Coming back from Cali I thought I was in pretty good shape but then the weather and another trip has left me in familiar territory....I SUCK!!!! On Wednesday evening I rode up Thresher and Thornwood in Granville 16 times to try to regain some form and then headed to the Thursday COP ride out of New Albany to build on that. Arriving in the parking lot, I noticed a somewhat familiar car......could it be........
.....yes, Crazy George is back....sort of.....maybe a shadow of his former self but that's ok, one of the great characters of the peloton is back. I gave the greeting a cinematic kick of the leg to add to the image. Geez, my legs are really skinny. Maybe that helps explain my weakness.
Flyin Tuna was there too, along with 52+ others for a great evening for cycling. What's this???? Flyin Tuna found a T-shirt that says "Tuna" on it. I like the fact that she has embraced her nickname so lovingly. What's next, maybe Farmer Mike dragging a plow behind him.
Steve O drove up from Canal to see if he could hang with the A group while riding his cross bike in tennis shoes. As many have observed, he rides this machine faster than his road bike, or so it seems. Alas, as strong as he is, he could not keep up but more on that later.
Good turnout of A's and B's and even C's. The Little Diesel came up with a good route of 36 miles. I intended to ride with the B's but was goaded into starting with the A's that was comprised of Mick, John Morgan, Jon the dentist, Marty, Steve O, Style King (see the pink tires with pink bike), Tim Tyler & Lisa, Jeff S, Doug M, and 5-7 others who I did not recognize but appeared to be the real deal. Also there were Recumbent Dude, Mark V, SuperDave, Gary, Green Caboose, etc...
We headed out old #161 and soon the speed picked up but it appeared the head wind quickly took the starch out of anyone who put their nose into it to pull. Meanwhile, I drafted comfortably and when we reached #310 with a 21.6 average, I was in good shape but of course, so too were the 12+ others in the A group. We headed down Jersey Mill and I was having major problems. The wind was coming out of the NE and I could not get behind anyone to avoid it. The guy in front of me assiduously avoided going left of the white line and I was left exposed...damn him...that's my spot!
I had to work too hard to hang on but we finally arrived in Alexandria with a 22mph average. I anticipated a drop in the pace going through Alexandria but damn, they kept riding hard....I anticipated turning left into the one-way turn onto Raccoon Valley Road while the group went slightly farther before making the official turn but damn....they too broke the law and turned into the one-way turn. My last card to play was drifting back through the peloton, recovering slightly and catching on to the last cyclist, which I did but damn.....gaps started developing and I was done. Dennis too was there and soon we hooked up with Jeff S. I could see ahead that Steve O had dropped back with someone and other gaps appeared. Someone was driving a hard pace up there.
We reached the left onto Hardscrabble and caught up with another dropee and now had a decent working group to...... work behind Jeff, who rode strongly up the hill. He allowed me to take a small pull toward the end but quickly banished me to the rear. At the foot of that long series of ramps and false flats I could see Steve O and Lisa maybe 100 yards ahead but we had no success closing the gap. We finally reached Northridge and continued on to Concorde where I pleaded with Jeff to cut the route short but he insisted on hanging a right onto Castle and following the route. We completed the north loop by making a left on Northridge, a left on Nicols Lane and then back to Concorde and in to Johnstown. Here we caught up with another dropee and our group was five as we rambled down a fairly uneven Caswell. Here, I took advantage of the moderate pace to go to the front and put in another ceremonial pull.
Our average was down to 20mph but now we had a bit of a tail wind and we hit Green Chapel and Clover Valley at a good clip and then turning right on Jug, picked up the pace a little more and rolled into the parking lot with a 21mph average, 36 miles and 1100' of climbing. The parking lot was the usual mix of checking out what time to ride MOC on Sunday (9:00am) with most of us doing the 100 route, helping George figure out what alternative sport he ought to pick up (curling) and finding out where everyone dropped or hammered the helpless.