What a stretch of crummy days for outdoor activities. I rode the Blue Jay route on Monday and found the roads to be in good shape for the official BJ ride in June. Noted that at mile 36 I had 3600' of climbing but it slacks off a bit thereafter. Then, rain or snow Tuesday through Friday, with things looking so bleak for cycling that I dragged the trainer out for the first time in 3 years and used it for an hour. By comparison, this makes running on a treadmill seem exciting. Awoke Saturday to find still more snow falling and after consulting with Dan R, the official ride leader, decided to postpone the ride to Sunday. A couple of guys did not get the word and so Ricky G and Scott the UPS driver rode alone out of Cyclist Connection.
This brings us to Sunday. Few are capable of leading a ride and fewer still are ever given the honor of doing so. While Steve O and I were discussing on Friday where we should ride, the time, the winds, the route, etc... we decided to give Dan Resetar the opportunity to make these weighty decisions. Dan's been riding with us for about a year and in that time observed some of the greats lead rides so it seemed like a good time to give him a chance to show us what he has learned and maybe move him into the ranks of the elite, ORLs (Official Ride Leaders). Alas, Dan was overwhelmed by the responsibility and only my good nature will prevent me from enumerating all the miscues, mistakes, blunders, faux pas, errors, missteps, oversights, screw-ups and oopsies that my good friend committed. During the ride, I consulted with Mark V and Steve O and we decided another 5-10 years of seasoning will be needed for Dan.
We shoved off, bundled to the max to ward off the 27 degrees and kind of strong winds out of the northwest. We exited Canal and eventually got onto Sitterly, headed south. Early on, it appeared Mark V was struggling a little and evidence emerged that he was getting cross-eyed from the effort when he not only mistook a stop sign for another cyclist, but also began speculating what would make this person ride on a day like this, despite the fact he was riding on a day like this and ought to know. Upon reaching the intersection and discovering the cyclist was a stop sign, Mark said, "The red had me confused." I made a mental note to keep an eye on Mark for the remainder of the ride. Later, as we traveled through the stark landscape of greys and browns, Mark commented how lucky we were to be riding in Ohio through all this great scenery. I made a mental note that he needs mental assistance and long term care.
We went left on Alspach, got over to Sand Hill/Rock Mill, went left on Wilson and rode that all the way to #22 and then Hamburg. The plan was to go up Christmas Rock, down Revenge and into Amanda. Mark decided to stay on Hamburg all the way to Amanda, avoiding the hilly loop. Not wanting Mark to ride alone where a mechanical could doom him, I decided to ride alongside. Sure, the ride leader should have been part of this decision making process but he was already coasting down Revenge, screaming, "Screw him, make him work for it!" The 5 miles along Hamburg to Amanda was into the wind and snow and gave us
perspective on what the post Amanda stop would be like for the remaining 17 miles. Ugh.
Towards the end of our hot drinks, standing inside the Amanda market, Steve and Dan arrived. We shoved off together, via Sand Hill. Cold? Yes, it was cold. The character of our group was called into question with murmurs of, "I don't know if I can make it." and "Let's stop at one of these houses with a van and ask for a ride into Canal." and "I can't feel my face anymore." Sad but true. We got onto Amanda Northern and it was suggested we stop at Mark Clingan's house but no one wanted to go east since afterwards we'd have to ride back west into the winds. Eventually we got onto Cedar Hill Road and one member of our group was so out of his mind, he pointed out an old Chestnut tree where years ago he had lost his virginity. I asked if he remembered what the guy's name was, demonstrating that I still had my wits about me. We glaciated into Lithopolis, and moved slower still on to Canal, where we quickly threw our bikes into our vehicles. Finished with 47 miles and 2000' of climbing while Steve and Dan finished with 55 miles. As I was pulling out, Dan knocked on my door and perhaps realizing he had blown his big opportunity, pleaded with me to take it easy on him in this report. I of course did.