Now here is a very odd, strange, weird, bizarre and just plain impossible story no will believe. This guy, Jared, approached me and asked if I was the "Mark with the cycling blog." Before I could respond, my buddy Dennis frisked him to make sure he was not carrying a weapon. Then I reminded Jared I was wearing glasses and then and only then did I admit, yes, I was that guy. To my utter surprise, he publically admitted he enjoyed reading the blog and wanted to give a name to one of my numerous references to "anonymous dudes" that ride in the peloton. Expect to see many images and references to this brave guy in the future in order to honor his courage.
To deflect recent charges calling into question my sexual orientation, I decided to do the 2nd annual "Women of the Thursday New Albany Ride" or WOTNAR. However, doing so will undoubtedly open me to charges I am a creeper. For example, here I secretly take an image of this unsuspecting woman. I felt creepy doing this. However, walking up to a strange woman and asking if I can take her image also makes me feel creepy. Anyway, I had a job to do so the creeper prowled the parking lot.
Of course, some women were looking forward to the opportunity to have their good looks promoted to a wide audience, like Amanda. She is so anxious I had trouble keeping her out of some images. After the ride, high from the free drinks Paul Stock was handing out.....
.....she posed for more images...
....and more, what a camera hog. One of Amanda's jealous rivals said, "I bet she wore those short shorts just because it was WOTNAR night!
Beats me who she is but creeper had to take the image.
Marty made his wife Elanour come out tonight just to have her picture taken. Out of respect for Marty, I took a couple of images and instead of selecting the most goofy image, as I usually do, I selected the best.
Flyin Tuna. What else can be said that has not already been said about this strange woman.
Don't know her but deserves to be in this catalog. Hey, there's that great guy Jared in the background and John G too.
Katherine the Great. Supposedly her lineage goes back to medieval England where a relative was royalty. I ran out of time and was unable to take more images of the many quality female-types that populate the New Albany ride. If you were there and you don't see you pic, don't think you did not qualify, I just didn't see you during my creeper phase.
RINGER ALERT! I thought this was one of Marty's ringers. Cat 1 dude shows up with goofy helmet, baggy shorts, tennis shoes and then kicks our ass. Not this time, he really was a B or C cyclist but he sure looked like a disguised ringer.
The ranks of the A group swell larger every week. I need to get to know more of these guys to figure out who they are. There were at least 15 who ride at a Cat 3 level. Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers (Steve O) drove up from Canal again and with him came Tri Andrew but the latter rode with the B group. The A ranks were filled with Billy Campbell, Steve, John Gorilla, John's friend, Jon Sada, Dave Chesrown, Trek group assassins Pete Czerwinski and Chris Grisvard, Jared, Christian (rode Cat 4 at Grandview and married to Katherine), Claude, Rick, Paul Stock, Kenda Stefano & many other fit and fast dudes.
Jeff S asked if I knew the route and could signal the route to the route challenged A group so he could ride with the B group. I promised for the couple of miles I was with the A group I would be able to call out the turns. Roughly 25 "A's" shoved out old 161 and as we approached Kitzmiller, I shouted "Left Turn" but was immediately overruled by John G who said, "Straight to Beech". Since the map route also ended up at Beech but via Kitz and Jug, I shrugged my shoulders and hunkered down in the peloton. After turning left on Beech, we reached Jug and there ran smack into a huge line of "B" cyclists turning onto Beech off Jug. This was a problem easily solved by sprinting through the ranks of a fairly fast moving super B group, that is if you are capable of sprinting through a fast moving super B group, something I am barely able to do so by the time the A group regrouped while turning right on Miller, my nuclear reactor was already melting down.. By the time we reached the "S" curve, I was done. Desperate to look for the positive, I noted I was not the first to bug out....geesh, how lame.
I rode alone eventually going up Caswell into Johnstown and then out Concorde. Here the super B's caught up and I rode with them for awhile while noting an enormous difference with intensity between the "A" and "B" group. Much more than last year. They turned left on Nichols while I stayed straight, hopeful to reach Northridge and then Stone Quarry before the "A" group so I could ID who was still there. Despite a 2 mile advantage, I arrived at SQ after the lead group had already gone through but did see there were 15. Rick & Stefano caught me midway into SQ and I rode with them out Louden where Stefano hit the final ramp hard and I went harder out the back. After going through Alexandria and then Jug, the super "B" group caught me and I rode in with them, finishing with 38 miles. The lead "A" group finished with 40 miles and a solid 22.9mph avg.
Lots of ride options for Saturday but the COP Rocky Roving Ride out of Circleville High School, at 8:00am is a good one with distances of 96, 85, 70 and 50. This is a classic route with climbs up Rocky (probably hardest climb in the region), twice up Tar Hollow and other climbs. Lots of flat riding too so it's not constant up and down and shorter routes avoid some of the big climbs of course.
Steve O, guzzling an energy drink and Mark C, chomping on energy beans, wait patiently for the arrival of the stars of New Albany. some of whom were fashionably late. To be fair to Mark C, he engaged in some manual labor earlier in the day, doing something that did not engage his cycling muscles so he was exhausted by the time he arrived at Canal.
Grand Poobah, shows Logan and Nick where to attack. Alas, the young phenoms more then met their match this evening. Even the finest coaching wasn't to make a difference.
Sun was especially intense so the shady area quickly filled. NA Marty, violated the "No Ringers" pledge by bringing Gabe (on the right), a Cat 2 racer who just got back from competing in the nationals. Also note the guy in the background with the black helmet and the huge mouth, Ryan R. He yelled at me across the parking lot, "Are you riding with the 6:00pm group?"...."yes" was my reply to which he shouted, "I hope you brought a big enough generator to keep your light going after dark." Funny, very funny.
Getting a count is hard because people began leaving the parking lot for their 53 mile journey as early as 5:20. One group left at 5:30, got to the edge of the parking lot and then doubled back, leaving again at 5:45. Combined, probably around 60 participated in the Summer Solstice ride that goes to the top of Revenge and back. Because the 18 mile route down to Amanda is relatively flat, I figured I'd hang on to that point, take Hopewell Church as a small short cut and catch back up to the lead group on Westfall to see who was there.
A group of around 25 left as part of an "A" group at 6:00, including Dave C, Marty, Billy C and this Alberto Contador lookalike (Gabe) representing the Damn Yankees while the lowly Brewers were represented by Steve O, Mark C, Logan, Nick, Jeff S, Ryan R, Todd Lee, Paul Stock, Amanda, John S, Nathan and a bunch of others who did not look like they were anything more then cannon fodder (I include myself in this group so don't be offended). We headed out Waterloo and upon crossing the 4-way stop intersection and heading up the ramp, already cyclists were being shelled. A left on Slough and a right on Sitterley and then out the rollers farther weaned the group and I noted Dave, Marty, Gabe and Billy were taking turns, turning the screws on us. Mark C was spending way to much time in the back of the group and appeared to be struggling, along with the rest of us.
By the time we reached Alspach, turning left, a couple of gaps had temporarily opened between the front 4-6 and everyone else. The gaps had closed but the signs were there, a grenade was about to get thrown into our midst and sure enough, the jets were turned on and I had to sit up at mile 7, watch as others shot out the back, including Nick, Jeff, Nathan, Todd and others. In fact, after crossing Amanda Northern and reaching the end of Alspach, everyone had dropped except for the NA 4-some, Steve O and Paul Stock. Everyone else.....GONE. One of the NA boys later said, "We put the wood to those guys." They wanted the Canal Brewers to know where the real ride was each week.
This group of 6 reached Amanda with an average at 24-25mph and kept going out Clearcreek Road, crossing Hamburg and finally, reaching the base of Revenge. Gabe and Billy C reached the top first with a fairly sizable gap over Steve, followed by either Marty or Dave and then Paul. I have no doubt that Gabe and Billy could have pressed the gap and finished but there was some regrouping at the top other then Paul did not make the group so they were down to 5.
In the meantime, Ryan, Todd and I had ridden out Delmont and gotten back on the route on Westfall and waited at the top of the climb where the tower is. We waited 10 minutes without seeing anyone so continued on to Cedar Hill, stopping at the top of the "big" climb and soon a group approached. Steve O was hanging in there, but not sure Gabe was being put into the red, here giving us the thumbs up. Marty, Dave and Billy were there as well and this group of 5 finished intact with a 21.3 avg. I thought perhaps Steve was being carried as the token route knower but that was not the case. He was there because they could not drop him so the reputation of the Brewers, although bruised, was preserved, such as it is. Too bad Da Boss could not make it but then, the Yankees could have brought another 3-4 who are as good as those that came. The Yankees are seriously deep and I stand by my original claim, far superior to the Brewers.
Steve O, realizing he was in the shadow of greatness, post ride asks Marty and the ringer he brought in (Alberto Contador's brother who supposedly drops Al on all the steep climbs) for their autograph.
Off Topic: Some of you knew a recent visit to a dermatoligist to have a couple of spots checked out had resulted in the removal of 6 "interesting" moles last Friday. I am pleased to say a call today informed me two of them are "abnormal" but not cancerous so I am in the clear.
Ooooohhhhh.....I have very bad news for the honor of the Canal Ride, Da Boss, a.k.a. Craig Butler, will be on a flight that will not land in CMH until 5:30 so he will not make the ride tonight but does say the honor of Canal will fall to Steve, Mark, Eve, Tall Dude, Ross, Pepe Lapew, Mitch, Beth & a one armed paper hanger. That formidable line-up against the clear underdogs of Marty, Billy C and Dave C. My money is on the Brewers.
Well, yesterday was a busy day for the silly blog, garnering 484 page hits with 386 unique visitors. This is not a record but fairly high. I'm trying to figure out why all the interest and it must be the images of Kenda Janet and Julia. Therefore, I will place more emphasis on capturing images of the women of the peloton.
As a reminder or if you are new here, I do not know who you are if you visit or post an anonymous comment. The bike rental thing is an LLC I set up to give my son some business experience.
In case you missed the comment posted last night on a previous report, the Yankees are making a road trip for the Tuesday Summer Solstice ride out of Canal tonight, starting at 6:00pm. Dave C, Marty and maybe Billy Campbell (oh now we're in for it) will be in for a one game series. I hear rumblings about a special strategic planning session at Shades at 4:45 among the Canal "A's" to discuss this news and where they are going to plan their attacks or even if they are going to come out of Shades to ride.
Quite a few people have wondered what became of Recumbent Dude. After competing in the tri, he disappeared for a couple of weeks but he tells me he will be in Canal tonight for his triumphant return..
The stars came out for the Grandview races, here Kenda Janet, Kenda Paul their mutt and a doberman. Steve O spent most of the day......
...down the hill poaching free beer, food, beer and chips from a resident of the area who always provides quite the spread for those attending the race. Seriously, mill around here for a few hours while walking back up the hill to watch a finish or two and you too will begin grabbing people as Steve does above.
Adam, one of the regulars at the Sunday morning COP ride, here clutching his helmet in the red jersey prior to the start of the Cat 4 race. Adam hung in there for several laps but began dropping back. He needs to hire Grand Poobah as his coach because those who have do this.....
Kayla Starr led the pack in earlier laps before Todd screamed, "Do a Wilson" and she dropped back to draft, saving energy. One could tell she was toying with the field and so, at the bottom of the final hill, she attacked, gapped and....
....won the race. I turned to Todd and inquired if he could begin training me but he declined, telling me I couldn't afford him.
Todd and Julia relaxing between laps. I think that's Ricky G to the right and in front of him, Steve walking back for more free food.
Steve O, by now heavily slurring his speech, tried to give Young Phenom Logan an inspirational word or two and you can see the impact it is having. Steve also gave Logan a coaching tip, "Attack from the start and try to solo away". Logan said he thought he would attack on the final climb instead.
Logan won the Cat 5 race with Younger Phenom Nick, at only 14, coming in second. Nick finishing 2nd is impressive but I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why Logan is playing in the Cat 5 races. This is like Chris Horner dropping in on a Cat 3 race. Thanks to Todd for sending me this image.
The Blue Jay ride is a shared effort of ride leadership between Flyin Tuna and me. Typically, the division of labor is she produces roughly 50 copies of maps with wording too small for anyone to read and then stands by her car while people sign in. Typically, I spend 5 freakin hours marking the route and creating inspirational messages on the road such as "Oxley Sucks". This year, weather and a tight schedule prevented me from getting out to mark the route but to make up for COP's deplorable effort at promoting the ride, I launched a full scale PR campaign that undoubtedly saved the day when it comes to participation. For this, Tuna publically tried to humiliate me prior to the ride in front of the entire peloton, which is not unusual for her. I don't know why I have carried her for so long like an albatross around my neck, an anchor, a square wheel, etc....
Anyway, pretty good turnout of around 50 cyclists, including a couple of the New Albany storngmen like John Morgan, Dave Chesrown, Pete S and Jon Sada. Also there were the Canal Brewers, Steve O, Mark C with pinch hitters Jeremy, Jeff S, Mitch and John Swope. Free agents were there such as Larry P, Dennis, Grand Poobah, Mark V, Brad the dentist, Lisa Tyler, Larry's Lisa, Beth Hale, Kenda's Paul, Janet & Dave, etc... The latter are hopeful they'll get called up to the "Bigs" but it is unlikely to happen so they will toil in obscurity instead. Also, I have to clarify an important point. I have referenced Mark C and Steve O as being the heavy hitters from Canal, the only real "A's" from that crowd but of course missing from this list is Da Boss, Craig Butler. Craig has focused on running this year and has, get this, 2000 running miles so far and only 400 cycling miles. He has been an infrequent participant in the Canal rides and when there, has hung back. Under normal circumstances, I would have identified him as having no peer either at Canal or New Albany but.....
So, we rolled out, headed through downtown Newark, in dire need of repaving, reached the foot of Blue Jay, had a less then enjoyable time gaining 800' out to Brownsville and rode on to Zanesville. The lead group rode conservatively and all hung together for the most part. As a true ride leader, I hung back and made sure people made the turns and in general was a great ambassador while Cindy selfishly rode as fast as someone at that level of fitness can ride, ignoring her leadership obligations. By the time I arrived at the gas station, the lead group was gone but I had a fun time cavorting with Todd, Kenda Dave, Janet, Dennis, Larry the Legend & others. You know, the camaraderie of these rides, the goofiness, the razzing, the put-downs, the occassional candor are, for me at least, a very important part of the enjoyment of this entire experience. Were it just the pain and suffering, I'm pretty sure I would not do this activity.
The Kendaites, Todd and I headed out of Z-ville, reaching Ridge where we turned west and after some consulation, Todd, Dave and I decided to forego the southward turn on Morgan and to stay straight on Ridge to Route #40 where we went west and then picked the route back up by turning right on Mt Perry. The three of us became separated and eventtually, I soloed in with 61 miles and 4800' of climbing. Meantime, the lead group broke down to Dave C, Canal Oxley, Canal Clingan, John Morgan and Craig Butler....yes....Da Boss!. Steve took the lonely longer option, ending up with 100 miles while the others continued on to Blue Jay, Craig, amazingly, continued to ride hard and eventually, it was he and Dave C who finished together with Canal Clingan and John M finishing together behind them. Everyone else was strung out behind these four. The average mph for the lead group was 18.2 so for that route, that's pretty good.
Not at the Blue Jay ride was Marty, who rode the 100 mile, 13,000' of climbing Blood, Sweat and Gears in Boone, NC. I hear he turned in a terrific time of 5:21 to finish 49th out of 562 cyclists. My investigative assistant reporter has done some digging and using a Deep Throat source within the New Albany Yankees, Dave C and Marty are probably the best climbers with maybe Marty having inched ahead. For flat to rolling terraine, consistent with the New Albany routes, Rich Lewis, John G, Pete, John M and Marty may be the best with Dave in there too. This does not include some of the other strong riders who show up. So, the Brewers do have their big bopper, Craig Butler, behind him is Steve and slightly behind him is Mark and then just a bunch of Punch & Judy hitters. The Yankess have a very deep line-up with an all-star bench too.
Can't blame you if you anticipated a rainy Thursday New Albany ride, the signs were all there and at 4:30, weather.com had the ominous red bracket around the 6:00-8:00pm slot for severe weather. Over time I have come to appreciate weather.com forecasting sucks so it was no surprise that at New Albany, the air seemed to lack the humidity needed to generate the storms. Someone said they had talked to someone who said a large green blob was headed our way but those with the iphones showed no such activity so I reluctantly withdrew my bike from the car and discovered I had a flat. Someone suggested that was an omen.
Light turnout of course which is too bad because whether my comments about the Canal "A's" being analogous to the Milwaukee Brewers had anything to do with it or not, Canal's top twosome, Mark Clingan (Canal C) and Steve Oxley (Canal O) showed up. They claimed they had already discussed coming before reading the perceived insult but that is one strange coincidence. Anyway, I was disappointed when none of the upper echelon "A's" showed up, no John Morgan, no Logan, no Marty, no Dave C, no Rich Lewis, neither of the Trek dudes, no John Gorilla, no red head dude, no Tim T, no Trek Ron, no Muscle dude, mostly just schleps like me and Canal O & S already know what it's like to beat me like a rented mule.
Forty people finally showed up and around 18-20 rolled out in the "A" group when suddenly, Dave Chesrown came rolling in so at least there was one strong A to go with Jeff S, Paul Stock, Canal O & C, Jon Sada, Lisa, Savage Hill Rick, Terry and some anonymous other guys. Jeff set an up tempo pace out #161 and after the Beech intersection, Canal C took a turn. You know the sound the peloton makes when everyone is turning the pedals at the same rpm and there is a kind of pleasant humming sound? Then, this harmonious moment is upset by the sound of the buzzing of someone ramping up the rpm and first we were passed on the left then a buzz from the right and then we were swarmed and a pack of 4-5 gapped Canal C and I couldn't help but yell, "I told you so."
Canal O & C worked feverishly to catch back on and after a couple of miles, most of us regrouped but there were a few casualties and our group was somewhat reduced. A long light at #310 allowed others to jump back in and with the change of light, something extraordinary happened, instead of turning left to head down Jersey Mill, we continued straight. Woohoo, a new route but there is a downside to this, no one had bothered to look at the map so Jeff and I were the only ones who knew the route. We made a right on Watkins and hit that modest hill with fury and things got broken up with Dave C and a Trek guy gapping us but they didn't know where to go and slowed. I was still hanging in there when we reached Hollow, making a left and then a right on York, crossing #16 and approached Beecher. A couple of us screamed "left" but the front 5-6 just kept going straight. We cruised east on Beecher, allowing the lost to catch us and eventually hit Gale, making a left and then a right on Granview and eventually rolling into Granville. I coasted alongside Canal O & C and opined the best evidence this was not a normally paced "A" group 1) I was still there and 2) our average was only 22.4, down by 2mph compared to where we would normally be.
We headed out Raccoon Valley Road but upon reaching Hardscrabble, the 11-12 still in our group turned right, I stayed straight so at mile 25 with a paltry 22.5 avg I soloed in. The "A" group headed up the multi-ramped road, crossing onto Concorde, into Johnstown and down Caswell and then in. They finished with 46 miles and a 22.2mph average. The heavy hitters from Canal hung in there all the way but so too did most of the others. The Milwaukee twosome were pretty smug after the ride and singled me out for a couple of choice insults (I thought a Pastor was supposed to be above this?). Probably the best analogy is the Milwaukee Brewers go into Yankee Stadium for a game but the Yankees sit their stars and bring up a rookie from the minors to pitch. Milwaukee wins the game and then brags about it. Maybe there will be a second game soon.
Wednesday at Westerville
So, now I have the experience of riding with the "A" group from the Canal, New Albany and Westerville rides. While I have ridden with the W-ville crew only once, I have quizzed Dennis extensively as he rides with them frequently. Frankly, Dennis uses rather harsh language to describe the "A" Westervile cyclists using statements such as, "There really isn't anyone in there that is as strong as me" and "It's kind of like riding with the weak sisters of the poor". I think those descriptions are overly harsh and not at all reflective of the true qualities of the W-ville "A" group. The "A" swamp is likely also drained by the "Wednesday Worlds", which surely attracts most of the top cyclists.
We shoved off at 6:30, the normal W-ville start time and there were around 12 of us including Joe N, Glen Gardner, Walker dude, couple of Olympus guys, Jason (new, young guy not yet into cycling jerseys) and a few others. The terrain around the lake is mostly flat to slightly rolling so not much you can do about the routes, they're just going to be flat and this route was no different with a total elevation gain of 800' that included the "big" climb on Red Bank. Tonight's challenge was the wind though and it was fairly constant at around 15mph out of the south. After some sorting out a few miles into the ride we were down to around 8 and soon caught up with a short cutting B group that included Dennis, riding a tandem with his significant other. Having met her for the first time in the parking lot, I was able to get a few minutes alone with her and got some really good info that I will pass on in a future ride report but it includes Dennis wearing women's underwear and jewelry when at home. Frankly this was not surprising to me at all. Someone also wanted to know if she was really a paid escort, finding it hard to believe Dennis could be with someone that attractive or with someone of that gender.
There were 6-7 of us at the end of the 35 mile route and we finished with a 21.5 average. Putting the different "A" groups into perspective I'll use this analogy, The W-ville "A" group is more like a triple-A baseball team like the Toledo Mudhens or Columbus Clippers. Are there guys in this group who could ride with the Canal or NA "A" groups, oh sure but not likely to finish with them at the end. The Canal "A" group is like a midlevel major league team like the Milwaukee Brewers or Houston Astros. The top few Canal "A" riders could drop back and pummel the W-ville group and most of them would finish with the W-ville front group. The top 2-3 Canal "A" cyclists could maybe hang with the front NA group but likely fall back. The other Canal "A" cyclists would have trouble with the NA strong "B" group. The New Albany "A" group is like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. There are 6-8 of them who are the real deal and would drop back and pummel the Canal "A" group unless it was a very hilly route. The NA cyclists tend to be more sprinter body build then climbing body build and that probably explains why they rarely ride out of Canal. Hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it until proven otherwise.
After the morning rain, I assumed we would be good for the rest of the day so did not check radar before departing for Canal. Upon arriving a little after 5:00, I learned the prospects of riding had been dealt a severe body blow when none other than Grand Poobah had already been there and was gone. Jeff and Mark were both looking at weather radar on their phones and their faces looked grim. Franz too checked in and his radar, for some reason, showed the green blob punctuated by yellow and red splotches to be as close as west Columbus. I began mentally checking out of the ride but was obligated to at least stay until 6:00 to complete the sign up.
Hey, big news for Young Phenom Logan and Younger Phenom Nic. Nic scorched the "10-16" field at the state championship over the weekend, winning the road race by more than 2 minutes. Someone opined it was like a man among boys. Logan, at 17 competing in the 17/18 age group, lost out at the ending sprint, finishing 6th. I bet next year the result will be different. Logan said there was a Cat 1 ranked racer in the 17/18 group.
The 5:30 start time is normally reserved for the "C" and some "B" cyclists but with the fast approaching storm, most of those in the parking lot departed including Dennis, Jeff S, Steve O, Mark C, Tri Andrew, Kenda Paul, Kevin H, Mitch, Nic, Logan...maybe a couple of others. Still arriving were Da Boss and Ryan and a few others. Ryan bounded out of his car to announce he was going to put the screws to Craig Butler and make him hurt. This was too good to keep to myself so as soon as Craig walked into earshot, I repeated Ryan's wild assertion and followed it by saying, "I call that bold talk from a one-eyed fat man" (that's not entirely fair because he has two eyes). We all got a good laugh out of that except Ryan who may be the only male to have not watched either the original or remake of "True Grit".
So a 5:50 group of Craig, Ryan, John S, Franz and a couple others left and then the 6:00 group consisting of three left. Not leaving the lot was the highly intelligent Paul Stock and one to two others who always follow what the smart people do.
Hoping to get some images of cyclists being soaked by rain, I headed south (in the car) and caught up with the lead group as they entered Amanda. There, they all decided to turn around and head back except for Steve and Andrew who were, despite all the visual evidence suggesting they were nuts, determined to do the entire route. As it turns out, the short cutters arrived back in Canal just after one storm had left the pavement wet but just before the next cell hit. Steve and Andrew, waited out the rain at a Church on Clearcreek Road but finished by 9:01 with a 20.5 average and I think the full 51 miles. My biggest regret is missing the opportunity to complete the ride and then take everyone in to Shades for a round of free drinks. Oh well, maybe next year.
HEY, this is important. We decided next Tuesday will be the official Summer Solstice ride since this evening was such a dud so be there or be square. Also, the famous Blue Jay ride originating from the Newark YMCA on Saturday at 8:00am is a ride not to be missed.
Another Young Phenom on the Rise
Good article in the Lancaster Gazette about Kayla Starr, a rising cycling star despite being coached by Grand Poobah. Kayla does not hit the Tuesday or Thursday COP rides but does show up on some of the Saturday Roving Rides when not racing. I think it was the HOOT ride at which Todd told me Kayla was going to make me cry during the ride. I told him everyone does that to me so it won't be a big deal.
LANCASTER -- It's been quite a ride for Kayla Starr -- literally.
As a child, the Lancaster resident was afraid of bicycle riding because of a bad crash she once had. But she kept riding, and USA Cycling now considers the 19-year-old one of the top amateur bicycle racers in the country. She is ranked No. 3 in Ohio in her category.
"I'm surprised and still in shock over this," Starr said. "I still see myself as an 11-year-old kid riding my bike at 8 mph."
In three 40- to 50-mile road races this year, Starr finished first at Germantown, second at Vandervorts Corner and third at Lynchburg for the Cyclist Connection of Canal Winchester. She also works at that cycling store and races a Felt AR3 bicycle.
"She's had a good season so far and opened up some eyes," cycling coach Todd Lee said. "Her determination is the biggest thing. She's a fighter who doesn't give up."
On Wednesday, Starr will be riding in a criterium at London, Ohio. A criterium is a race on a closed course instead of a long road course.
"Racing is something I enjoy doing," Starr said. "I'm doing it to have fun. I don't have an ego or anything with it. Once you get the big head, it's no fun anymore. I like to have fun with this and I enjoy going fast. It's a neat adventure, for sure."
Top speed for female racers is about 20 mph.
USA Cycling has four categories for amateurs, with Category 1 being the top one. Starr is in her rookie year, so she is in Category 4.
Starr said Lee is a major reason for her success.
"He always tells me you only have $1 to spend when you're in a race," Starr said. "So you have to spend it wisely. You can't start out too fast and spend your dollar at the start of the race."
Lee said a successful amateur like Starr needs to ride about 200 to 300 miles per week. He said professional bicycle racers ride between 500 and 1,000 miles each week.
Of course, people don't have to race like Starr or rack up tremendous mileage to enjoy bicycle riding.
Starr recommends cycling for anyone who wants to get some exercise, although she does offer a strong warning.
"Wear a helmet," she said. "In 2007, a helmet saved my life. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to wear one."
As for Starr, she's not ruling out racing professionally one day.
"We all need to have goals, and that would be really, really cool if that's where life takes me," she said.
In the meantime, Starr said she wants to keep racing as an amateur and help raise money for various charities, such as autism awareness.
Starr also said she might ride in the Tour de Cause on July 16. That is a local ride that raises money to fight drug addiction.
So, not exactly excited about driving over an hour for a 60 mile ride, I opted instead for John Gorilla's "socially paced" ride out of Granville, a mere 5 miles from my humble abode. But get this as an amazing coincidence, our route was going to take us down Clear Creek Road and up Starner so I got down there anyway.
The heaviest of hitters participate in John Morgan's 7:30am ride out of New Albany but joining John G. and I was his charming wife Adele (pronounced "A Dell"), Kim Sada and Peggy (Gus' wife). The opening 30 miles to Lancaster was mostly flat to rolling and I used this, once I learned Adele was an investment advisor for Dennison University, to make her an offer I did not think she could refuse. Over the last several months, I have raided the neighbor's couch cushions for change and accumulated around $100. I told her I was giving her the opportunity to manage this small fortune and turn it into something really big. Shockingly, she declined, something about a conflict of interest. Although disappointed, I guess I understand and will read up on shorting oil futures instead.
John seemed like the kind of guy who would want to pull for the entire 101 mile route so I was not going to get in his way. Therefore, I also spent time in the back of our peloton chatting with Peggy and discovered she'll be in western Maryland next week participating in something called the "Diabolic Double" a 125 mile route with.....are you ready for it.....15,000' of climbing. That sounds very painful. The humidity was so high, by the time we reached Lancaster (via Stringtown Road of course) my gloves were soaked and I had trouble holding on to the handlebar. We made a brief stop there before heading out of Lancaster, missing a turn, riding across a hay field but eventually reaching Bovine and later Christmas Rock. Having not ridden anything longer than 52 miles for a couple of weeks, I began to doubt I had it in me to do 101 so as we approached Starner, I bugged out and stayed on Clear Creek and on out to #33 where I turned south, crossed #33 at CR 10 and taking the back way into Sugar Grove, where I briefly waited for the others to arrive. As we departed SG and headed out Savage Road, rain could be seen just to our west but it appeared we may miss it by continuing north. Alas, we did not and somewhere south of Lancaster it poured. Soon we were soaked but strangely, it did not feel any different from the period of no rain but high humidity. What can be said of the next 30 miles but periods of dry interrupted by rain. I broke from the group at Blacks Road and Canyon and ended up with 91 miles and 4000' of climbing.
Mark C Strikes Back!
Mark C, foregoing one of his daily rides to instead labor with Photoshop, took Moe's head and put it on my body from an image taken last year I think on the Knox County ride. I kind of like this look.
Radar looked as if rain may plow through around 5:30ish so I drove to New Albany and what did I find but the greatest ride leader in the history of COP, sleeping in the back seat of his van but nevertheless, at the parking lot as it was poring. WHAT AN INSPIRATION IS THIS DUDE!!!! Unfortunately, while the rain did clear around 5:40, we decided not to ride and no one else showed.
So, let's move on to more important matters....who most obviously is wearing a rug among the Thursday New Albany clan. First, some really bad rug jobs that are close to mystery cyclist #1.
Another somewhat obvious bad wig job.
Maybe the 2nd most obvious of all time, Phil Spectre with and without a variety of wigs.
Here he is, what I suspect to be the wearer of a wig. Think about it, he is in his early 50's and he still has a full head of hair. How rare is that? Then, note no silver or grey streaks. How likely is that for an old guy? Dennis the Style Queen wears A WIG!!!!! I will pay cash to anyone who walks up and yanks on the rug to prove my assertion.
Epic Comb Overs
Inspired by Mark C's combing style, I went looking for what he may look like 5-10 years from now if he maintains the current style. Here are the likely outcomes.
48 Mile Semi Summer Solstice Ride
The Peggster and Butch, arriving first in the parking lot and taking the only spot that is in the shade and reserved for that night's ride leader. Peggster broke from custom and actually said something nice to me, complimenting me for the manner in which I sent out two "B" groups. That was the nicest thing she has ever said to me.
Someone taped a sign on my car that said "Reliable Ride Leader". I thought that pretty funny. Note too Mark C employing the cross over combing style to hide the bald spot.
The Ancient Mariner and Minnow. Not sure what Todd is preparing to do with his hand down his shorts when I snapped this image but it likely involved sending me a not so subtle message.
Ideal conditions for an evening ride and it brought out 50 people representing a broad range of A, B & C cyclists. After last weeks mediocre route of 33 miles, I was under some pressure to come up with something a little more epic so selected the "Hopewell Church Route", a 48 mile flatish front half with a hilly back half. A large A group left the parking lot comprised of Steve O, Mitch, Ryan, Mark C, Walker dude, Da Boss (to whom I finally gave that free bottle of Maker's Mark), Paul Stock, Younger Phenom Nic, Jeremy, Jeff S, Ted M, Grand Poobah, maybe 18-20 in total. Then I announced there would be a B+ group for those who start with the A group and get blown out in the first few miles or those who should ride with the A group but who like to detonate the B peloton. Into this group went Dennis, Pepe Lapew, Mark R, Mark V, around 8-10. Then a real B group and then whatever was left over. One piece of bad news, one block out, Ted M had a mechanical that forced him to quit the ride.
The A group stayed together all the way into Amanda where a couple of people broke off but the majority headed southeast arriving at Hamburg and turning right on Landis. Among some of the ways this pot-holed stretch was described to me is, "I thought I saw a Chinaman peering out from one of those holes" and "Those holes were so deep, if a bike fell into one of those you could just ride over the guys helmet". Once the group got into Hopewell Church Road, the group broke up with Paul, Steve, Mark, Nic and UPS driver dude as a lead group which stayed together to the climb on Slough, where Paul and Steve gapped the group, followed by UPS, then Mark and then Nic.
Paul Stock and Steve O were the first place survivors of the route of 48 miles and 2200' of climbing. Their average was 20.3. What is interesting with this image is Paul finished with the best of the best of the best of the Tuesday crew (Da Boss hasn't been riding much) yet does not finish with the lead group on Thursday New Albany rides.
Widowmaker Ride Report
Pop-up thunderstorms on Saturday morning and the long drive to Athens likely contributed to the low turnout for the ride, i.e., just me (Andrew) and Luke in for the long haul. By 8:30 the rain had stopped and we headed out shortly after 9 a.m for the clockwise loop of the 63-mile route on wet roads that were drying out quickly. After missing the turn on Millfield road we stayed on SR13 into Chauncey and Jacksonville for a rolling route before heading towards Burr Oak on SR78 and the big rollers and the scenic "Rim of the World".
About 20 miles into the ride we rode past Bishopville (since it’s not a true town per-se that you ride through) and out from a trailer bolts this ugly mongrel dog. I hear Luke behind me shout "here he comes" and look back just in time to see the dog t-bone Luke’s wheel and the bike flip. Luke lands on his side and quick we get him and the bike off the road! (All the while the dog still barking in it’s front yard and no sight of the owner) Respectable road rash and thank God - no broken collarbone, or worse. Bike aerobars needed some straightening but everything worked so Luke insisted he was alright and we should ride on. Once we got on SR555 the tough part of the ride started and we rode and named the three steep climbs referred to as the Three Sisters: Twisted Sister, Farm Girl and Easy-Sleazy Sister. By this time the day was gorgeous, full-sun and getting HOT – stopped for some good cold water in Chesterhill and then onto 550 to Amesville and one last big climb into Athens, down the backside on Central avenue and into the westside ballfield park. At this point in an ironman-distance race a person eats his or her lunch for the day, so back at the vehicles that’s just what we did: I went with my tried and true tuna sandwich, Doritos and coke and Luke did the PB&J.
Then we got back on the bikes to do the exact same route but in reverse. Stopped to fix Luke’s tire since the sidewall had this nasty bulge from the crash and was rubbing the brakes, thankfully it popped right back in. For the return trip the sisters were not as steep and even the dog that took down Luke on the first loop did not have the guts to try a second time. Finished the ride strong with 126 total miles, 4551 feet of climbing and then immediately slipped on the running shoes for a 30-minute transition run on the bike trail. Long day but we agreed this was the perfect Anchor Training Day to do 45 days out from Ironman Like Placid (July 24th, 2011).
Here is Luke’s Garmin of the route, make sure to hit the "Player" button
Weekend & Notes
Perplexed may be the best word to describe those of us who showed up for the COP roving ride out of Sunbury. No rain, clearing skies and no ride leader. It was a bad week for ride leaders, first Engineer Mitch violating the sacred trust but then Jeff F doing the same.
On Sunday, quite a large group of people turned out for the Sunday ride out of Canal. While the maps were substandard (there was a map but no route visible to us) the route was not and 50 of us shoved off for a hilly route of 57 miles with lots of climbing that included a stop in Lancaster.
Important Ride Notes: On Tuesday, June 21, the infamous Summer Solstice ride will start from Canal at 6:00pm with a slower group exiting at 5:30pm. Todd Lee will lead a Super Senior start time of 5:45, Tuna will lead a Female Flounder group at 5:50, Ryan R will lead a B Group Who Will Ride At An A pace at 5:55 and then the A group departs at 6:00. This is the ride that everyone talks about for at least 5 minutes after the end of the ride before we move on to other things. 51 miles with a summit of Revenge before a hilly return.
On June 25 is the Blue Jay ride, starting at 8:00am. Unfortunately, the ride description never made the newsletter and only got on the COP web site a couple of weeks ago. The original route will be used with 67 miles and 6000' of climbing with epic climbs.
The Fastest Ever?
Farmer Mike in the center, having completed the Mohican 100 mile mountain bike race this past weekend. He disputes the Velo News article that says he turns 70 this year but ok, if only 69, amazing.
Young Phenom Logan on the right. He has a heavy racing schedule in the coming weeks so that's good. Keep him tired for our Thursday rides.
Dennis, pink accents all over and a jersey from San Francisco. Not implying anything just interesting choice of clothing and bike colors.
A sultry, humid, hot evening for a bike ride but we've seen worse so it wasn't that bad. Kind of a light turnout, maybe 45-50 with the usual strong contingent of A riders who each week appear to collectively get stronger and stronger, at least on paper (and in reality too). For me, it's kind of like showing up for a fight and feeling pretty good about your chances until your opponent arrives and brings his brother, cousins, brass knuckles, switchblade....after awhile you start to feel DOOOOOMED.
And so, what started as a reasonable group of A cyclists swelled sharply in the last 10 minutes and there were 18 of us leaving the parking lot including Young Phenom Logan, John Morgan, Dave Chesrown, Trek Ron, Paul Stock, Red Head Bill & friend, two Trek/HVC guys, John Gorilla, Jeff S, Claude, Gus, etc... Jeff came up with an extended route of 48 miles that would take us east of #661 and included that debilitating series of ramps/hills on Chattam Road. I won't lie, I didn't like my chances once the group hit Chattam. We headed out #161 but turned north on Kitzmiller and worked our way over to Beech and then Jug. The pace had been moderate but on Jug, a couple of guys began launching attacks and the intensity level zoomed off the charts. Being a wizened vet, I was patient and did not waste energy sprinting after each attack because the quality of the group was such it was very unlikely any attack would get away and in fact, they did not.
After turning at #310 and then picking up Jug again, attacks prevailed. It seemed the larger of the Trek/HVC dudes kept going to the front and punishing us whenever the pace slackened even a little. We jetted into Alexandria with a 25mph avg and then out Raccoon Valley where the pace was moderate for the first half and then the impatient hit the front again. We turned left onto Louden and I remained with the group but needed the pace to ease a bit to catch my breath, alas, it did not. Somebodys just kept taking turns hammering and soon, whatever color is above red, that is the category in which I found myself. Geez, by the final ramp on Louden, just short of the steep downhill, I had to sit up and bid the group adieu. At that point, mile 17, my average was 24.4 and I was shell shocked. The group was down to 13 but I have no idea who had dropped. I did note at the Dry Creek turn at the bottom of the hill, 4 had dropped back but had taken the turn. I made a snap decision not to turn and ride the balance of the route likely alone so I stayed straight, figuring the B group would catch me and I could limp back, feeling generally sucky about my condition. I finished with 40 miles and a 20.4 crummy average.
Rather than bore you with the remaining 24 mile description of riding completely alone save for a few miles at the end with a B group, I'll jump to the A group effort. They would have hit the Chattam ramps and surely that took a big bite out of their average out to Sportsman Club Road where they turned west. Initially flat to rolling, once crossing #661, there are some super rollers in there and then more climbing after crossing Louden before heading south on Northridge and back into Alexandria. From there, they would leave the valley via Jug and return to the parking lot with 45 miles and a freakin 23.6 mph avg. For the distance, coupled with the climbing, that might be the best New Albany performance ever. At the end there were 6-7 cyclists including John M, Red Head Bill, Dave C, Trek HVC dudes and 1-2 others. One of them suggested I post this to scare others away. It's starting to work on me, that's for sure.
Andrew sent me the below, with two links for what appears to be a heck of a route:
Here is the route for the Widomaker ride for this Saturday 6/11 starting at 8:30 a.m, West State Street ballfields in Athens, OH. Take Stimson Avenue/State Street exit from SR33. You will note that the route itself (the Rim of the World) is only 63 miles. When you do the first loop clockwise and THEN the second loop counterclockwise the ride becomes known as the "Widowmaker". Cyclists know that bike routes look and feel entirely different when ridden in the opposite direction as every downhill becomes an uphill and vis-versa.
I Hopefully the cue sheet is accurate. I would say that anyone who wants to create a better map or GPS route feel free to do so. Also, I did not create this route, just took it from Athens Cycle Path on trusted advice but still I can’t guarantee road conditions, friendly dogs on the route, availability of food/water or anything else on this ride. Look at it as a an adventure with the goals of having a hard, safe ride while NOT partaking in the filming of Deliverance II :)
What an evening, so much so that it almost had Da Boss in tears either from discovering Mitch, our ride leader, was a no-show or because he ran a marathon this weekend that had 2200' of climbing and he is still emotional over his 3rd place finish. Geez, 26 miles and 2200' of climbing. Now that sounds like fun.
Steve O with new vehicle and he welcomes people to lean their bikes against it, so I did.
The great one, Grand Poobah with Ryan R on the right bent over vomiting from pre-ride nerves anticipating the beat down he would apply to the lowly B group. There is no glory in spanking the B group Ryan.
Tri Andrew on the right, who has come up with a ride for Saturday called "The Widowmaker". More on that later.
Rain moved through the area earlier in the day but upon arriving at the parking lot the pavement was dry the sky was a little overcast and the temp only 70. There would be no reason for anyone not to show because conditions were perfect. Around 5:30, the clouds lifted entirely and the temp rose a little but still nice and we lathered on the sunscreen. People began descending on me wanting to know where our ride leader, Mitch was. I kept assuring everyone he would show that he is normally a little late but very reliable. Up until 5:45 I clung to this story but the natives were getting restless and even I began to doubt the Engineer's arrival. Finally, Ryan called Mitch and announced Mitch had looked at radar and decided there would not be a ride. How one could come to that conclusion, while also being sober, is best left unanswered. I asked Mark C, he who rides these roads every day but Sunday, to come up with a simple, 40 miles route, in the absence of having maps. Mark announced the route to the group and so we shoved off, I going with the B group of Ryan R, Mark R, Jeremy, Rear Wheel Faller Offer Dude, Mark V, Amanda, Aggravating Dude Who Takes One Pull While in Freakin Aero Bars! and a couple other guys. The A group had Da Boss, Mark C, Steve O, Walker Dude, Jeff S, Dude with Jean Shorts, Tri Andrew, Tri friend of Craig & Andrew, Grand Poobah, Randy Brown and 2-3 others. Again, kind of a light turnout for a Canal ride.
We hit the slope on Waterloo and Ryan, fresh off his Mountains of Misery experience, rode to the front and dropped everyone but me. I suggested he ease up a little and so we regrouped, arriving in Lithopolis as one. Out Elder then Winchester we rode where a guy riding a tri bike took a turn at the front and promptly dropped into the aero tuck and motored away from Mark R. Being a new guy, I figured he would not know where to turn so let him go and sure enough, he eventually sat up, saw no one went with him and he returned to the peloton never to be seen at the front again. I was a mile into a pull and preparing to do so certainly for another 4-5 miles when Ryan came alongside and said, "Are you aware you have two seams going up your rear, one stitched and one au natural?" I was stunned and embarrassed by this and promptly dropped to the back from where I would never again to be seen at the front. Unfortunately, Ryan kept bringing attention to my clothing condition and appeared to be obsessed by it. Note to Ryan: I threw the shorts in the trash can once I arrived home.
Ryan was enjoying putting a beat down on the B group and we eventually lost a few people by the time we turned left at the school and headed for the hill on Ashville Fairfield Road. I figured Ryan would put in a good dig on the hill so I clung to his wheel out of the turn and sure enough, he picked up the pace and we dropped everyone by the time we reached the top but did regroup as there were no maps for people to follow. We worked our way over to Fosnaugh School Road and then Ridge and made a left on Cedar Hill. We reached the foot of the long hill on CH and I happened to be at the front and about 1/3 of the way up, Ryan sprinted around me and behind him but getting gapped a little was Jeremy, who said, "I'm not supposed to close that am I?" I managed to catch and draft Ryan all the way to the top where he ran out of gas. From there we all broke up with Ryan waiting for a new guy who would surely be lost and I waiting for him while soft peddling into Canal with 34 miles and 1400' of climbing and a very pedestrian 18.1 avg. I guess Mark C is to be congratulated for only missing the 40 mile mark
Meanwhile, the A group got cut up by the cross winds going out Winchester but were given the chance to regroup when Andrew's shoe came apart and was saved when Mark gave him a rubber band to wrap around it. The group got cut up again on the hill on Fairfield Road and then more culling took place on the climb on Fosnaugh School so it was down to Mark C, Steve and Walker dude. They then passed Poobah and Andrew on Cedar Hill, having short-cutted and then Steve left the route to get in extra miles. Mark and Walker arrived in Canal together with a 21.5 avg.
Nathan sent me the below account of his weekend experience:
I’ve survived my first Ironman 70.3 event!!! The course was VERY hilly for both the bike and the run.
Swim: (1.2 Miles)
I had a very good time on the swim. I am quite happy with my time here. The lake was a balmy 58 for the swim and I had second thoughts about swimming with a sleeveless wetsuit. Sleeveless was a good decision though. After getting acclimatized before the start I didn’t give the water temps much thought. They say hypothermia makes you delirious J !!
By bike time was pretty good as well. The course was a VERY hilly 56 miles with about 4500 ft of climb and a single stretch of 3.5 – 4 miles between 7 – 16% grade. Other climbs were long (one was longer) as well but ran below 7% and played to my strengths. I did have one problem on the bike that cost me some time, but I chalk it up to lesson learned. Over all I was satisfied here. I opted to ride my road bike with aero bar bolt-ons rather than my time-trial bike. I don’t have the legs for a full-size crank and 16% for that long. It ended up a great decision. I was glad to have brought both bikes along.
Run (13.1 Miles / ½ Marathon)
Not even sure what to say here…. My run training was sorely lacking and my longest run EVER before running this event was 6.4 miles, so the jump to 13.1 was a challenge to say the least. With about 2 months to go I made a conscious decision to go in blissfully ignorant of the ½ marathon. I will say that at about the 10 mile mark some very strange things started happening to my body that were unexpected. I was told this was likely to happen and right on schedule the pain arrived. It was aided by one place on the run course where the grade exceeded 20% and another where there was a steady mile at 8%. On a double loop course you get to visit them twice and those weren’t the only run hills (arghh!!!). My main objective was to survive here and that’s what I did. I didn’t ever feel that I was in danger of not finishing, but I had STRONG urges to walk on occasion and I am certain that my “run pace” often dropped to “walk pace”.
I was joined at the event by my brother (also a competitor) and two other family members who cheered us along the way. It was wonderful to have familiar faces in the crowd. My brother also had excellent times on the swim/bike portions, but he embraced the run early in the season and this paid off for him.
Low Points: Throwing up on the bike after trying to swallow a barely chewed piece of PB&J. I managed to do this at 35+MPH!!! (That almost makes this a high point! Haz ya vomitz got skilz!) We're not talking about your single-heave event here folks. Once the heaving started.... it kept at it for a while...
I guess this leaves me with two questions: "Will I do it again?" and "Will I try a full IronMan event?"
Yes I will do it again. I want to run better and I will focus on this between now and my next event. This was a GREAT first try. I WILL do better though.
Full Iron? Hmmm…. I don’t know. If I can accomplish another ½ with good time, I might consider it. I have an AMAZING appreciation for ANYONE who crosses that finish line on that distance event now. It takes doing this to really appreciate it I think.
For now I am going to sit back and enjoy my coffee out of my brand new IronMan coffee mug and smile while I relive crossing that finish line.
Farmer Mike, one of the largest landowners in the history of Licking County dating back to when the Conestoga wagon was crossing our state, was mentioned in Velo News for his cycling accomplishments. Thanks to John Gorilla for sending me this link: http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/national-ultra-endurance-nue-series-mohican-100-ne/preview
Kind of a Weird Spring HOOT
So, to Coonpath Road and the Gloryland Church we traveled for the start of the Heart of Ohio Tour or better known as the spring HOOT. Kind of an odd day as many of the usual suspects were missing, but at 8:00am a group of around 20 streamed from various parts of the parking lot to coalesce at the front and head west on Coonpath. In total, there was a good turnout for the ride with at least 100 cyclists. In the mix with our group at that time were Mark C, Steve O, Kenda's J, CT, Paul, Dave, Poobah and Mario, Black Trek Chris, Jeremy, SuperDave, Kayla and a couple others.
I got caught up with the pace and found myself in with a lead group of 7-8 and we zigzagged our way towards Amanda. Poobah kept agitating things on the climbs and appeared to be very strong but Mark C, Steve and I were able to cover his attacks and hang with him to each mini summit finish. Reaching Amanda at mile 24, I decided that was enough higher paced riding for me and began to look around for others with whom I could enjoy the balance of the ride. I sat on the curb panting while Todd ruled the parking lot. We spent too long at the gas station and people began leaving in ones and twos so when I saw SuperDave depart, I rode after him and eventually we caught Kenda Janet prior to the climb on Revenge. I settled in next to Dave when suddenly, Kenda J ATTACKED!!! No doubt she was smelling blood after my pitiful performance of last week and I really just wanted to sit in and ride up the hill. Plenty of calculations went through my head, "Would she brag to everyone she throttled me on Revenge if I did not respond", "Would she smirk at me every time she sees me in the future just as Tuna now does", etc... We regrouped somewhere after Blue Valley with Jeremy, Janet and I stopping in front of the store in Sugar Grove. Here's where things started to get weird. Weird in the sense the people we expected to see from having seen them at previous points on the route, we did not now see. Finally, Dave, Jeremy and I headed out and up the climb on Savage.
We eventually got over to Bremen and stopped to eat at a gas station that serves good subs. From our original group of 20, we were down to what you see here plus Jeremy and no one else ever stopped. I think the route afforded so many short cutting opportunities that many were taken. I know Mark and Steve were doing the 100 mile option but every time I asked Todd what he was doing he would only say he was going to take an ice bath when he got home to sooth a strain in his leg.
Finally Jeremy and I headed on the 80 mile route but I lost him while navigating the streets of Bremen. Some good climbing coming out of there on Marietta Road and then West Rushville before cruising through WR and continuing on to Pleasantville where, I found Jeremy and stopped again at a gas station to refuel. There we discovered SuperDave who had not stopped in Bremen, but never saw anyone else. Considering there must have been at least 100 people at the start we just found it odd to have seen so few after the Amanda stop. Anyway, finished with 81 miles and 4100' of climbing.
Dennis said, "Talk about a freak show" when looking at this scene. Errrr. not so much the person in the foreground but definitely the person in the back ground. All Mark V needs now are red shorts, which Dennis promised to provide.
Marty on the right, recovering from the double metric century at Mountains of Misery where he rode a 7:58. He finished in the top 10 along with Dave Chesrown at 7:57 and John Sada at 8:14. John Gorilla on the left with satchel slung over his shoulder carrying his work clothes.
Jeff S, inspired by Rep Anthony Weiner, asked me to take a close-up of his crotch area and forward him the image so he could send to his fans on Twitter. Note too the see through fabric. What's up with that? First Dennis and now Jeff wearing see through shorts. Me thinks this is more appropriate for the under 30 crowd or females of any age but what do I know?
With what will likely go down in weather history as the nicest day of the year, very light NW breeze, no humidity, temps in the 70's, brilliant blue sky, etc.. I would have thought everyone who rides a bike would be at New Albany. There were between 60-65 cyclists so one of the higher turnouts so far this year and a very broad range of abilities but it does seem the ranks of the A and B riders are packed with depth while not so many C's, who are welcome and encouraged to join the fun.
Kevin H drove up from the south country to join Tuna, SuperDave, Mark V, Mark R, Gary and many others in a quality B field. A large A group was comprised of everyone I have come to expect to be there including John Morgan, Marty, Dave C, Paul Stock, John G, Dennis, Jon the Dentist, Tim T & Lisa, Gus, Terry making his 1st appearance, couple of Trek HVC guys and on and on. Probably 23-25 as the scrum left the parking lot. We headed out old #161 at a fairly high pace and upon reaching #310, our avg was 23.8. We plunged down Jersey Mill into Alexandria and made the left on Raccoon Valley Rd. This road has slowly deteriorated and so I was glad the pace was not too high to better watch the pavement for the holes and cuts. Unfortunately, I was at the back and as we approached the left onto Louden, I thought I'd get caught out but made a nifty cut to the inside at the turn and cut around a few to hold the main body.
Our number had been reduced a little but it appeared everyone in this group was legit. For me, it was a chance to see if I've made much progress coming back from the the Black Plague/Red Death flu that had lingered for close to 2 weeks. That SUCKED. Well, some incremental progress has been made because as we flew out Louden, I was still there but rounding the corner at the Stone Quarry turn, I was damn glad we didn't turn there. We continued on Louden through the numerous hills up to the stop at Sportsman Club. Dennis and I had been telling each other we were pretty much done and by the time the group paused at the stop sign, he had fallen back. For a nanosecond, I considered waiting for him but it's a dog eat dog world out there so I'm ashamed to admit I decided to throw in my lot with the group. Except, when we hit the ramp after Sportsman Club, my legs were suddenly dead. At mile 19, I checked out with a 22.4 avg and then spent the next 24 miles riding completely alone. No one came up from the rear. My buddy Dennis, now you see him now you don't, took the short cut. The B group must have taken the shorter route. Anyway, finally coasted into the parking lot with 42+ miles, 20.8 avg and 1200' of climbing. The front A group finishers had an average in excess of 23 but they were long gone.