And so, what started as a reasonable group of A cyclists swelled sharply in the last 10 minutes and there were 18 of us leaving the parking lot including Young Phenom Logan, John Morgan, Dave Chesrown, Trek Ron, Paul Stock, Red Head Bill & friend, two Trek/HVC guys, John Gorilla, Jeff S, Claude, Gus, etc... Jeff came up with an extended route of 48 miles that would take us east of #661 and included that debilitating series of ramps/hills on Chattam Road. I won't lie, I didn't like my chances once the group hit Chattam. We headed out #161 but turned north on Kitzmiller and worked our way over to Beech and then Jug. The pace had been moderate but on Jug, a couple of guys began launching attacks and the intensity level zoomed off the charts. Being a wizened vet, I was patient and did not waste energy sprinting after each attack because the quality of the group was such it was very unlikely any attack would get away and in fact, they did not.
After turning at #310 and then picking up Jug again, attacks prevailed. It seemed the larger of the Trek/HVC dudes kept going to the front and punishing us whenever the pace slackened even a little. We jetted into Alexandria with a 25mph avg and then out Raccoon Valley where the pace was moderate for the first half and then the impatient hit the front again. We turned left onto Louden and I remained with the group but needed the pace to ease a bit to catch my breath, alas, it did not. Somebodys just kept taking turns hammering and soon, whatever color is above red, that is the category in which I found myself. Geez, by the final ramp on Louden, just short of the steep downhill, I had to sit up and bid the group adieu. At that point, mile 17, my average was 24.4 and I was shell shocked. The group was down to 13 but I have no idea who had dropped. I did note at the Dry Creek turn at the bottom of the hill, 4 had dropped back but had taken the turn. I made a snap decision not to turn and ride the balance of the route likely alone so I stayed straight, figuring the B group would catch me and I could limp back, feeling generally sucky about my condition. I finished with 40 miles and a 20.4 crummy average.
Rather than bore you with the remaining 24 mile description of riding completely alone save for a few miles at the end with a B group, I'll jump to the A group effort. They would have hit the Chattam ramps and surely that took a big bite out of their average out to Sportsman Club Road where they turned west. Initially flat to rolling, once crossing #661, there are some super rollers in there and then more climbing after crossing Louden before heading south on Northridge and back into Alexandria. From there, they would leave the valley via Jug and return to the parking lot with 45 miles and a freakin 23.6 mph avg. For the distance, coupled with the climbing, that might be the best New Albany performance ever. At the end there were 6-7 cyclists including John M, Red Head Bill, Dave C, Trek HVC dudes and 1-2 others. One of them suggested I post this to scare others away. It's starting to work on me, that's for sure.