We headed across the bridge that spans #33 at a fairly high pace and as the lead group turned right, I was surprised to see, with so many cyclists in the group, it seemed I was 1/4 mile back from the front. Normally that is good for a super drafter like me but I knew the accordion effect would be a killer and as we cruised past the gas station toward the stop sign, I coasted on the inside to slot in the front 1/3 once things ramped up after the turn....except...after stopping I could not get my foot clipped in. Mitch had an encouraging word for me as he went by, "Damn it Mark!" I clipped in and sprinted to catch on, doing so at the turn by Kingys onto Basil Western. However, like a cat having 9 lives, my legs have limited sprint lives and I had just used one. Drafting out to the stop at Pickerington, I recovered a little and noted we already had dropped a couple of people. We continued on, reaching Carroll Northern where we turned right.
I could see Da Boss and a couple of the other stronger A's, taking turns pummeling us at the front with hard pulls. Fate intervened about the time I was scheduling my drop from the group, Da Boss and others missed the turn onto Bish and the front was renewed with "slower" A's. I enjoyed the rolling route out Bish but eventually, the rollers were taking their toll, some more were dropped and oh yeah, Da Boss, Marty & others reinserted themselves in front. We turned left on Bader and right on Leonard. Some where in there, a gap the size of an airport runway (length not width) opened in front of Poobah and then another in front of Jeff S with Kevin, Dennis and I unable or unwilling to try to close. We rode hard but just couldn't close with the tail of the main peloton and with that, I sat up and said, "Boys, that's it. It was a good workout." So, at mile 14 and with a 22.3 average, it was over except, Jeff S refused to give up and kept going but our group coalesced around Kevin, Claude, Dennis and me. We got onto Carroll-Eastern but turned left instead of right at Election House. We stopped to check a map and someone noticed a group making the correct turn so Kevin and Dennis took off. Claude yelled, "Wait for me" but Kevin, surrounded by a thick cloud of Chanel #5 cologne, otherwise known as the "Dome of Silence" must have missed that. I soft pedaled, waiting for Claude and Recumbent Dude came by. Soon, he and Claude worked together (I provided advice from the rear) and caught Kevin, Dennis, Mitch, Ryan and a couple of strangers at #33. We rode in together with some nice finish climbing on Amanda Northern and Slough, 30 miles and a 20.8 average. The lead group had a 22.5 average.