If you were unable to make it to the Thursday New Albany ride, you missed a great evening of cycling. The parking lot was packed early with the cars of people who were attending a football game so it was hard to discern how many cyclists were there until everyone convened for Jeff's pre-ride announcements. Steve Oxley, who someone dubbed "ToeClip" rode up with Pastor Mark, who was making his first visit in several years. By the way, I've been asked why I call Mark C "Pastor". Is it because he really is a hell raiser and I gave him that nickname to be funny? No, as hard as it is to believe if you have ever ridden with him, he really is the Pastor at the Gloryland Church on Coonpath Road.
ToeClip cruises the parking lot, there in the middle, looking for Women of the Thursday Canal Ride, according to Dennis.
Later, ToeClip was again cruising while we all monitored his movement to see if he was having any luck. By the way, someone said I should not be so impressed that he rides so well on the cross bike. I was told while the bike does have knobby tires, he has actually taken a file to the part of the tire that hits the pavement so the rolling resistance is the same as road tires. And, get this, those tennis shoes, they have carbon fiber bottoms so they are very light weight. Finally, that creative Dennis made this observation, "It's not that we should be so impressed with how fast he rides the cross bike. It's really more about why he doesn't ride his road bike faster than the cross bike". Interesting.....
As you can well imagine, a guy of my enormous popularity receives dozens of Facebook friending requests each day. As you can tell by looking at my Facebook friends list, early on I was not very selective but have since significantly raised my standards. Recumbent Dude's request came in with many on Wednesday and only after several private emails begging me to accept, I finally did. I'm not much of a Facebook user so don't waste your time going to my unimpressive page.
Wow, when finally the flock gathered, there were 60 people and some very strong riders. In the 24 who comprised the A group, Sumo was there again, all 230 pounds of him and geez, can he ride hard. If he lost 30 pounds he would be an elite climber. Also there was a member of the US national time trialer team, John Morgan, Colnago Ron, Marty, Tim Tyler, John Gorilla, Terry, Mick, Dennis, ToeClip, Mark C, Jeff S, and the B group, holy mackerel, there was Flyin Tuna (OK, maybe not holy mackerel but still...) Jon the Dentist, SuperDave, Dan, Farmer Mike, Recumbent Dude (they say he put in a monster pull up Northridge but just as impressed as the #2 person who did the same pull since no drafting behind the low rider),
We headed out old 161, south on Babbitt and worked our way over to Cable. The pace was high and someone or sometwo at the front were sprinting out of the intersections, making life very difficult on those at the back. It was a night one had to pay attention or the group could get away from you. In fact, after turning onto Cable, 5 of us got held back waiting on a car to pass so I shrieked "Hold Up" which someone interpreted as "Attack". I tired from a short pull, then Jeff S took over and only a stop sign a couple of miles down the road allowed us to bridge. Not very sporting of those who initiated the attack. We made a left on Headleys and Dennis, surprised to still see me I guess with my beater bike still there or maybe he thought I was still hung-over from wine consumption said, in a shocked tone, "Good job hangin in there." I think he said that several more times too. We made a right at Patterson and the few hills there and then a right on old 161 where the pace moderated. I was feeling good but my seat had begun to drop either from all that added weight gain or having not tightened it enough after making a pre-ride adjustment or Nathan sabotaged it. Any of the 3 possibilities carries equal consideration.
We got onto Jersey Mill and I drifted to the back just in case the downhill section caused a problem. I was able to count cyclists as I went backward and we were down to about 18. In fact, a gap did develop but not between me and the group but a guy in a nice Pelotonia jersey got gapped but we caught on in Alexandria but I did not like putting in that effort before Northridge. Anyway, at the start of Northridge, our average was 23.4. Pretty good pace up Northridge but I think a couple of guys were holding back because they thought we were going all the way to Sportsman Club Road so when I yelled, "Left", prior to Concorde, there was some grumbling and questioning of my sound memory. Turning onto Concorde our average was still at 23 and we proceeded to a left on Castle where someone drilled it all the way to #37. My seat had drifted almost to the top bar and my small thigh muscles were very tight but still ok. John G and maybe Tim T took the bike path left to return to Granville. At that exact moment, the funny guys at the front drilled it. I was caught out and could not catch the tail end. Sumo went around me, as did Pelotonia and I was thus a lonely man, as the group chose not to turn on 310 and a right on Miller but headed on out Duncan Plains. Later, at the left onto Beech, there was Dennis, having pulled out of the group to make sure my beater bike had not blown up on me. What a guy or he just wanted to antagonize me. We reached the parking lot and I had a 22mph average. The lead group, apparently it had gotten strung out a bit, was at 23.4 with ToeClip and Mark C having hung in there, of course