Arrival at the parking lot of Gloryland Church, where there were maybe 30-40 cyclists for Fall's first sub-40 degree start. There was a lot of confusion as people debated how many layers of clothing to wear. I became confused and must have thought it was colder than it was as I settled on 3 layers on what was clearly a 2 layer start day. I hope with a few more cold starts, I'll sort out my clothing issues.
Prior to Jeff S calling us together, Mark C was making the highly unusual request that we ride as a group and call a cessation to hostilities to keep the group together. It is likely merely a coincidence that Mark spent the week at a conference, off the bike, eating and drinking lots of Mountain Dews. In fact, I am borderline ashamed to even imply that had he been riding a normal week, such a call for cycling civility would never have been made.
Hey, there's George, monitoring his heart rate as Jeff describes the route. We shoved off and soon the weaning process reduced our lead group to Dennis, SupperDave, Tuna, Steve O, Jeff, Mark C, Mark & Karen Rossi, Mitch and a few others. We worked our way through Lancaster and into Suger Grove. The route options were 100, 76 or 44. I intended to do the 76 but....... well......probably our guest writer of the ride, none other than Flyin Tuna, will pick up the story after I cut the route short and joining up with Mitch, Mark & Karen and another guy for a wonderful ride into Amanda and eventually the parking lot with 44 miles. Without further delay, here is Cindy's account.
But first, here is an image of Cindy, winning the sign sprint into Suger Grove. I caught her just as she was extending her arm outward for the victory salute. Without Grand Poobah to dominate the sign sprints, there is a plethora of people stepping up to win. OK, take it away Cindy.... At the decision point for the 44 mile route, Mitch stated that he had to ride the short route, since he had to be back early because Peggy's daughter was getting married. Most riders are swayed by others doing more than they had planned, Mark is the opposite; he cannot imagine that someone did a shorter route than him and went with Mitch. I know that he will try to say that he wanted to provide Mitch with company, worried about him on the roads alone, etc. Do note, for those who don’t know Mitch, that he could fix nearly anything on a bike with a piece of dental floss, if that was all he had, so Mark going with Mitch was only for his benefit. Jeff, Mark C, Steve O, John, new guy Ryan, Dennis and I took off on the 76/100 route. It was sad to see Dennis realize that his two 76 mile route buddies (Mark and Dave) had disappeared and he was alone with the 100 milers. He kept muttering, “Mark said on the blog that he was doing 90 miles”. After having said that 3 times, I told him that Mark had either meant 90 miles for the week, or you have to read the blog using the 20/80% rule; 20% is loosely based on true stories and the other 80% has no validity at all. I tried to encourage him to do 100 miles, promising him at the last stop in Tarlton, I had found the best pumpkin woopie pies ever. The pace was not too fast and we all stayed together, doing the long climb up Unger Ridge and stopping at Grandma Faye’s for food. Ron & Craig (also COP riders) were out doing the Top 10 route that Westerville puts on, and at that point had 40 miles in with 38 more to go. As we were ready to pull out, Jimmy and Chuck came in. Ryan went back on the 76 route, but amazingly, Dennis stayed with us to do the full 100 miles. The route was beautiful and after leaving Grandma Faye’s we headed to South Bloomingville; where we took a road called Goosecreek. Goosecreek heads west, into the wind, for probably 8 miles with a smooth surface and nothing large to climb. Very nice road and I wonder why we never had used it before. Second stop on route was at the store in Tar Hollow; it seems that any time we get there, the store is only partially stocked. Not sure how they remain open, but nice people working there. I’m also not sure why the restroom has the light switch on the outside of the room; I found it to be very dark in there when Steve turned the lights out on me…funny guy. After leaving the store, we did the climb up Tar Hollow at the main entrance. The leaves were supposed to be peaking in this area and it was very scenic. Tar Hollow was the last large climb of the day, and I was feeling pretty good after arriving at the top. We worked our way over to Tarlton and stopped for the long awaited pumpkin woopie pie. I’m thinking about testing woopie pies in the area; I have just about tested all the pancakes and feel it’s time to move to another food group; so woopie pies it is. I went to the secret place in the store with Dennis following closely, only ONE pie remained. Dennis graciously told me I could have it, what else could he say? He’s heard how I like my food, after all. He opted for the pink snowballs as second choice. While eating, Dennis noticed a horse tethered by a fence and was considering swapping his bike for the horse. We did talk him out of it and eventually headed back for the 21 miles left. At this point, my legs really felt fatigued. Dennis and Jeff hung back and helped me in. We finished with 5800’ of climb and 102 miles. Steve, Mark and John had averages ranging from 17.0 to 17.3; I ended up with 16.5 as the anchor. With not many nice days remaining, it was good to get another 100 mile day in. Do note that my description of the ride does not include the routes and the races to the top of the climbs, as Mark’s does, that is because when you are back as far as I am, you don’t see these things. I did hear that Mark C took the final sprint in.