A cool evening and I don't think we reached the forecast high of 70 as clouds moved in. I searched my house for arm warmers for quite awhile before remembering they are in AZ, DUH! John signs in as the early turnout was very light. I figured with the New York Gran Fondo and a Saturday race, maybe a lot of people would stay home.
Dirty Dan arrived, surprising since Dan called me and told me he was coming. That's a sure sign that he will not be there. He claims he is doing home improvement projects so I approached the van for evidence and sure enough, the inside has a thick coating of mulch, dirt, manure, cow dung, nasty stuff. I made a mental note to offer Dan the use of my Shop-Vac.
They arrived in fits and starts while someone noticed kits having the colors red/black/white were prevalent. I scanned the parking lot and noticed a group several aisles over so....
....oh, so this is where the fit and fast hang out. Doug McConaha on the left. During the ride, he was at the front and with all his lost weight, he looked like Hendra from behind with kind of the same pedaling motion. Wonder if he can or wants to remain at the lower weight. He says he is drinking a lot of beer.
The Cooks arrive with Gus gaining strength every day. Jillian in the middle.
Ron Budzig on the right who pulled me around for 24 miles later in the day.
As usual, the broad expanse of the parking lot disguises the quantity but once I pleaded with them to gather around, they came and came, over 60. There must be a lot of new people because the high turnout is without quite a few of the regulars from past years. But wait, There, partially hidden from view on the right is Jr Muscle Dude. I think his first time out. I made a few comments and sent out the A group and off we went but as usual...
....while the start location is great, getting out of the place is a pain. I urged someone to just fling their bodies into traffic so we could go but no takers. Fifteen of us finally made it out to 161, a left on Kitzmiller, a brief pause at the crossing of #62, east on Central College and multiple turns later, a long race to the north via Green Cook. Throughout, it seemed like Pete C and Luke R were taking the strongest/longest pulls during which I struggled. We made a right on Robins and a left on County Line, reached Edwards before another long stretch on Clover Valley.
I made a strategic error. I found myself in the 3rd position, directly behind Pete C, pulled inexorably forward but with the red sirens blaring in my skull warning the outcome was not going to be good. Sure enough, Pete took over and by the time he rotated out of line, I was left gasping and quickly overtaken by Doug M and 9 surviving members who quickly and efficiently, left me in the dust. I tuned onto Foundation and there was Ron so we formed up and took turns pulling through the next few turns, now following the B route. Of course, there is still motivation to ride hard and not be overtaken by the B group. Nothing wrong with being overtaken by the B group other than when I am overtaken, I have to endure a mix of taunts, catcalls, mocks, jibes, jeers, insults and just generally tormented for a moment or two by those who take too much pleasure (too numerous to mention here). At the top of Jersey Mill, there was Ken Buddell and better yet, Ken was willing to modify his pace to keep us in the mix! What a guy, a team player.
We rolled back to the parking lot (ahead of the B group) and arrived with a 21.2 avg and 44 miles Anyway, soon thereafter, like really soon,.....
Five of the 15 who began the A ride arrived, they called themselves the "Fab Five", Jon M, Luke R, Marty, Pete C and Shawn Aker, finishing with a 22.2 avg and 48 miles.
Should be another good evening for a bike ride and Rick has come up with a good route. Rick, by the way, will not be there but someone super competent will, to sign you in, take your money and offer good advice. For more information, click here and remember, print your own map:http://www.thecyclingclub.org/club-rides/thursday-evening-ride/