There is a small bike club in Licking County called, the Licking County Bicycle Club. This is where I got my start and where I discovered Cindy Berard, riding a road bike with Samsonite-like luggage on the front and rear of her bike, dressed in sweat suits to hide the rolls of flab (she's come a long way so it's hard to imagine the image for some of you). One of our email copy list members, Belinda Hughes, recently joined the club and has been bragging about the destruction she has wrought on the lcbc group rides, punishing many of the members with bike path sprints. I decided to join them for a group ride to Bladensburg, to check out this new sensation, and I would then head over to Martinsburg and meet up with Mark V's COP roving ride.
Broken record time (again) but with a dismal outcome. Once again we gathered around someone with a large screen phone, showing every storm cell in the Midwest converging on our ride route. Frequently, we have laughed in the face of the wet threat and in fact, missed the rain. Not so lucky this time, despite Jeff S's assurance one long and lean green blob was going to slide north of us. Low turnout, probably 22 cyclists, with Group Killer, Justin of Jeni's racing team (discovered Jeni's is an ice cream chain in central Ohio), Satan Mick, Jeff S. Mark V, Greg Hall and some dude on a recumbent, among others.
Been there done that time again. Forecast looks bad, Weatherwoman Peggy thrusts a big screen phone under everyone's nose to back up her assertion that doom is headed our way. The color screen shows green blobs with yellow interior and red centers making a beeline for Canal Winchester. Weather outlook does look grim. I teeter on jumping back in my car but the usual combination of appeals to my pride and manhood, by those intending to ride, causes me to succumb to peer pressure.
Had 40 people arrive for the COP Roving Ride which someone said should be named the "2 Burgs & a Ville" ride because the route went through Martinsburg, Bladensburg and Granville, as well as Utica and St. Louisville. Prominent attendees in the "is or used to be strong rider" category was of course, the inimitable Retro George, a few of the Thursday New Albany A riders, Farmer Mike, Savage Hill's Woody, Larry P & Lisa, Super Dave, Jeff S (work was to make him a late arrival so we left a map), the entire crew from Kenda Mark V and others, whose faces I recognize, if not the names.
Jamie was unable to attend the New Albany ride so he invited me to join him at the trail head of the Marie Hickey trail at Black Hand Gorge, from where we would first time trial to Frazysburg and then trail run the MH loop, twice, a rather hilly but beautiful trail above the Licking River, east of Newark. We agreed Jamie would start the bike route and I'd wait 3 minutes before starting. Funny thing, by the time Jamie exited the parking lot, I was already on his wheel, drafting. The route was rolling with a few too many intersections to navigate but otherwise a good route. We reached F-burg at mile 10 with a 24mph average and my legs burning in protest. I yelled for him to keep going and I settled in for the return, reaching the parking lot with a 22.1 average. Jamie had already put his bike away, changed to running shoes and was gone, I suspected driven by the desire to lap me on his second lap around the trail.
For energy, I prepared and ate a PB & J sandwich and washed it down with a Monster. Arrived at the NA parking lot and was relieved to discover that Dennis apparently is not yet holding a grudge for the many shots I take at him in this forum (I'll have to try harder). Big crowd including Farmer Mike makiing his first Thursday appearance, Super Dave making a rare start and Pugilist Mark Rossi (long story I'll tell some day about Mark saving a group of 12 of us cyclists from one drunk driver) also Paul Stock and a large turnout of the usual suspects. Farmer Mike had already ridden earlier in the day with Jon the Dentist so he was looking for a slower ride, like me, as was Jeff S (swine-flu like symptoms that included oinking sounds) and Dennis, seeing an opportunity to punish me, joined in with the "B" group too. The A group took off and I kind of regretted not being able to go too since without Group Killer, it was likely to stay a sizeable group. Anyway, a large group of B's took off and we had a lot of fun. It's nice to be able to ride and not breath too hard, talk to fellow cyclists, enjoy the scenery while dodging Jeff's virus soaked coughs and snot honkers. We cruised into Johnstown and then out Sportsman Club. Upon reaching Northridge, I made a snap decision to head south while a still large group of B's headed towards Louden. Came upon a slower group of B's at Northridge and rode with them for awhile. On old 161 the A group caught me and it appeared there werre 12-15 still together. At the parking lot, Satan Mick said the A group had a 22 average. Don't forget, Saturday morning at 8:00am is a ride from the high school in Johnstown to Utica and then on to Bladensburg. 72 miles for the Bladensburg route and 42 for Utica. Lots
Although I was attending an academic event at the high school and thus wasn't able to make it to Canal, my many spies were well placed and have sent me copious notes that allowed me to put together the following.
After the day started with rain, it all cleared out and we had a beautiful late afternoon for cycling in New Albany. Retro Geroge was there and reacted to the fall and faint of Tuesday with a big smile and a shrug of the shoulders. I told him Jamie had begun to pucker up for mouth-to-mouth, just as George came to. Also there were Greg Hall, Rob Rhodes, Satan Mick, Terry, John Morgan, Todd Lee, a Walker jersey guy, Colnago Ron, Jeff S, and others. Noticeably absent was Dennis. It appeared that turnout for the B and C group was a little light.
A major accident on #33 had traffic backed up for miles and undoubtedly contributed to an unusually low turnout for a glorious late afternoon. Retro George made his first appearance at Canal for the season. The route was unusually flat for a Canal ride and a large group went with the A's and stayed together for a long time. TOSRV fatigue was clearly an issue with some and people began to peal off with Group Killer, The Boss (who earlier in the day had run 8 miles) and Mitch Tallen taking most of the pulls. Of course the problem with this set-up is with 3 strong riders doing most of the rotation at the front, the pace was always high and seldom was there a let-up for small recovery periods. We rolled into Baltimore and by then George had used the only line from his vast repertoire on me about 30 times, "I can't believe you're still here." Please, someone come up with another one-liner that he can plug in there to relieve the monotony. We rolled into Baltimore with a 22.6mph avg.
A glorious late afternoon greeted us as we arrived in Canal and predictably, the good weather brought out a mob, including many, many racer types who have caught wind that a couple of non-racer types are kicking butt and taking names. Well, this latest batch was dispatched by The Boss & Group Killer, just like all others. Unfortunately the dispatching also takes us out too.
Another eventful New Albany ride that I am all too happy to distort. The usual suspects showed including Retro George and his three, yes 3, cycle computers and heart that just keeps on beating despite George's frightening descriptions of heart beat irregularities. Also making a cameo appearance was Flying Tuna Berard, looking rather silly wearing arm warmers on this 70D afternoon. As a show of solidarity, I quickly put my arm warmers on and seeing this, she quickly whipped hers off.
Well, had planned not to ride tosrv but Dennis persuaded me to join with he and George to do 50 down and yes, 50 back. Forecast was for 25-35 afternoon winds from the SW with gusts above 40 so I thought the return would be fun, if not the outbound fifty. At the start, George said he was headed over to hook up with someone named "Big Chainring" and I figured we would not see him again and I was almost right. Dennis said we should start with a large group that was forming that included Tim Tyler, Lisa, Todd Lee, Mitch Tallon, Woody, Larry P, and many others. Off we went and after getting through all the intersections the pace heated up. We passed a large group of riders in light blue jerseys with "Cousins" printed on them and a few of them joined in. However, soon people started drifting off, Woody, Larry, Mitch, etc.. It appeared to me that good buddy Dennis too dropped off but he is so sensitive to my email barbs I don't want to actually say he dropped. He may very well have been with our whittled down group of 8 and maybe after my pulls as I drifted back, sweat in the eye prevented me from noting he was still there???