Barbara on the right. Strong cyclist but probably should not have chosen the time trial machine for today's route. Flyin Tuna with maps but her decision to deny Kenda Paul a copy (only 1 per family please) had unforeseen consequences later. Actually, given Paul's directional issues, it was easy to foresee.
Twenty-one of us gathered at what used to be called the "Sunrise Center" but a better name would be the "Sunset Center" due to the lack of any vibrancy. I remember coming here when it was very active with lots of retail options. Yes, I was born in Zanesville and having achieved some fame, billboards were erected stating it was my home town. Not on the main roads, not even on the secondary roads but on the tertiary roads, gravel mostly, they can be found.
For awhile, it appeared only the schleps would be in the group but then Ken Buddell, Dave Chesrown and Marty S rolled in. Good guys all and always welcome.
That building used to house the Sunrise Cinema. Long ago, I played golf with a group of guys who loved to play for money. Like cycling, I was kind of marginal although I got my handicap down to a 2 and was regularly shooting around par but the other guys were equivalent to Ken, Dave, Marty if they played golf like they cycle. I kept my bets low but watched others bet big, including the manager of the cinema, C Nasser. Nasser claimed to be a cousin or something from the Nasser that ruled Egypt. Anyway, the losses accumulated and one night, R Means, to whom money was owed and also who had a prison record and wore shirts while playing that said, "U Call we Haul" was waiting in the broom closet for the cinema to close. Nasser survived and most of us assumed the robbery was arranged. Eventually, Means was back in prison and Nasser left the state. Back to cycling, we.....
....departed and immediately things got screwy as Crazy George missed the right turn onto Pleasant Grove at, get this, mile 0.50, heading east on Route 40. Eventually he got turned around and rode an abbreviated route. I think he said Flyin Tuna denied him a map too.
At about mile 8, Marty, Dave, Ken, Brent Jenkins, Barbara and Gary had gotten away. Not that they were riding hard, they were not but a gap had been created. We hit a long, 300' climb on Clay Pike and the climbers in my group allowed me to get away and at the top, had Steve O alongside but I did not jump behind him to draft as he pulled away and joined the front group. I kept a steady pace and stayed between the front and back group all the way to International Drive where I stopped to wait for the others.
Regrouped, we cruised into Cumberland and were treated to an interesting set of signs. Along the way, we had also picked up Barbara. One of my goals today was to try to figure out how these folks turn a 5-6 hour ride into an 8 hour ride....
...ok, it's starting to make some sense. Two cans of Dew, Gatorade, sandwich....and this is just snack time. Mark had a couple of good lines. When I asked which way to exit the village so I could get going, he said, "Go that way and when you read the sign that says Welcome to WV, you'll almost be there." When I told Cindy I didn't want to spend 8 hours out here she said, "Your wife pays me to keep you out here as long as possible." So funny. Eventually, we headed out but....
.....a flat. Flyin Tuna was giving advise so I could see this evolving into a record breaking flat tire replacement so I decided to keep going, along with some of the others. Now the group was split and very spread out. Kenda Paul was farthest up the road and when he reached the top of that nasty climb on 83, he saw a sign pointing left for McConnelsville and stayed on 83. Big mistake. When I reached the climb, I passed Barbara pushing her bike. She indicated she was not feeling well but heck neither do I when I am climbing. We turned right onto 78 and....
...reached Big Muskie Bucket where I had my picture taken. So too but much earlier did....
....Dave Chesrown. I stayed at the Bucket with Gary, Eva, Janet and Barbara but then saw Mark C, Cindy, etc.. arriving. Spotting a soda machine, I figured this signaled a long break for at least Mark so I.....
...took one last look at the Bucket and kept going, arriving in McConnelsville and then quickly crossing the river into Malta where I stopped at a gas station.
I flagged Gary so he joined me then got a call from Janet and told her where we were and soon she, Corvair and Kevin arrived. Janet began receiving texts from Paul and he had taken 83 all the way to #60 and was now 10 miles south of Malta. While sympathetic to his plight, we convinced Janet to join us on the ride north so if needed, she could access her vehicle and drive to rescue Paul. Eventually, Paul finished on his own with 101 miles. Kevin told us he had passed Barbara and now she was throwing up, having eaten something in Cumberland that did not agree.
While at the gas station, I called Flyin T to find out where was the last of our group. She picked up right away which is never a good sign on a bike ride. In addition to hurling, Barbara now had a mechanical. A local man driving a golf cart came by and took her to his house. Someone said his name was "Leatherneck" but not certain that is accurate. Barbara left her two water bottles at the driveway to signal her presence at the house. Cindy and Mark stopped and with the help of Leatherneck (who actually was a very nice man) the bike became operational but only in the small chainring.
Up ahead, Ken, Marty and Dave finished in a total time of about 5 hours. Steve and Brent something more. Our group something morer except I got ahead on those brutal climbs on Millers Lane and missed turning right on Pleasant Grove Rd, continuing on Clay Pike. When I reached an abyss, I should have stopped but I rocketed down something like Savage Rd and eked my way up the other side, kind of like a Revenge Rd type climb. Then things did not look at all familiar and looking at the map, discovered my mistake so I turned around and went down "Revenge" and up freakin "Savage", finally finishing with 86 miles and 5500' of climbing.
Arriving at the parking lot, Janet was on her way out to pick up Barbara in Duncan Falls. Mark C and Flyin T finished around 5:00pm and yep, another 8 hour day. In all seriousness, a shout out to Cindy for what I think is the 4th consecutive ride, providing assistance to a cyclist in need. She is a modern day Florence Nightingale.