Tonight was the poorly promoted (my fault for not thinking of it sooner and having it put in the newsletter for Jeff) New Albany version of a summer solstice ride. Some of the cyclists were shocked by the distance of 51 miles but there was a 40 mile alternative that I suspect a very large portion of our group elected to take. The A's were summoned to start and out of the 55 who were present, only 9 left with the A group, soon joined by Rob Rhodes wearing a Walker kit. So, in addition to Rob, we had Terry, Billy Campbell, Jamie Group Brawler, John Morgan, Savage Hill Rick, Mick, Jeff S and another guy. Jamie and I had a pre-ride strategic discussion and were unsure how tonight's ride would play out. No huge climb that would force the group to moderate its behavior like the lead up to the climb on Revenge on Tuesday so who knows?
Hey, guess how we left New Albany? No, something entirely new, we went out old 161 and then Jersey Mill into Alexandria (yes, I'm being sarcastic). The warm-up, typically led by Jeff, is a nice pace to get us well...warmed up of course but tonight was different. Terry, rode around Jeff and hammered. I jumped on his wheel and was doing ok but when he finally drifted to the left, expecting me to take up the pull, all I could do is stare at him helplessly so he went forward and hammered again.. And, get this, he kept hammering with only brief respites in the pack, all the way out to 310. To be frank, I was very surprised our initial group was still together when we got to 310, where we took a left and then a right, descending Jersey Mill to Alexandria. I held on and noted our average entering Alex was 25.1. Uh oh, now for a nice change of route, we made a left onto Mounts and hit the ramp there and then the series of rollers, always going up and the pace was scintillating and that ain't no lie. Damn, with Terry and Billy C two-timing us, by the time we reached Hardscrabble, I was well done and Jamie looked at me with a look of exhaustion and commented, "Gosh, Chattam is going to be a b***h," No truer words were ever spoken.
The route turned onto Corner and there we lost Rick to a flat tire on the pot hole strewn surface. Now we were 9 and thankfully, the pace slowed a trace and I was able to recover a bit on Dry Creek before hitting the multiple ramped, debilitating uphill stretch on Chattam. I began to wonder if Terry is a reader of the blog and took it upon himself to grind me into dust due to his frequent attacks. It was crazy out Chattam but I was pleased to be slotted 4th at the top of the climb where we passed the crazy dude on the bike. Someone must have said something to him because he was shouting something...not that I could hear anything over my exhaustive chest heaves. We coasted down the hill after crossing Chestnut Hills road and eventually got to Marion Road. We made a left and then another left onto Dutch Lane. Realizing the worse was behind us with the balance of the route flattish, I began to assume the warm glow of realizing I was going to finish with the lead group.
Of course, Terry kept attacking and when he was not, Billy was. If anyone tried to take a pull, they were quickly sent packing by T or B. We crossed over 661 and I began to mentally create the glorious ride report for the blog. In fact, I was on the 2nd paragraph when I noticed a gap had emerged in front of Mick, who was in front of me. Now, normally a gap in front of Mick has 0 chance of survival and it is often said, in front of Mick, this is where gaps go to die....except....it lived and breathed...and heaven forbid, actually began to grow...wtf!!!!!! I was incredulous. John Morgan went around and I remained patient...then Jeff S went around and I began to panic...then the gap grew some more and so I jumped and with great effort, because Terry was still setting a devil's pace at the front, I caught on with Jamie behind me. A hill emerged and I desperately needed the pace to slacken, just a little except...Terrible Terry jumped AGAIN!!! Someone bring a pee cup out for this guy next week! I.....was.....toast. Terry set such a terrible pace that only Billy C could follow with a gap to John M and Jamie, then Jeff S then a fading me and then Mick. Alas, that was the end for me. Mick passed me and graciously slowed and implored me to jump on but I could not. At that point, even with all the climbing, the pace was well north of 22mph but now I was alone and the pace plummeted. Eventually, I reached New Albany where, just past Kitzmiller, I had a flat and my pump broke so I coasted in with a 20.9mph average, 49 miles and 1800' of climbing. I think Jamie said his average was 22. Terry's was probably 35.
Hey, that was fun if not for the pain and agony. Now, Saturday's Roving Ride is out of Roscoe Village. That's a long haul but I understand the route is glorious and you should ride it, since the 9:00am start allows for the drive from the Columbus area. However, there is an alternative set up by Mark C from his humble abode at 8:00am with a route through Tar Hollow, Hocking Hils, etc... Mark says the pace is modest but I know how that goes, and I know my legs feel like rubber after Terrible Terry's punishment so.......