We left the parking lot and on to old 161 headed east with a light wind coming out of the north, temperature around 70 and low humidity...what's not to like? I slotted in beside Todd Mullins and even managed to exchange a comment or two as my breathing was not too taxed. I found myself way back in the peloton but the leaders were rotating frequently and by the time we reached the right turn on Watkins, I was kind of close to the front, which is good when headed into a turn with an uphill ramp. No one really pushed the pace so I rode kind of comfortably to Morse Road, turning east, watching the cyclist in front of me. Glancing up, what the.... The group just exploded with a group already gapping a 2nd group and a gap to some of us coming through the corner. That was tricky, very tricky and unlucky if you were in the back, like me.
Gus Cook, Mick and me worked together as we turned off Morse Road, making a left on Outville and almost caught the group at Moots Road but it was not to be. We arrived in Granville with a 23.7 avg, hit every freakin light through the village, headed east of Granville and reaching Jones Road, made a left while agreeing that we would regroup at the Sharon Valley Road dead end. We rode together with Gus setting the pace, turned left at SV Road and upon reaching Welch Hills Road, there was Craig Rice so now we had four. As we followed the route back to Granville and out via New Burg, we discussed what to do and finally decided, what the heck, let's do the full 55 mile route. As we plodded and suffered up Chatham, I commented that suffering like this, together, forges great friendship. Or, it just makes suffering easier to manage. Reaching the top of the dreaded Chatham Road at Chestnut Road, we waited briefly for Craig who is not quite in as good shape as normal.
We headed west on Chestnut and our group began leaking more oil as Mick slipped back. Crossing 661, we kept plugging away making a left on Liberty Church and basked in the long down hill before making a right on Stone Quarry, arghhhh will the hills never end? A left turn on Northridge followed by a right on Concorde and now, finally, the hard climbing is behind us as we made a left on Nichols Lane, then a right, then a left on 310, a right on Duncan Plains and a left on...opps, more climbing on Caswell and here, our group went from leaking oil to gushing oil as Craig and Mick fell back. We were now close enough to New Albany that leaving someone behind was ok so Gus and I worked together eventually getting on 161 and hooking up with Crazy George, who is very strong on the flats, gliding back to the parking lot with a 20.2 avg and all of the 55 miles. Meantime, the Marty, Patrick, Luke and 5 others from the original 25 finished with a 22.7 avg.