A hot and humid late afternoon was a shock, although a welcome one, to the system. Let's see, where did I put the sun screen from when last I had to use it, September I think. Smallish turnout early but noticed there were lots of people riding on the main drag, warming up for what was certainly to be a fast paced ride. Young Phenom, Logan, wearing his Savage Hill kit. Later, I asked him if it was true that he was merely toying with Steve O and Mark C on Tuesday's ride and could have ridden away from them whenever he wanted. Logan grinned, nodded yes and said he could have done just that. I laughed and told him to show humility but told him not to worry, his statement would never see the light of day............
The turnout among the A's gets larger and larger and more intimidating every week. In addition to Logan's arrival, Garth Prosser was also there with the usual suspects of Marty, John Morgan, Dave Chesrown, John Gorilla, couple of Trek/NHCC cyclists, Mick, Little Diesel, Lisa T, Trek Ron, Muscle Dude, Jason from "The Others", Craig from Cyclist Connection, Shannon the tri guy, Claude, Jon Sada....around 22 in total.
Here, Garth and Marty talk while Muscle Dude, who dwarfs those of us having men's heads on women's bodies but is great to draft behind, rolls up.
Out of the blue, Jamie Roberts, the old Group Killer drove in to say hello. When last we saw Jamie he had a shaved head but since October 1 he's let his hair grow out, Makes him look younger and Tuna said she thought she ought to let her hair grow too to see if it had a smililar effect. Jamie ran the Cap City Half last weekend and will be in WV for another half marathon this weekend. Doesn't sound like he's returning to cycling anytime soon.
Overall, we hard around 60 people show up and Jeff F announced the B group would get split in two with SuperDave leading the B+ group out. I turned to see Dave with a deer in the head light look and eyelids blinking like a gattling gun in action. Joining him were Dennis, Flyin Tuna, Mark R (pictured in the middle here), Mark V (finally not wearing a Reds jersey), Dan (didn't have a good time at 3 State/3 Mountain last Saturday), Farmer Mike & others.
The A's were called out and off we went. I kind of suspected my legs would be in good shape after having not ridden too hard on Tuesday and I was glad to discover I was correct. A slight tailwind out of the SW aided us as we swooped out old #161 and the group stayed together despite a few surges. By the time we reached the light at #310, only 2-3 had dropped off. It's a long light so I drifted through it and rode easily to the turn on Jersey Mill. After the turn onto Jersey Mill I looked back to see a freight train bearing down on me. I tried to time my entry into it but failed completely and rode off the back end all the way to Alexandria where I caught back on, worrying about my limited energy stores being depleted. At the Jersey Mill turn our average was 23.8, into Alexandria it was 24.9 and after coasting through town, we turned left onto Raccoon Valley. The pace was high but not too stressful as I guessed most knew about the upcoming climb. We arrived in Granville at 25.2mph avg and our numbers had dwindled a little.
Ahhhh, the climb up Thresher. Purely out of a sense of journalistic curiosity I had planned to take the Thornwood hill before Thresher to see who came out 1st at the top of the hill and so drifted to the back of the pack. Unfortunately we went by the turn at Thornwood and I somehow missed it. Damn it!!! Now, at the back of the pack we hit Thresher. Immediately, someone to my right exclaimed, while looking up, "Geez, what sh*t have you guys got me into now!?" I worked my way through a few riders and at the top was slotted in at #8 next to John G. Though cross-eyed from the effort, I remember seeing in front of me, Logan, John M, Marty, a Trek NHCC dude, Nic, Dave C & one other guy. Although the grade backs off after the left turn, it's a debilitating rise to the top. A gap had formed between Logan, Marty, John M, Trek guy and Dave C, Nic, #7 and I and then a gap developed between #7 guy and me and it was a big one. Oh well. rode out to New Burg past the school and waited for a rear guard to form up. First Jason went by but he appeared to be too serious about working hard so I stayed patient. Then Muscle Dude came by but he too seemed intent on riding hard. I got to the top of the hill on New Burg and while coasting down...oh yeah....Little Diesel, Mick and Craig of Cyclist Connection caught me. Now that's more like it and we worked together to Stone Quarry.
Mick and I got in front of the other two at the top of the Stone Quarry climb and I convinced him to ease up as LD's pulls would be needed. Craig must have eased up as we eased up and we lost him and were down to 3 of us but added Jason for a new 4. After working through the hills of Stone Quarry, we turned right onto Northridge with more hills and I remember thinking how much I'd like to stick a lighted firecracker up the rear end of the guy who designed this medieval route. Lacking a match and firecracker, I could not follow through even though Jeff was right there. Suddenly, we were overwhelmed by a largish group of Garth, 2nd Trek NHCC guy and others and soon we swallowed up Muscle Dude and there must have been 8-9 of us. At the top of Northridge, we were down to 6 and then Garth and Trek guy just kept taking turns drilling it. I wondered how long they could keep it up and how long I could keep it up and they just kept keeping it up. Unreal. We arrived in Johnstown and made a wrong turn to the right. Somehow, Dave C was with us now too. Out of Johnstown we got onto Edwards, worked our way over to Green Chapel and finally reclaimed the official route at Jug, where Logan, Marty and John M streaked by. Garth and Trek guy must have wanted to catch those 3 so they took turns punishing me but we did catch up and rolled into New Albany with a 22.2 avg, 1450' of climbing (a lot for a NA ride) and 41.5 miles.