So, we shoved out of the parking lot, maybe 22 of us including Patrick, Rich Lewis, Dave C, Billy Campbell, Mick, Shannon, Pete C, Chris G, Terry G, Doug M, Mike Rea, Paul Stock (preparing for a trip to France next month to ride in the Pyrennes with Trek Travel), etc.... oh and George. We arrived at the first light in New Albany and George mockingly asked of me, "How long you think you can hang on?"...soooo funny. We made the turn on Kitzmiller and George said, "Are you still here?"......now that's a belly acher right there. We turned on to Jug and he asked, "How much longer can you make it?'....what a knee buckling laugh that caused me. Ho, ho, ho. Right then, My cleat unclipped from the pedal and the group began evaporating from me but good ole Dave Chesrown, saw my predicament, paused and said he pull me back up and did. What a great guy!
We cruised out Jug at a pretty fast clip, arriving at Mink where we turned left. I've never taken this route into Johnstown so was curious about the road, which had some traffic but not too bad. There are a couple of ramps going into Johnstown and the group began breaking up. I went left of center to get around a couple of guys, dumb move cause it's never that important not to get dropped. A van approached and honked and I ducked back into the line and hung on to the front group. We emerged from the village, making a left on Concord and I could see at the front the usual punishers taking turns, Billy, Shannon, etc... The pace was fairly intense and some guys were dropping off as we sped north on Nicols, then right on Sportsman Club. I thought, "Huh, I've made it this far, maybe I can hang for the duration because what else can they throw at me?" Answer: Lots. After turning left to get back on Nicols, there were a couple of wicked surges and just like that, on a ramp before Dutch Lane, I popped at mile 14 with a 23.5 avg.. Once I got onto Dutch Lane, looking back I saw no one behind so no secondary group with which to form, lost interest in riding and returned with 31 miles and a 21.1 avg. I guessed the route and wind would produce a big average for the front group and it did, 24.5!!!!