Jamie was unable to attend the New Albany ride so he invited me to join him at the trail head of the Marie Hickey trail at Black Hand Gorge, from where we would first time trial to Frazysburg and then trail run the MH loop, twice, a rather hilly but beautiful trail above the Licking River, east of Newark. We agreed Jamie would start the bike route and I'd wait 3 minutes before starting. Funny thing, by the time Jamie exited the parking lot, I was already on his wheel, drafting. The route was rolling with a few too many intersections to navigate but otherwise a good route. We reached F-burg at mile 10 with a 24mph average and my legs burning in protest. I yelled for him to keep going and I settled in for the return, reaching the parking lot with a 22.1 average. Jamie had already put his bike away, changed to running shoes and was gone, I suspected driven by the desire to lap me on his second lap around the trail.
I was desperate not to be humiliated by a lapping and so when the trail came down to the river, where it goes parallel to a bridge before doubling back after crossing the bridge, I jumped into the river with the fishes and began free styling across, tiring at the halfway point and switching to a backstroke, then to a breast stroke, then to a dog paddle and finally, just let the current carry me to the opposite shore. I'm pretty sure I gained a valuable second or two. The trail then led up to a ridge and gets very steep, a point at which I had to walk and a panicky feeling of dread prevailed as I anticipated the runaway freight train whooshing by but he never came. Jamie had stopped after one lap of the loop and we agreed it was too hot to run again. Now on to New Albany for an evening beat down at the legs of many.
For energy, I prepared and ate a PB & J sandwich and washed it down with a Monster. Arrived at the NA parking lot and was relieved to discover that Dennis apparently is not yet holding a grudge for the many shots I take at him in this forum (I'll have to try harder). Big crowd including Farmer Mike makiing his first Thursday appearance, Super Dave making a rare start and Pugilist Mark Rossi (long story I'll tell some day about Mark saving a group of 12 of us cyclists from one drunk driver) also Paul Stock and a large turnout of the usual suspects. Farmer Mike had already ridden earlier in the day with Jon the Dentist so he was looking for a slower ride, like me, as was Jeff S (swine-flu like symptoms that included oinking sounds) and Dennis, seeing an opportunity to punish me, joined in with the "B" group too. The A group took off and I kind of regretted not being able to go too since without Group Killer, it was likely to stay a sizeable group. Anyway, a large group of B's took off and we had a lot of fun. It's nice to be able to ride and not breath too hard, talk to fellow cyclists, enjoy the scenery while dodging Jeff's virus soaked coughs and snot honkers. We cruised into Johnstown and then out Sportsman Club. Upon reaching Northridge, I made a snap decision to head south while a still large group of B's headed towards Louden. Came upon a slower group of B's at Northridge and rode with them for awhile. On old 161 the A group caught me and it appeared there werre 12-15 still together. At the parking lot, Satan Mick said the A group had a 22 average. Don't forget, Saturday morning at 8:00am is a ride from the high school in Johnstown to Utica and then on to Bladensburg. 72 miles for the Bladensburg route and 42 for Utica. Lots