Craig, aka Muscle Dude, made the trek south again and this time brought Jon Morgan with him too. Here, Poobah passes on his vast knowledge of racing Cat 6 back in the day to the Young Phenom's Nick and Logan.
It was a blustery, blowy, tempestuous, airy, brisk, gusty evening across the windswept plains to the southwest and south of Canal Winchester, where we rode. It was also freakin windy and the cross winds..... oooooohhhhhhhhhhh. It was all about position in the peloton for tonights ride and after drafting behind every person at least once, I can say that Muscle Dude and Euro Andrew are the best wind blockers. Above, Logan Leland, came out for his first Tuesday Canal ride. Logan has had quite a bit of success on the race scene this season, winning the Cat 4/5 in a field of 60 at Harrison's Tomb Road Race, 10th at the Cat 1/2/3 at Germantown and 10th at the Cat 1/2/3 at Lynchburg. For fun, he came out to pound us.
Mark C did his best to come up with a route that early took advantage of the typhoon force winds out of the northwest before swinging back north into diminishing, cyclone force winds. Despite the wind and cool temps, a largish crowd showed of 44 with more first timers, including Butch and Peggster, Ryan Roe (here emerging from his car in the background) and others. Ryan, living the life of a responsible hubby and father with little time to ride, is temporarily behind the fitness curve.
Nathan, wearer of one of the more freakish looking jerseys, telling his brother-in-law Dean about watching "Kill Bill Volume II" in his van before the ride. Someone else told me it was some other movie if you know what I mean but what Nathan chooses to watch in his van and why he arrives 2 hours before the ride to do it is his own business and the behavior is not that odd.....
So, the A group was looking rather intimidating. Mitch Tallen, Jon M, Muscle Dude, Logan, Euro Patrick, Nick, Dustin, Jim Rauck, Scott, Poobah, Steve O, Mark C, Jeff S, Nathan & others that had approximately 18-20 of us leaving the parking lot in the A group. We had just crossed Winchester on Waterloo when the sound of a gunshot signaled a flat, this time in Jeff S's wheel. We then soft pedaled all the way into Lithopolis, which was kind of curious but not unwelcome as there was no way Jeff was going to fix the flat and rejoin. Through Lithopolis and out Elder to the road crossing we moseyed along. Upon crossing the intersection, one of the group's useful idiots (me) yelled something and so Logan took off and the action ramped.
We hung a right (maybe on Oregon Rd) going north, the winds swept the peloton and I was caught out in the vicious cross wind but fortunately, this stretch of road was brief and I managed to hang on. I noted Poobah sitting comfy to the right of someone up ahead. I admit, I was envious, even jealous of his drafting ability. Certainly I aspire to have that skill one day soon. We made a left on Berger, back into the cross wind briefly on Richardson, left on Hayes and then right on Braun. Yes, a flat route but with the wind, I could see those at the front were working hard and I admired them for it. Eventually we got onto Pontius and upon reaching Duvall, Mark C from the rear screamed "Left". What is interesting here is the bulk of the group had to slow and turn around while Mark, Steve, Mitch and 1-2 others managed to make the turn unimpeded and then rode hard, later describing it as "soft pedaling".....hah!
This was not good because it meant guys like Logan would be motivated to catch and predictably, he hammered south on Goodman and the cross wind had Logan, Jim R, Craig, Poobah, Jon M, Nathan, Patrick, I and Dustin stretched from white line to white line. If you were not in that line, you were finished and I'm not sure if anyone else was still hanging on once we finally caught the "soft pedalers" at the turn onto S Bloomingfield Royalton. So, roughly a group of 13 headed east, crossing #674 getting on to Winter and finally arrived at Cedar Hill. I was in good shape here, at mile 27 and began thinking about the glory of arriving at the parking lot with this select group. Only thing that could screw up that plan was the cross wind and it did. I found myself with no protection as Poobah sat ahead and to the right of someone while riding in the freakin gravel! No kidding. I dropped back a little and Steve and Mark went around me as we approached Royalton Road with a largish John Deere bearing down on the intersection. One of its lights were out, giving me the impression the light was blinking and signaling it was turning south so surely it would slow. I was going for the intersection crossing when Nathan screamed. "Stop, Mark". I here by state that Nathan saved my life and now I am indebted to him forever. Chamois cream application, water bottle runs, whatever he needs, I am there for him.
Would the group check to see everyone made it through? Hah, not a chance and ahead, I could see the cross wind cut out Poobah, then Mark C and probably the group was then small enough there was room for everyone to fit in. The lead group finished the 37 mile route with a 21.6 avg, with Euro Patrick winning the sign sprint. I finished with a 20.7 avg and 1066' of elevation gain. How about that weekend forecast? Maybe it will change.