The early highlight was watching Steve walk around the parking lot with his sleeve rolled up, hoping people would ask about his injuries. He kept badgering me to take a picture and so I did, here showing a small scab on his arm and a finger heavily covered with a bandage so we could not confirm there was an actual injury. To ensure a good view, Steve curled his other fingers back when I took the shot. Very considerate.
We headed out toward Pickerington Road and once there, enjoyed the multiple steep climbs before cruising into the driveway at the top of the final big climb to regroup. In what will be the last image of its kind, assuming Steve is healed and not wearing tennis shoes while riding a heavy hybrid bike, this will be the last time I reach a summit ahead of him in time to take the picture as proof. Here Steve admits I am #1, tonight, by saluting me with the #1 finger sign.
On to Rock Mill and into Amanda. Some where along Rock Mill we gobbled up Anthony, I was tired of drafting into the SW head wind and was chagrined the route kept going south out of Amanda up that long hill before hitting Gearhart and then going further south on Sixteenth before making a right on Stoutsville-Oakville and finally a turn to the north on Justus. Amanda had drifted back somewhere in there and I suggested we hang back and soft pedal. I probably should not have beeen surprised to hear multiple, "She's got a map, she kind find her way back". However, I was able to convince them we were pretty far out of Canal to leave someone alone and the hard cases grudgingly waited. Eventually, our group got whittled down to Steve, Anthony and me and I had to admit to Steve I was impressed he was able to hang with us, all things considered. We arrived back in Canal with 2100' of climbing.