During the early minutes of the pre-ride parking lot scene, I have the opportunity to spend time with my people, briefly. The modest Katherine, contrasted with the very immodest Grand Poobah, mentioned that she had been invited to try out for the Latvian Olympic team, a few years back. Hearing this I grabbed my camera but seeing this, Katherine clammed up. All I could get out of her was she had been invited to try out for both cycling and running events. Impressive but now she is a homeowner and all the responsibility that comes with it so her days of being fit are fading. Oh well kid, some day you too will be approaching 60 and able to get back out and play, whenever you want, like Poobah.
Soon, they begin arriving in waves, to sign up, here Mark V on the right and Axel on the left.
Paul Stock's knee is healing.
Soon, a tidal wave of signees gather in the corner by the lone shade tree. Does anyone know how long construction will last in front of the school? It appears it will be a left turn only out of the parking lot for a long time.
Dave Chesrown on the left, back from a tour of factories in China with stop-overs in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Once a company sends you on this type of trip, it's an indication you'll be going back again and again. Maybe Dave enjoys karaoke so it will be fun for him.
Mick looks on as Chris G, Doug M, Poobah and Dave discuss something. Tym Tyler was here too, having arrived Wednesday night from a trip to France with Lisa. Hey, what ever happened to Stefano Lumbaca? How can you work for Kenda, be involved in marketing and product development and not come out to get our thoughts about both subjects?
By the time everyone who wanted to sign in had signed in, we had 50 signatures but there were at least 60 in the parking lot with around 25 rolling out in the A group. Dennis led out the B group and I named Poobah as his special assistant for enforcement of cycling rules. I exclaimed to Paul that my fitness was off a little to which he replied, "How would you know?" Ha, that's funny. Well, one way to know would be this route. We rode it back in May and I hung on to Northridge at mile 26 but I suspected tonight would be a different story.
A left out of the parking lot then a right on Waltons Parkway, right on Beech and left on 161 put us on Shannon's route and we followed it making a right on Mink, to Condit then Headley's Mill. Seemed like a sketchy evening of passing cars honking their horns and numerous areas of broken pavement. The pace was not too high either, probably everyone storing reserves for the Alward climb. Yep, I was at the very back of the pack when we hit the climb and although I picked through a couple of people, most of us were broadly strung out. Turning right on Hollow, I struggled to stay on Ron B and Axel's wheel and fell back. I could see the crafty veteran Mick, a couple bike lengths ahead, having slotted close to the front when the group hit the Alward climb. Soon, I formed up with Jeff S, Brady, Dirty Dan and Claude. On Alward, Tri Andrew had pulled to the side with a flat and Doug McConaha suffered through a bout with asthma, hope he's ok.
We eventually got on to Moot's Run where we passed Paul Stock fixing a flat and soon, I was fixing a flat too. Dirty, Jeff and Brady turned around to watch me perform the repair while Claude headed back to the barn. The B group came through and I tested a theory of mine. When they yelled out, "Do you have everything?", I yelled back "No, help me." and they kept going. I always thought the offer to help was purely symbolic. Anyway, I got everything back on within about 15 minutes and we shoved off, soon passing Jon Morgan, also with a flat. The rest is a blur of turns and perspiration. I left the mini group at Concorde with a "splashy" feeling rear tire and soloed in, finishing with 43 miles and a 20.1 avg. Now here's a sight.....
.....the ladies' man, George, after the ride, surrounded by Allison, Katherine, Corvair and one other. George was explaining his latest set-back. He was riding when his pedal broke, causing him to wrench his knee and keeping him off the bike for a couple of weeks. He's back and slowly regaining his form. He said he's had to start over and start at the bottom, where I am! What the????