I forgot to count but probably 50-55 cyclists and 23 rolled out with the A group, including Marty, Jon Morgan, Dave Chesrown, Garth P, Chris Grisvard, Tim Tyler, Billy Campbell, Paul Stock, Mitch Tallen, Steve O, Doug McConaha, Poobah, Katherine, Christian, Terry, Mick, Muscle Dude, Eddy, Claude, Kenda Dave, Ron, Reynoldsburg Dan...I think I got everyone, what a memory! So, we rolled out old 161 with the usual surges and pauses, reaching 310 but kept straight through all the way to Alexandria and upon arriving at the stop sign, our average was 25mph. Turning left then a quick right on Moots, someone hit the gas on the ramp and that culled the herd a bit and upon reaching the flat, we were down to 14 cyclists. Unfortunately, Paul lost a chain and Garth had a flat so we soft pedaled for a bit until Jon and I consulted each other and decided, screw them let's go! We entered Granville with a 24.4mph avg and would have been interesting what it would have been without the slow down.
Then, a left at Thresher and as you can imagine, the herd then was really thinned. About half way up I got steered into the side of a car so lost some momentum but at the top, I was still in the front 7-8 at the left turn on to Burg Street but spewing hydraulic fluid and forced to ease. Muscle Dude came around me and charged on and so too did Mitch T but I could not hold the wheels. Rode through the rollers on Burg, through the stop sign on to New Burg and then Eddy, guy wearing deep blue jersey, passed but still not the right fit for me (in other words, he was going too fast). I waited patiently and half way up the ramps, glanced back and here came Steve O and Doug M and I jumped on, riding with them out Dry Creek where Muscle Dude and Eddy had slowed to wait for us, now we had 5 and a good working group. Noted my average then was 23.4mph. Steve O had the good fortune of being motor paced after dropping off on 161 by one of the usual Thursday regulars who was driving around in his van and jumped in to help.
We stayed straight at the stop sign rather than turning left but realized our mistake and got back onto the route, got up the hill and turned left on Battee, where Steve O, rode away from us but not sure he stayed on the route thereafter. Craig, Eddy and I turned left at Hardscrabble, right at Raccoon Valley, rolled into Alexandria, out Jug and there spotted two guys ahead of us. We could not close the gap, until much later where we joined up with Paul and Mitch, then finished with 39 miles, a 22.2 avg and a surprising 1350' of elevation. The "Marty" group finished with a 23.3 average. So close but yet sooooo far for me.