If you thought the one day out of the week we get good weather it would bring the cyclists out in droves, you would have been correct. Somewhere between 65-70+ with many of the usual suspects and more new people too. It would be easier for me to name those who were not there such as Grand Poobah, Amanda, Nathan (coming home from India) and that's about it.
Red-Head Bill, touring the parking lot asking for a helmet since he forgot his. Little Diesel loaned him one. Bill says this is his first time riding this year or maybe his first Thursday ride, not sure but he rode like he's been riding alot. Also note the woman on the right, Ashley, who is making quite an impression among the strong B cyclists. She sits at the front and sets a remorseless pace.
Way too conspicuous was Mark V, preening around the parking lot in his Cincy Reds jersey. Being a gadfly who jumps from preride group to preride group dispensing wisdom and cheer, I found myself in this group when Brandon Phillips arrived. One of our more classless cyclists finally asked him to move on. Said it was embarrassing to be seen with a person wearing a baseball jersey for a cycling event. I must say, I had to agree. There was some debate about which was worse, a baseball jersey or a Fruit Loops cycling jersey.
Jeff came up with a good route and when the A's were called out, there were 24-25 and the usual massive group of B's coming out behind us. I'm not sure there are any C riders anymore on Thursdays, maybe 2-3? We headed out old 161 but turned left on Kitzmiller, right on Jug and left on Clover Valley. The pace surged and abated and surged again and this caused a few to drop, including John Gorilla, trying to keep up on a single speed. I think he'll be on the real road bike next week and certainly would be one of the top 2-3 A's in the group.
As I sat in towards the back, it appeared Shannon, the tri-guy was pushing the pace. We made a right on Miller and the pace quickened. By now, our group was at 16 with Shannon, John Morgan, Rich Lewis, Colnago Ron (riding a new ultralight Trek), Dennis, Dave Chesrown,Tim Tyler & Lisa, Mick, Doug M, Nate, Jason (he asked if I was the Mark with the blog and said he was a member of "The Others" the ultra secret shadowy group who ride the Saturday roving and other rides....on Sundays to avoid attention and save $2), some Echelon guys, Trek guys, etc... We turned left on 310 then a quick right on Duncan Plains and crested the hill at #37 with exactly a 23mph average. We jumped onto Castle but I guess no one wanted to push it too hard mostly all the way to Concorde where we turned right and eventually reached Northridge, turning left.
This portion of Northridge is highlighted by a steepish and longish ramp, a false flat and then a rather long but not so steep stretch to Sportsman Club. Probably everyone guessed the screws would get turned here and yep, they were. People began fading back like leaves falling from a tree in October. Dennis spit the bit, then Lisa, Mick, Jason....I reached the top of the first ramp with the group and then, it was over, one hill too far. Mick went around me and finally we reached the top and the turn with Jason, Lisa, Mick and I but there were 4 cars lined up at the intersection, I was not attentive to what the other 3 were doing and when I did notice, they were like....gone. I checked the pavement for rubber burns. Wow.
With a 100 mile ride in Chattanooga on Saturday, I decided to take it easy and not push it. At that point, my average was 22.1. Dennis quickly caught me and we rode together down Louden and then he put in a nice pull on Raccoon Valley into Alexandria. He decided not to lollygag with me and dropped me, turning left on Jersey Mill while I stayed on Jug. Reaching Burnside, Mick and 3 others (they were not of our group having started at the Starbucks) swung onto Jug and I rode in with them, finishing with 40 miles and a 20.4 average. That's right, I'm driving to Chattanooga, TN to ride in the 3 State 3 Mountain tour. They don't post finish times so it's a good chance to ride a good route, enjoy the weather, people and rest stops while slogging over some mountains. Steve O and John S are going but so too are Dan and 2 of his tennis buddies. Don't know who else is going from Ohio.