Of course, a small turnout for the Rocky Ride in Circleville. Poobahs vehicle was strategically parked under a tree by the time I arrived at 7:15, probably he made good on his promise to depart at 6:00am. Here, Mitch O poses in front of an incredible map, authored by himself and Ryan R. Although, maybe the road names could have been larger now that I think about it.
Looked to be about 35 cars in the parking lot and many of those had chosen to depart with the "Flyin Tuna" group at 7:30, including Mike Rea, Miya (winner of the last place finish at the Granville Climbing Challenge), Denver Dan, Kevin H, Brad the Dentist, Dennis, Kendas Jan, Dave & Paul, Ron, Frank Seebode...I may have forgotten 1-2 people in there but anyway, 13 left the parking lot where it was already very humid if not yet hot.
The Rocky ride is my favorite COP Roving Ride with nice flatish stretches punctuated by climbs like Rocky, Clark Hollow, another climb to the top of Tar Hollow, Thorton Sprung, etc... Here, at about mile 25 and at the top of the first climb into Tar Hollow, we regroup and wipe sweat from our bodies except Denver Dan, who merely daubs a wee bit of perspiration from his brow while drinking a boxed apple flavored Perrier. This guy gives new meaning to the sophisticated cyclist. Later, he pulled a small bottle of Merlot from his pocket too.
Refueling stations were spotty on the route but the ride organizers had called ahead and asked the market at the bottom of Tar Hollow to open early and we filed inside for a blast of cold air, cool drinks and a watchful wooden Indian. Later, we went outside to sit on the benches while Dan took a seat at the two person swing. Cindy came out and while preparing to take a seat next to Dan, Dan said, "Watch out, it's kind of bouncy" to which some jerk said, "You'll find out just how bouncy once she sits down and better wear a helmet for the bounce off the rafters." Yuk, yuk, yuk. Retro George cruised in with Mitch and Jeff S as we were preparing to depart. George joined us and now we had 14 people. Exiting the parking lot, we headed south, back up a climb into Tar Hollow, made it over Thorton Sprung and then reached Dearth Rd, where a left off the official route would take us to a cooler sitting in front of someone's yard. Upon reaching this, all stopped but Frank and I, who kept going, now separated from the group but expecting to rejoin at some point. I had not been riding all that hard and still had plenty of fluids. Among the group that did stop, there was speculation that I would do a work around Rocky. While I understand those thoughts, Frank and I climbed this beast of Central Ohio where I saw a card table and fluids at the top but not knowing if it was meant for us, kept going.
Frank and I began following GOBA road markings that he assured me would take us in to Kingston, and they did but on a slightly longer route that put us into Kingston directly across from the 2nd gas station, where we stopped. Apparently the rest of our group stopped at the first station, off #159. Then Kenda Dave rolled in and we camped inside the market for quite awhile. Dave had gotten off the route, stopped just short of the front yard cooler on Dearth Road before turning around but found a farmer who refilled his bottles with water and ice. Each of us left the market separately, reluctant to go back out into what now was surely a temperature closing rapidly on 100. That last flat stretch of 10 miles into a head/cross wind was brutal. At one point, not wanting to risk getting off the route, I stopped at a farm and asked for reassurance that yes, this Kingston Pike road does in fact go in to Circleville. Finished with just over 70 miles and 3300' of climbing. I heard everyone got safely back to the parking lot, one way or the other.