Dave Miller's COP ride had scheduled distances of approximately 30, 62 and 74. Previously, I had wormed my way onto Steve O & Mark C's very select century invite list and it was decided we would start with the COP group and then in Laurelville, head farther afield to gain the needed miles. Geez, what a turnout at Cyclist Connection, the starting point, Dave says 44 but there are always a few who don't bother to sign up so the actual quantity was probably closer to 50. By the way, someone asked if being a member of COP was a requirement for participating in the rides and no, all are welcome but you ought to join up anyway.
We headed south and in our group, I was tagging along in the #12 spot when after awhile I yelled back to Nathan, inquiring as to how many additional cyclists were in our group behind me, "25" he yelled. But then, after chugging through the hills of Cedar Hill, things slimmed down a bit and as we passed west of Amanda, it appeared to me, as I infrequently popped my head in the airstream to look, Steve O, Mike Rea, Stefano, Blair S and Steve H were taking most of the pulls with Mark C, Kevin H, Nathan, Kenda Janet, Jeff S, Ginger, Grand Poobah, Mark V and me hanging in there along with Corvair and Flyin T who were popping on and off. As we approached Tarleton, I regret having to report an event that at least will result in someone's man card being pulled and surprisingly it did not involve Poobah.
As most are aware, the road entering Tarleton is mostly a broken surface of holes and so, the village sign is not contested with a sprint.....except Nathan, aka Recumbent Dude, yanked his upright bike out of the line, DROPPED INTO THE AERO BARS and began pumping for the village sign. He was pursued by Ginger, using classic, respectable sprinting skills that have been honed for years. She had almost overtaken Mr Aero when he was saved by the arrival of the sign. Those who witnessed the scene began letting out guffaws and wisecracks and we laughed about it all the way to Laurelville, except when the pace picked up , dampening the good mood. Some where in there I took a token pull..
We swarmed the gas station/market, which has the foulest restrooms I've seen in a long time. Here, those of us with energy stood around and talked and those who were beaten and battered, sat.
At this point, the short cutters began making comments about being on a short leash, having to get home to mow the grass, and so here they depart, heading back on the 62 mile loop. I put in a serious recruiting effort and got Ginger to join the century club and so she, Mark C, Steve O and Jeff S headed out of town via the long climb up Thompson's Ridge. Those taking the 74 mile loop would be on a flat route west and then north through Circleville and then on to Canal W. About half way up the climb, I began thinking about what an interesting route the 74 milers were on but I plodded on. Some where in there, the route got changed so we could include riding by Wildcat Hollow so after turning right on 374, we made a left on 678, going through Gibisonville and then a right on Starr and a left took us down a very neat descent on Wild Cat Road. We made a right at the deadend and rode a gravel road for quite awhile to Big Pine, making a right and following that a long way to 56 and then back to Laurelville.
Somewhere along there Ginger asked me if anyone in California ever says they are impressed that someone from Ohio could ride the mountains so well. To that I replied, "Ginger, I've never done anything on a bike that ever impressed anyone." and we had a good laugh with that line. At Laurelville, we had 65 miles and after noting the time, realized I could still catch the last half of the Buckeye game and I headed north. Many people were out and the countryside was filled with activity, trees producing flowers, forsythia ablaze, flowers blooming, warm air...what a great day for cycling and to be a Buckeye fan too.I finished with 98 miles, the other 4 would have finished with 107.