My condition had been deteriorating rapidly and as we rode towards the hill, but not yet to it, I first fell off the wheel of Margarita Holt, then Lisa A and another guy and soon was last in the field. I crawled up Jack Run losing more ground to those ahead and figured my mechanical issue with the bottom bracket rubbing was contributing some extra resistance. The rain now was not pouring but steady hard with thunder but no lightning. Prior to the climb up Revenge I got off the bike and rotated the pedals backward, curious to gauge the resistance....geez, ok maybe it was contributing a lot to my demise. I limped into the parking lot and was surprised that George's friend Big Gear was right behind me, securing the last spot. 65 miles with 4950' of climbing but it sure seemed more than that.