Spectacular day for a bike ride. Too, too bad my beloved Buckeyes had a noon kick-off so I anxiously viewed the Hoot map for an appropriate short-cut and wala!!!! Found one or two. At the start, there were the usual shenanigans, including Amanda discovering she forgot her cycling shoes but bravely rode in these.
Also making a shocking appearance was a couple of members of that shadowy and secretive group of cyclists that normally ride the Saturday group rides on Sunday, otherwise known as "The Others" Ted M is kind of a hybrid, riding with both "The Others" and us normal folk but also here today was Joe G. The other "The Others" were riding the Hoot on Sunday.
Nathan was wearing his new jersey and Amanda was soon rubbing her hands over it, commenting on Nate's bony shoulders and doughy tummy.
The most poignant scene of the year. That humanitarian and passionate Dennis walking over to Steve O and giving him a hug with the words, "I'm so proud of you dude".
Seemed like a large crowd of 60+ at the start, including Nate of Jenis but he slipped out ahead of our group. Starting with us were 15+/- including Legend Larry and Lisa, Theresa, Amanda, Flyin, Dennis, Steve O, Mark C, SoupDave, Recumbent Dude riding a very uncomfortable time trial machine, Kenda Janet & Paul, Jeff S, etc... As we pulled out of the parking lot, a red truck swerved around me, roared off and then cut in front of Steve. To Steve's credit, he rode after the truck, caught him at the light, stood alongside and stared at the driver who refused to look at him. An image of the license plate was taken.
We rolled out and had a good pace going all the way to Amanda. Everyone is so strong after surviving the cauldron of CFC and the rides that precede it. Add to that mix the boost new technology provides and heck, even Tuna hung with us. The roads were well marked and after a long stretch on Rockmill, we rolled into the village of Amanda. From there, I headed east on a shorter route and soon shortcutted the short route, ending with a robust 33 miles. Of course, all the others took the longer routes and now, without further delay, here is the balance of the ride as described by Recumbent Dude, Nathan.
The first part of the ride proceeded with a nice neutral pace out to Amanda where there was the briefest of stops to top off water bottles. This part of the ride is quite flat and the group stayed together except for the occasional light attacks on a couple of the larger rollers. The Amanda stop was the demarcation of those going long and those cutting off. I won't mention who cut off at this point, but from his long history of doing so you might be able to guess. There were a few words exchanged about football and kickoff and bits and pieces of this and that but they were largely covered up by jeers and cat calls and chicken sounds from the larger group headed out the long route.
After our recovery from the exertions of making fun of “Cut-Off” (Hey! Maybe he will get a moniker after all?!! - You should comment if you think that this is a good nickname for he-who-has-not-been-named) The group headed east into the hills where there was a small select and the group spread out a bit... it was at this point that the ride become a bit fuzzy for me. I recall that there was quite a lot of whimpering and thinking bad thoughts at Rick N. for not allowing me to purchase a compact for my time-trial bike. I spent quite a lot of time switching back and forth on Savage and Revenge hills and finally rolled into Sugar Grove for the lunch stop with about 44 miles in at this point.
Lunch was shredded chicken and pulled port sandwiches on top of the normal selections of power bars, Cokes, Oatmeal Cream Pies and the usual fodder at a small country store. The weather had also heated up to about 68 degrees and there was a vast amount of undressing going on while we ate. It was also noted that Amanda was riding in tennis shoes because she had forgotten her cycling shoes. After about 30 mins we wandered back to our bikes and headed out with the knowledge of many hills to come.
At this point I fell back into that half-awake state that protects you from massively traumatic events when they occur and awoke again in the parking lot with legs that I wasn't certain would be able to support my weight after I clipped out. I also made a firm decision never to ride that bike again... EVER. I'm going back to my recumbent. It loves me, and I love it.
The normal wrap-up ensued in the parking lot, where discussions of key parts of the ride were relived and I couldn't participate due to lack of memory of the actual riding part past Sugar Grove. I forgot to set my altimeter before we started but I know we climbed at least 5000 ft.