Contador Caught Doping
Check Velonews or other cycling web sites. Contador caught using Clenbuterol, a banned substance. Contador hiring a team to defend him, claiming "food contamination". I always found it hard to believe he could excel at time trialing
The Jeff Shleup and Jeff's brother Jeff Appreciation Party will be held after the New Albany Thursday night ride, held just down the street from the parking lot at I think Eagles Pizza. If you're not riding but want to attend, and with no chance of rain it will be after the ride, plan on being there at 7:30pm. I think a record was broken with the 19 who attended Peggy's party after the Tuesday ride but with someone like Jeff and Jeff, whom the peloton holds in great esteem, I think the turnout will be huge, massive, ginormous, gigantic, enormous and just plain big. Come out and clink glasses with people you'll be glad to know you won't see for another, long 5-6 months.
Last Thursday, we began the ride with a temperature of 92 degrees. Tonight, we started at 57. The difference was so stark, I pulled on tights and a jacket and was way too hot after the ride start but at least I was warm while trying to stir trouble in the parking lot. Unfortunately, with only 15 cyclists, some of them barely so, not a lot of post ride activity on which to report.
Things were so quiet, Jeff S jumped in the van and took a nap. Also there were Steve O, Mark C, Mitch, Recumbent Dude, Amanda, Sarge, Beth, Peggy, John, Cameron, Bruce, etc.. We headed out of the parking lot with 11 of the 15 in the "A" group,
Overcast skies, combined with a sunset of around 7:20pm, constrained the distance to around 22 miles, heading out Waterloo to Slough, where we lost a rider or two, out Sitterly to Marcy, heading west to Winchester and all along, a very moderate "B" type pace. In fact, things were so muted, when we came to an intersection, Mark C held his fast twitch muscles in check and actually stopped at the sign, crossed and looked back to see if everyone made it through. You'll see a double rainbow before you catch that scene again. We hit a few rollers along Winchester and here, Mark and Steve put in unenthusiastic attacks which I covered but they slowed and we all regrouped although by the time we reached Lithopolis, we were down to 7-8 people.
Through the 4-5 intersections navigated in Lithopolis, Mark C was amazingly polite but you could tell he was struggling mightily with the temptation to attack us at each. Someone said, while watching him control his reflexive instinct, it was like sitting a drunk at a bar with free drinks, like watching an addict sit in front of a bag of free drugs, like watching an overeater sit at a table with an assortment of pies, like....well, you get the idea. To his credit, Mark resisted the temptation and we made it through the town, together. On the run into Canal, there was a flurry of attacks but nothing too serious and we arrived in the parking lot with a 20.5mph average.
Then, we headed to Kingys where Mark R and Karen, Franz, Tall Dude and Eve were waiting. To this mix were most of tonight's cyclists and we had 19 at the table. Recumbent Dude's patience was tested when first he demanded to the waitress that his time was valuable and that she needed to take his order immediately. The waitress rewarded Nathan later with the news his order of mushroom pizza was delayed because while flipping it, it landed on the hairy arm of the kitchen help and they were trying to pick all the hair out before bringing the pizza out. The rest of us were patient with the service and our food was great.
In the meantime, Mitch was circulating firewater poured from a paper bag into small plastic cups. Those that tried it held up well with only a couple of exceptions. Now for the real news. Cyclist Connection has started up a team of racers and ordinary people. I was stunned by how low into the cycling gene pool Rick has scooped to fill out the team and I won't name names but I was encouraged enough to think here may be the team for me. True, it may require me to buy advertising space on the next iteration of the jersey (maybe "Mark's Cycling Blog") but the Blog is not beneath bribery to achieve its goals. I mean, for heaven's sake, Eve bought space on the jersey and will wear one!!!!......wait......would I want to be on a team that had.........
The Final Canal Ride & Celebration
Tuesday is, sadly, the final Canal Winchester race/group ride. As is normal, the cyclists will depart the parking lot at 6:00pm. Upon completion of the ride, we will retire to Kingy's for pizza and drinks. The main focus of the gathering is to celebrate Mitch, Mark W, Steve O and Kevin H for becoming ride leaders....next year. Probably we will give a brief thanks to this year's leaders too. In the event rain prevents the start of the ride, we will immediately go to Kingys and begin eating, drinking and celebrating Mitch, Mark, Steve and Kevin with an extremely minor thanks to Peggy, Craig, Sarge & Mitch.
OK seriously, if you plan to stay for the Kingys visit, make the effort to say so in the comments section so Peggy can give Kingys a heads up.
CFC Southbound Route Problem?
I received a call from someone who was part of a small group ride that started from Granville, rode to Sugar Grove and followed this year's CFC route to Marietta. He said at mile 93 of the CFC route, a road named Schott or something like that, has a 3 mile stretch of gravel that includes a hill with an 18% grade. He emphasized how dangerous this section was, especially coming this late in the route. Can anyone verify this or perhaps pass on to Frank Seebode?
During my drive to the start of KCBC, I noticed my car being followed by a strange van containing strange looking people. The van followed me into the field of parked cars and I was correct, there were strange people in that van, Mark C, Steve O, Tri Andrew and John. We arrived at about 7:40.
A group of around 25, known as the "Fairfield County Group" (even though several of us were not from there) gathered by 8:00, including Franz, Amazing Amanda, Flyin Tuna, Dennis, Poobah, Mark V, Kenda's Janet & Paul, Larry P & Lisa, Dan, Pepe Le Pew (Kevin), Jeff S, etc... We waited until 8:10 and still no sighting of the Mark C group, 8:15....nothing and several began to demand that we leave, what were they doing back there???? Finally, at 8:20 they rolled up and we all shoved off.
The hills come early and often on the KCBC route and the pace was what you would expect for a group riding 100, hilly miles, easier then the Tuesday Canal pace but not by too much. During one period of regrouping, I snapped the above image, just after Poobah, resplendent in red and white, finally caught back on. Everyone wants to know the name of the gym where Poobah intends to spend the majority of his time this off-season. I have my spies out there and will pay $10 for a good, authentic (or even unauthentic) image of Poobah struggling with the leg press machine holding more than 75 pounds. Anyway, we reached the first rest stop at mile 22 with a 19.5 mph average. Nice selection of food but a little early in the route for any major wolfing down of food so I nibbled on gorp and waited. Dennis came up with the line ot the day and may have been the one who posted it in the comments section elsewhere but I'll repost here, "What makes a women's wheel different from a normal wheel is the rim is made ultra wide so a women's rear won't look so fat." Dennis has probably lost a few fans by now and he desperately needs the off-season for people to forgive and forget his many welcome but classless contributions to the blog.
We left the food stop and kept up the spirited pace. I, sensing the 62 mile cut-off was approaching, senselessly burned my remaining reserves of energy attacking Mark C on a succession of hills and giving him long stares as I went around him just before each mini summit. After the 4th stare-down brush-by he wryly noted, "You're not doing the century route are you."
Soon, the cut-off was reached at mile 30 and Dennis and I departed the group with a 19.4mph average, which I note here because it wasn't going to get any higher. Dennis switched on the nitrous oxide reserves and rode away from me on Rt 60. Eventually, John Sada and friend caught up with me and I declined the invitation to jump on and draft but John said George was out some place. Sure enough, he came gliding by and I snapped the image. Heard later he has been riding and is doing CFC.
Prior to the start of KCBC, a couple of people claimed to have sighted Crazy or Retro George but I have the photographic evidence and, George is riding strong too. More to come on Sunday.
I stopped briefly at the next food stop and ate but few were there. Seemed everyone had taken at least the 78 mile route, if not the 100. Did see Farmer Mike just as I was leaving and did not see anyone the rest of the way in, finishing with 3700' of climbing and back in plenty of time to watch the Buckeyes.
I Offered Her My Wheel but....
Quite a small turnout for a brief window of unusual 90+ temperature and less than an 1 1/2 hour of daylight. Jeff S, responded with an interesting route of 29 miles (hey, someone buy a card and have everyone sign it next week and give it to this great ride leader). The usual levity prevailed with most taking the opportunity to poke fun at.....
.....Flyin Tuna who claimed she has a new set of "women's wheels" on order. This prompted disbelief among us as we speculated what could possible differentiate a standard light weight wheel set for a "women's wheel set). Some guessed color, thinking the wheels would be pink with floral pattern but Cindy says no, cosmetics were the same. Someone said the rubber would be softer but that is the tire and not the wheel so that isn't it. SuperDave guessed it was lighter weight but are not "men's wheels" already as light as they can be, given material choices? Most of us think the retailer saw this rube coming a mile away and is getting away with charging a premium for "women's wheels". Someone else suggested Cindy check the weight load maximum on the new wheels but not sure what they meant by that.
Billy C's riding buddy was there but no Billy, who was giving a guitar lesson.
The A group comprised of Muscle Dude, Dave Chesrown, Mick, Claude and a few others but not a big group. The real fun was in the "Fast B" group of Dennis, Ted M, Dan, Mark R, Mark V, Amanda, Cindy, Jeff S, SuperDave, Trek/Echelon guy and others totaling about 17. At the start, I begged Ted not to destroy us and he was nice and complied. We rolled out Jug, turning north on Clover Valley and worked our way over to Green Chapel and Duncan Plains. The pace was very moderate with Ted behaving, Jeff S recovering from Tuesday and the rest of us glad to just settle in. We went left at Castle and then right on Sadie Thomas that has some rollers and where the pace picked up and a few people were dropped. A right on Northridge brought us into Alexandria with some more defections, before heading out Jersey Mill and that long uphill stretch.
The pace was slowly building yet after a right on Burnside and a left on Jug, Cindy and Amanda were still with us. I began to worry because if Amanda finished with us, she'll post on Facebook something like, "I kicked butt tonight and Mark W was barely hanging on and that Dennis, how did he hang on for so long????" At one point, both females actually took a pull and someone shouted, "Put some men at the front!" Dan came alongside me and wondered if he should take off. Soon, someone launched, maybe Dan or Ted M but in any case, Dennis jumped on and I, directly behind the Big Diesel (Jeff S), assumed I would be in good shape by sticking there....except.....Big Diesel faded rather rapidly and the front three had too large a gap for me to cover so I began daydreaming while finishing out the ride in Jeff's slipstream when suddenly and completely unexpectedly, in fact, shockingly, Amanda sprinted around us. I was embarrassed for Jeff and yet, still no response from him, so I took off, caught Amanda and pulled away. Eventually, Dennis, Ted, Dan and I regrouped with Trek/Echelon and a couple others and arrived at the parking lot with a 21.8mph average.
Amanda arrived and informed us that Mark R had stopped out on Jug to repair a flat. Amanda also happened to mention on the run out Jug, Flyin Tuna had slipped back and Amanda told us, "I offered her my wheel but all I heard was a gurgling sound of struggle" at least, I think that's what she said. Oh geez, when the crowd of Dan, Dennis, Ted and I heard this, we could not wait to see Tuna and apply the appropriate verbal jabs to the ribs. This was too rich. Cindy had stopped with Mark so it took awhile but above, Amanda keeps watch to alert us when Cindy approaches so we can begin our verbal assault. Oh, the A group finished with a 21.9 average not a super fast pace for them. Looks like KCBC is the ride of choice for most with an 8:00am roll-out.
My weight has been rocketing up the chart since the start of August, coinciding with less riding and more eating. Deciding it was too early to begin putting on the "Winter "10", I got the snacking under control for now. After a good trail run Monday evening and a ride to Somerset with Flyin Tuna on Tuesday morning, I arrived for the Tuesday evening Canal ride on fumes but obligated to be there to record the events. Damn, it was hot too for a late September ride. The shady area became populated early but by only 34 people at the start of the ride.
Including in the mix was a large contingent of A's but no Da Boss. Instead, the young guns were out, 2 Jenis, Billy C and friend on left and the guy in white in the middle. Also there were Mark C, Steve O, Poobah, Dennis, Jeff S, Tri Andrew, Claude...total of 16 A's.
Dean Wormer (Mitch) handed out the maps and instructions, here with Pepe Le Pew.
Arriving late was Amanda. She'd be perfect as a ride leader for next year but alas, a ride leader can not arrive at 5:59 and still get the job done. We hit Waterloo, passing the church on the right and heading up the ramp prior to the "S" curve. The front appeared disorganized at first but suddenly, the group went to single file and we tore through the curve and up the long stretch toward Lithopolis. Someone was setting a remorseless pace at the front and in time, a sizable gap opened in front of Jeff S, with Dennis, Andrew, Mark C and me behind. Knowing Jeff to be among the wisest of the wise men of the peloton, I did not panic and assumed he had a plan. Mark C, not sharing my faith, leaped around us and reattached to the group. After a mile or two, we arrived at the stop sign in Lithopolis and there was the group. That Jeff just knew, some how, the group would be held up and so did not want to needlessly waste energy. Reformed, we all worked our way through the town and out Elder, pausing at #674. Cars were approaching from the right but all got across except Dennis. Someone yelled "Hold up" and I yelled the usual, "Neutral Zone" but tonight, the beast was hungry and it wasn't stopping for anything.
The beast roared down Elder and up the longish ramp to turn right on Winchester. I glanced back and saw the forlorn figure of Dennis and so dropped off the back to give him someone with whom to ride (OK, it's possible the decision was made for me too with the scintillating pace). I skipped the turn onto Winchester, intending to get back on the route when it emerged onto Lancaster Road off Richardson. We turned left on Walnut Creek Pike and eventually, the group approached, a little smaller but damn, there was Poobah still hanging on. Must have attached his bike to someone with a bungee cord! Wow, the group was moving fast but I timed my jump and latched on, as did Dennis. We motored along but I noticed Dennis was drifting off again and so....I dropped off too (OK, it's possible I had no other option). Another short cut at St. Paul put us back on the route on Goodman but from there, never saw the group out on the road again. Fairly uneventful balance of the ride and arrived in the parking lot with only 25 of the possible 30 miles prescribed by the map. Mark C, Steve, O, 2 Jeni's, Billy C and friend and one other came in with a 23.1mph average.
This image is being floated around the internet, purportedly to be me, sitting in a sheriff's cruiser. This loser does somewhat resemble me but this is not me and if it were me, it would not be of me in the back of a cruiser. Clever Photoshopping or something.
The Characters of our Rides
"The Others" a furtive, shadowy group of cyclists with only Ted Meisky as the publically known figure and official representative. The Others (quantity comprising the group not known) ride COP Saturday rides on Sundays, Tuesday rides on Wednesdays, Thursday rides on Fridays, have developed unique language for communicating with each other during their rides, ride in unison as a group, each at exactly the same cadence and power output. They are a machine. Getting an image of UFOs is easier then one of these guys.
Pastor Mark or Mark Clingan. Notorious stop sign jumper who needs every possible edge to maintain contact with the A group. Some say he has poor taste in cycling jerseys but lime green with one's name on the sleeve is not the worst I've seen. A great guy to have on an off trail hike.
Dentist Brad in the middle or Brad Blair. Known to do emergency tooth extraction if needed during rest stops. Franz on the right and Amy on the left.
Tri-Andrew who leads a COP roving ride and offers drinks at the start. Participates in big time tri events including Lake Placid. Typically rides our rides, takes a run afterwards and jumps into a local creek for a few laps. Also wears a Manziere to support enormous pecs.
Muscle Dude. Rides out of New Albany on Thursdays. Probably lifts weights the other days. Don't know much about him but very strong A cyclist.
Recumbent Dude or Nathan. Conflicted cyclist who can't decide between the recumbent style bike, favored by old people or a real upright bike favored by real cyclists. His average speed drops precipitously when riding the upright. Also has designs on becoming a world class tri-athlete but first pass the level of average local tri-athlete.
Tri Mike, who sometimes rides with the New Albany group on Thursdays.
Sarge or Donna B. Long time ride leader for the Tuesday Canal rides but she relinguished that title in 2010. Known for maintaining military discipline in the parking lot and not hesitant to ban a rider if the unlucky person got on her bad side. I fear her still.
Crazy George or Retro George. The retro came from a period when he rode a bike with no tape on the handle bar. The crazy came from....well....if you spent any time around the guy you would understand. His favorite quote is, "I can't believe you're still with me" or "Are you still here". Unfortunately, these are the only two lines in his quiver so he says them, at least to me, multiple times throughout a ride. One of the areas most entertaining characters for sure. Not sure of his age and not sure he knows either but mid to late 60's and still an "A" rider.
SuperDave, sometimes just SupeDave and on occasion, "Alphabet" but rarely called by his real name, Dave K. Here, a season of hard riding and ramping up incrementally each week in fitness has shed the marsupial pouch he grows in the off season and shows off proudly in the spring. Originally earned his nickname by never having to stand and climb in the hills, remaining seated and also for the monster pulls, but that was a long, long time ago.
Winner of the "Best Dressed Award" for 2009, Dennis, aka, Style Queen, wrapped up the award for 2010 already. I mean really, who else would be confident enough to wear a powder blue top with sky blue bottoms while riding a flowered Colnago...and this is one of his more muted outfits. Dude should be working the runways of New York and the fashion district of Paris. Maintains he is straight but.......
Tall Dude, his mother calls him Donn, may not look that much taller than those around him here until you learn they were sitting on chairs while he was sitting on the floor. Secretly wishes to be an elite climber or at least to hammer the top B cyclists. One of the founding members of the new Cyclist Connection club rider team.
Margarita Rick or Rick Holt. Once a strong cyclist, Rick was seduced by the "arts" crowd and became a well known actor, playwright, stage hand, key grip & gaffer in many local plays. Rumored to be heading to Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming a porn star. Nickname was from appearing on stage on Friday nights, heading to the bar to circulate with actresses and in the wee morning hours, sleeping on park benches waiting for the Saturday morning ride to start.
Flying Tuna, also known as "Flyin Tuna", "Flyin" or just "Tuna". Cindy B got her name during a ride several years ago. Many people thought a better nick name would be associated with her favorite activity, eating. The speed with which food is delivered between plate and mouth has been compared to a Cobra strike. But here is the real story: She and hubby Rod are frequent watchers of the Discovery Channel. She told me their favorite activity, prior to watching several hours of Discovery Channel each night, is to treat themselves to grilled cheese sandwiches and milk before settling in for viewing. Anyway, during a ride, she was telling me about having watched a program about fishes of the sea and which fish are the largest, smallest, most predatory, favorites of fishermen, etc.. Cindy noted the Tuna was one of the speediest of the salt water variety and about then, we crested a hill and began coasting down, picking up speed when she blurted, "Look at me, I'm a flying tuna!" Why yes Cindy, you are.
THE Grand Poobah, sometimes known as Todd Lee. So named because of his stature and time spent serving the pelotons of Tuesday Canal, Thursday New Albany, Saturday Roving Rides, etc... but also for his long and not very distinguished record of racing. One of the co-founders of Savage Hill racing team and former Cat 3 racer, his skills began to erode at an early age and he is now but a shell of his former self. OK, seriously, the first time I came out for a COP ride, the Wednesday Canal ride in 1998, Todd went out of his way to help me feel comfortable, a gesture I never forgot. Time spent attending races with the Kenda Pro Cycling Team as the team's masseuse have prevented Poobah from dominating us but he swears he is going to hit the gym this winter and come back and kick butt in Spring, 2011. We shall see. Time may be better spent refining his driving skill so he can hone his motor pacing skill.
Craig Butler is the person I refer to as Da Boss (on the right). He takes on all comers, week after week and to my knowledge, no one in the last couple of years has been able to keep up with him throughout any route that has some hills, while riding side-by-side with him. A couple of guys can draft and keep up on flattish routes but a hilly one....forget about it (I should add he frequently runs 5-8 miles prior to the Tuesday Canal rides). Coming in second at Mountain Mama and second at Cheat Mountain Challenge adds to his bonifides. Those in the know say he is equivalent to a Cat 2 racer and many wonder why he does not take his act to the racing scene. In addition to cycling, Da Boss competes in half and full marathons as well as the occasional 50 mile trail run event. Probably central Ohio's top endurance athlete. Probably what most people like about him is he is humble while dishing out beat downs week after week. When he gets on my bad side, you will sometimes see him referred to as "Da Employee" or "Da Janitor".
Farmer Mike, at 67+/- years old, Mike Dietlan can hang with almost anyone on a bike and why not? After selling vast areas of land around Alexandria, this former Agri-King has more free time on his hands than Bill Gates. Dude rides a road or mountain bike every day. While his road accomplishments are few, it is in mountain bike racing that he excels, winning virtually every 60+ division and finishing high in the 50+ age division. Farmer Mike especially likes competing in the "Mohican 100" a grueling mountain bike race.
Few will recognize this former fatty but this is Group Killer or Jamie Roberts. Unfortunately, he is taking a sabbatical from riding to focus on running and we are all poorer because of it. If you want to know what he looks like after losing 100 pounds, see the image above of Craig Butler. That's Jamie on the left. As Jamie began losing weight, the ease with which we dropped him from the group rides became harder, then more harder then could not drop him then could not stay up with him. It was remarkable to see what losing 100 pounds can do to one's speed on a bike. On 2009 Thursday New Albany rides, he would ride away from the A group and thus earned the nickname of Group Killer. Then he quit cycling and came back in 2010 but did not have the same cycling form and thus could only ride with the A group but also sometimes getting dropped and so you'll find him referred to as "Group Molester", "Group Bruiser" or just plain "Groupie" in past ride reports. Will we see him on a bike again???
Kevin Hollingshead, once known as "Polish Pony" for no particular reason has recently fallen in to a more suitable nickname, "Pepe Le Pew" or just "Pepe" for short. Amanda O got this started by commenting that Kevin smelled good, EVEN AFTER CENTURY RIDES IN AUGUST! It was also learned that Kevin collects empty bottles of cologne and keeps them on shelves in his home. He says his favorite is a 1999 bottle of Chanel #5 and a 1997 bottle of Acqua Velvet. Frequently, he can be heard humming the tune, "Acqua Velvet Man" from the old commercial.
Steve Oxley on the right, also known as Steve Oxley. I can't come up with any thing remotely clever for a nickname so maybe someone can help.
The Big Diesel, aka Jeff Schluep, aka Schluepenator, aka Calfman can take enormous pulls and sizable frame makes a good shield behind which to draft. Rare spices of rhino may have larger calve muscles but nothing walking on two legs can match the pianos he carries around. Looks older than he really is, I think. Scored big at the 2010 Assault on Mt. Mitchell tour in NC by riding away from Steve O and placing first among cyclists from central Ohio who also drive a blue van and also have grey hair. Long time and distinguised ride leader of Thursday New Albany ride. Likes to keep things simple for us with two basic routes, one clickwise the other counterclockwise.
Pugilist Mark or, just Mark Rossi to his friends. Good guy to have in your group if attacked by drunk motorist, as happened a couple of years ago to our group. He and wife Karen frequently ride the tandem and don't seem to mind me drafting during the early season flat rides. Unfortunately, when hilly routes start popping up on the schedule, they aren't so valuable but good people nonetheless.
The Plan, as of Friday Night: Get up early and drive to Circleville for Tour of Hocking Hills, departing parking lot at 8:00am, ride 50 miles and arrive back at car by 11:00am, drive home and be seated for Buckeye kick-off by noon, watch mighty Bucks destroy Bobcats until 3:00pm, drive to Bowling Green for father/daughter event, arriving at 5:00pm, attend festivities and leave BG by 9:00pm, arriving home by 11:30pn to watch end of Iowa/Arizona game. Get up following morning and ride out of Canal at 8:00am.
The Reality: Drive to Circleville and get picked up for speeding, going 98 in 25mph school zone. I argued school was not in session and give me the senior citizen consideration. Sheriff not amused and issues ticket. I thought that was it but my speed had crossed a threshold and I was forced into back of cruiser and taken to county jail, in a state of shock. Other than a speeding ticket or two, this was my worst offense ever but no sympathy. I was put in......
......holding cell and waited for judge. After a few hours, I was escorted into court room and told I would spend the night. I was scared, to be frank. Curiously, they allowed me to keep my small digital camera and so I took a few images. Soon, the night shaft came on and I met my night-time jailer, who seemed like a fine fellow.....
.......OK, this is not really him but he looked a lot like him. I met my cell mate who.......
......needed a dental visit or two. OK, this is not really him but he looked a lot like this guy and I thought he looked like Dracula. He seemed like a good guy until he sat across from me and said......
......I became a little more nervous for obvious reasons. Several movie scenes flashed through my mind and I spent a sleepless night but survived and was released the following morning. I was tired and upset I had missed both the Saturday and Sunday rides. Now, I have a question, Did any of you actually believe this story? In fact, I rode around Granville Saturday morning, did the Bowling Green thing and could not get up for the Sunday Canal ride so I have no ride report to share. Sorry about that.
A Wet but Ridable Thursday
Radar indicated a strong storm cell would skirt to the north and another to the south and by 6:00pm, it would be good to ride. So, I drove to New Albany and at 5:15, there was the Jeff S, ride leader extraordinaire. I hope that next year, our new crew of ride leaders for Canal will be half as good as Jeff. Yes, he takes a lot of hits for his routes not being hilly enough, not long enough, too predictable, too little variety but damn it, he's our ride leader and we love him for it! The rain was coming down hard but the weather alert was to lift at 5:15 so things looking good.
Then, around 5:30, Jeff emerges from his van. Referencing his spiffy new hand held device with weather in HD, it was clear the rain had moved to the east. I however, was not convinced and remained out of cycling uniform, in causal clothing. A shower sent me back into the car and that sealed my decision. Jeff was undeterred and continued to prepare. Meantime, Cameron Wertheimer had arrived and he to got ready to ride. Then, another brief shower and.....
......Those two, with another, headed out. I wished them well but...
.....driving back east, there was more rain and a rainbow or two. Good night not to ride and those that stayed away got it right.
↑↑↑↑↑THIS ↑↑↑↑↑ IS COMING!!!!!! So………..
.....don't allow a little rain to keep you away and besides, the forecast is improving, wind won't be as high as forecast, let's ride and if needed, try my trick for riding in the rain..................
.........I soak myself with appropriate solvents and light the match. The heat evaporates the rain before touching me.
Slobberknocker in Canal
The only thing wrong with an evening like Tuesday's is the daylight runs out too fast. Large crowd of, according to Recumbent Dude, 54 in the parking lot for an interestingingly twisty, rolling route out east and back. As we shade dwellers passed the time prior to the start of the ride.......
......another parking lot fact came to light. Those who park in the upper lot, by the bank, tend to be the strongest cyclists while those who park in the lower lot, tend to be weaker. Not always the case but on average, the upper lot is for the elete level cyclist.
In addition to the large overall crowd, there were more strong Thursday night New Albany cyclists joining in our fun. Apparently, they have been oblivious to the joys of the Tuesday Canal routes and intensity. Too bad, so late in the season, we can not show them just how different Canal rides are from New Albany rides. Anyway, making his first appearance, I think, is Marty and with him was Dave Chesrown (center right). Also in the A group were many of the usual suspects like Da Boss, Dennis, Grand Poobah, Steve,O, Mark C, Jeff S, Todd Mullens, Logan the phenom, Ted M (almost recovered), 2 Jeni's, Mitch O, Claude, couple of new guys and because the route was thought to be flat, it pulled a few sandbaggers who normally ride with the A-/B+ group like Kevin H., Ryan, Recumbent Dude, John, etc..
Interest in filling out the ride leader team for next year is strong. Todd was upset because he was not asked to provide his considerable expertise and experience so, after checking with the dean of the team, Mitch, I told Todd he could assume the role of Technical Advisor. In this capacity, he will show newbie's how to function in a pace line, how to gutter the people behind you, how to draft and avoid taking a pull even on the June/July 50 mile routes, how to spit into a cross wind so it falls on the person behind you and the advanced course will show how to motor pace dropped riders and short cutting expertise.
Sadly, I have to address a betrayal of such enormity that I am stunned and saddened to report it. As long-time readers of this silly blog know, I have been plagued by banana peel deposits on and in my car. I have steadfastly maintained Steve O was the culprit because, I find the peel and I see Steve munching on a banana...I mean, what better evidence is there? Well, while I was using the rest room in Shades, one of my loyal friends who always has my back, took this image. YES!!!!!!, although grainy, it is DENNIS!!!!! The sender of the image, who wishes to remain anonymous, confirmed who and what Dennis was doing. A sad, sad day.
We headed across the bridge that spans #33 at a fairly high pace and as the lead group turned right, I was surprised to see, with so many cyclists in the group, it seemed I was 1/4 mile back from the front. Normally that is good for a super drafter like me but I knew the accordion effect would be a killer and as we cruised past the gas station toward the stop sign, I coasted on the inside to slot in the front 1/3 once things ramped up after the turn....except...after stopping I could not get my foot clipped in. Mitch had an encouraging word for me as he went by, "Damn it Mark!" I clipped in and sprinted to catch on, doing so at the turn by Kingys onto Basil Western. However, like a cat having 9 lives, my legs have limited sprint lives and I had just used one. Drafting out to the stop at Pickerington, I recovered a little and noted we already had dropped a couple of people. We continued on, reaching Carroll Northern where we turned right.
I could see Da Boss and a couple of the other stronger A's, taking turns pummeling us at the front with hard pulls. Fate intervened about the time I was scheduling my drop from the group, Da Boss and others missed the turn onto Bish and the front was renewed with "slower" A's. I enjoyed the rolling route out Bish but eventually, the rollers were taking their toll, some more were dropped and oh yeah, Da Boss, Marty & others reinserted themselves in front. We turned left on Bader and right on Leonard. Some where in there, a gap the size of an airport runway (length not width) opened in front of Poobah and then another in front of Jeff S with Kevin, Dennis and I unable or unwilling to try to close. We rode hard but just couldn't close with the tail of the main peloton and with that, I sat up and said, "Boys, that's it. It was a good workout." So, at mile 14 and with a 22.3 average, it was over except, Jeff S refused to give up and kept going but our group coalesced around Kevin, Claude, Dennis and me. We got onto Carroll-Eastern but turned left instead of right at Election House. We stopped to check a map and someone noticed a group making the correct turn so Kevin and Dennis took off. Claude yelled, "Wait for me" but Kevin, surrounded by a thick cloud of Chanel #5 cologne, otherwise known as the "Dome of Silence" must have missed that. I soft pedaled, waiting for Claude and Recumbent Dude came by. Soon, he and Claude worked together (I provided advice from the rear) and caught Kevin, Dennis, Mitch, Ryan and a couple of strangers at #33. We rode in together with some nice finish climbing on Amanda Northern and Slough, 30 miles and a 20.8 average. The lead group had a 22.5 average.
Ride Leader for Canal Update
Mitch O, the remaining ride leader of the original group of 4 and now "dean" of ride leaders with tenure, put me in charge of recruiting new ride leaders. Naturally, I volunteered as a RL, thinking that my many years of showing up for rides, taking maps and complain about the routes should be replaced with at least one season of giving of maps, listening to Grand Poobah provide constructive criticism of the routes and bark out instructions about which direction we can leave the parking lot. I will try not to let the power go to my head but I intend to set a record for cyclist suspensions. I'm also talking to Mitch about setting up a system of fines, the end result of which is to enrich both of us but more on that later.
Anyway, the first person I approached was Kevin Hollingshead. Kevin, I thought, was uniquely qualified because....well....he's the strongest cyclist of Polish descent at the Tuesday rides.....Amanda thinks he smells good....and he was the first person I ran into on Saturday. Kevin was enthusiastic with his strong agreement to become ride leader #3. Then on Sunday, I found myself riding along side Steve Oxley and put the strong arm on him and he too readily agreed to be ride leader #4. Although Mitch is the dean of our group, because I have served in the position of ride leader a couple of days longer than Kevin and Steve, they will be subservient to me. I will refer to them as Vassal #1 and Vassal #2 and will enjoy lording over them next year.
Things change and perhaps by the time next season rolls around, one of us will be forced to withdraw our names so here is what being a Tuesday ride leader is all about. There already exists a database of rides from which to choose the route, based on amount of daylight and riding conditions. In other words, the ride leader does not have to create routes, just pull a map and make a few copies at work when the boss isn't looking. No big deal. My approach will be a little different. I will call Todd Lee (Grand Poobah) each Tuesday morning and ask him what he wants to do. Whatever route he wants to ride, that's the map I select. Makes life in the parking lot much easier. The RL shows up with sign up sheets by 5:30pm, throws open the hatch or trunk of his/her vehicle and people come over and sign up. No biggie. About 5 minutes before the start of the ride, you shout or scream, "Listen up!" and you then tell people to be careful out there let anyone who wants to make an announcement, make an announcement. Lastly, you perform these duties only once every 4 weeks. Probably, we'll get together once this fall or late winter and map out a couple of new routes. Keep this in mind and be ready to answer the call if we need to fill another RL slot before next season. If being a Tuesday RL entails anything more than the above, I will update later.
Geez, this remodeling project is cutting too far into my free time so I am forced to only hit the highlights of Saturday's ride. Last night I pulled drywall from a wall and sanded and applied poly to 15 shelves. Without a doubt, the highlight for our group of Kevin H, Jeremy, Mitch, Flyin Tuna, Peggster, Butch, Tri-Andrew, Dennis, Jeff S, was......
.....Larry P dropping in to join us. To put this in proper perspective, this is like Mickey Mantle dropping in to play with your sandlot baseball team, Arnold Palmer joining your Sunday morning group or Dick Butkus asking to play with your touch football team. It gave tremendous cache to our group as we exited the parking lot. Of course, having someone of Larry's stature join your group is a magnet for others and so John Sada, Rich Lewis, Billy C and Marty also slotted in.
The beginning of the route was, in a word, confusing. Any route that attempts to hit covered bridges is going to be contrived and that's ok but the start through Canal Winchester was too much for what otherwise is a great route with some good climbing. Sada and gang hit the pace kind of hard from Canal to Lithopolis so not everyone was with us when we missed a turn and ended up torching down Cedar Hill toward Amanda, off route but no one cared since we knew the route would be reacquired in Amanda. Rich and Marty turned the screws and Larry, Dennis, Andrew and I grimly hung on. We reached Amanda Northern road just a couple of miles north of Amanda and we dropped off to hit the corn fields, if you know what I mean. Andrew stayed with the group and we never saw them again, other than Rich and Billy who, upon reaching Amanda, turned around and headed back, with other things to do.
Well, that's about it, Dennis, Larry and I departed Amanda and rode together until I pulled a very sneaky short cut move that reduced my miles to 60, while they did the official 70 mile route. Not sure who did the full 100. As I said, good route. Maybe the road markings should be placed prior to the turns rather than in the turns and maybe the "B" road marking symbol should have a more prominent directional line extending from it but it's nice to have a marked route.
The glamorous Kenda Janet, gliding through the parking lot, of course very fashionably late, dressed again in an unusual combination of avant-garde clothing. We missed Janet and Paul at the start as we rolled out and they were still tirelessly working on mechanical issues and getting dressed.
Good heavens! That Kevin Hollingshead, the strongest cyclist of Polish descent, dropped into the Covered Bridge ride reeking of Hai Karate colonge. Well, we all like him a lot despite the pungent odor of his favorite colonge.
No, not from the peloton but by a right hook to the kidney. Flyin Tuna, emboldened by Todd Lee's attack on me finally had enough of my crap. It all started innocently enough when I asked, after noticing a small red mark on her chin, if that was from a razor while she was trying to shave. From there it went to me calling her the Bearded Lady from the circus. She lept from her bike and nailed me. I'm looking for a body guard.
Heck of a night for a bike ride with no humidity, a slight breeze from the northwest, brilliant sunshine and a sad realization that with the onset of fall-like weather, our evening bike rides will end soon (what the heck will I do then?). Abercrombie & Fitch had their annual bike ride event this evening so it may have siphoned off a few but still, I counted 49 people, including a strong cast of A's, including Colnago Ron, shown here with that suddenly popular Mountain Dew jersey. Apparently, a group of 10 wore these during Pelotonia, delivered to them the night before the event by a local soft drink distributor.
Joining Ron were Terry, Mick, Tim Tyler, Muscle Dude, Claude, Jeff S, Steve O up from Canal to try his luck again but this time on the road bike, one of the stronger Walker dudes and several others. So strong was the group, it intimidated me into sticking with the B group, as did Dennis and Kevin H, also up from Canal. Also in the B group was the resurgent Amanda, Tri Mike, Dan, Brain Damaged Gary, Flyin Tuna, Recumbent Dude, etc...
Jeff came up with a good route of 33 miles with a slightly shorter option of 31. The A group departed of 15-16, then our B group of around 10-12 and we cruised out ood 161, making a left at Kitzmiller where I slotted in beside Kevin H, and had to work too hard to stay up so at the turn onto Jug, I slid back. At the Beech Road intersection, the police had created a temporary block to allow the A&F riders to pass and...hey, there were the A's stacked up. If I had to ride hard I may as well do it with them so I joined and off we went. They hit it hard out to 310 where a left and quick right continued the route and also where the racer types punched it hard out of the turn and I was gone, to drift back to the funner bunch of B's We wound up in Alexandria with a 22.3 average and there was Steve O waiting. He had taken a pull on a down hill stretch and when he pulled out, someone used it as an opportunity to attack and Steve missed the group's tail. Dennis explained to Steve the proper protocol of not tearing apart the B group with an A pace and so, Steve promptly violated the spirit of the law by attacking on Mounts.
I did not react to the move becase I knew Steve did not know the route and would be forced to wait at the next intersection so why waste the energy. Kevin, still young and inexperienced, leaped to Steve's wheel. The rest of us, absent Tuna and Recumbent Dude who short cutted the route, were content to pedal along but on a down hill stretch, Tri Mike tucked and took advantage of the aero position to zoom away. This was too much for Dennis and so he jumped with me, of course, drafting and we eventually passed Mike and soon caught Steve and Kevin. We finally reached Hardscrabble with people strung out a little but regrouped on the way to Northridge and then across to Concorde. Steve kept asking me the road names and I suspected he had memorized part of the route and when I confirmed we were now on Concorde, at the first uphill ramp he attacked but I covered, as did everyone and Steve was introduced to the hard fact of B riding, on a flattish route, they can draft anyone. Attack after attack was covered and Steve finally packed it in with Kevin taking a few pulls and all of us noting the fragrant scent of Kevin's f
French perfume, which he splashes on vigorously prior to each ride.
We reached Caswell and Dennis announced, due to the blind corners, narrow road and crummy road conditions, would be a neutral zone. Half way down, Dan violated the neutral call and took off. We are debating what the fine amount will be for this violation but he better bring a fat wallet next week.
We arrived back with a 21 average while Mick and the speedsters had a 23 average. After the ride, we engaged in the usual post ride banter and discussed what our plans would be for Saturday.
Tuesday afternoon. John Sada called me to ask if Craig Butler would be at the Canal ride. This was not my week to keep track of "Da Janitor" (he insulted me again tonight so I must demote him, again) so I did not know but I shot Craig an email and told him some of the guys with whom he had rode during Blue Jay wanted another shot at him. Craig did not reply because he was running an 8 mile route, prior to the Canal ride....figures.
Ted M on the right, Tall Dude (Donn) on the left. Ted fell a couple of weeks ago, separating a shoulder and bruising ribs so he is at 1/2 pace right now. Tall Dude went over his handle bars a few weeks ago but escaped major injury. Nevertheless, he has not been riding much because his normal riding buddies either don't like to ride in the heat (Roy) or were involved in a car accident (Ross' car was T-boned). Too bad.
Alright, now the bad news on top of the bad news I received this weekend. Todd seemed friendly toward me as we chatted for a couple of minutes. I turned to grab something from my car trunk when suddenly...bam! Grand Poobah sucker punched me from behind. I had heard he was none too happy about things I have been saying both on the blog and to others but come on, whacking me from behind??? I was seeing stars and slumped to the asphalt. Poobah began viciously kicking me and I curled into the fetal position, settling in for a sustained beating. Anyone who has ridden with Poobah can probably guess what happened next, yep, his heart rate quickly went into the red zone and he short cutted the beating. Whew. I was humiliated but what could I do...slink away and not show my face around until next year or take the beating like a man and ride? I rode despite what I was sure were cracked ribs. I noted no one leapt to my defense but folks did have time to snap images
Small turnout with spotty green blobs showing up on radar. Butch estimated we had an hour to ride before the rain would arrive. Peggster made the shocking announcement that she was resigning her position as one of the 4 ride leaders. Peggster seems stressed out and I suspect her new class of students may be a handful for this normally mild mannered and pleasant lady. Craig Clark also must resign so there are two openings for Canal ride leaders next year. I said I would fill one spot but I did that just to get a cheer from the crowd (I'm kidding Peggster). However, we do need someone else to join Mitch, Donna and me so step up and volunteer.
We headed out on a flatish route and just as we were leaving, John Sada and John gorilla joined us, having arrived late. Fairly hard pace out Waterloo but not quite as intense as last week. In our group of 12 were Da Janitor, Steve O, Tim Tyler, Mark C, Logan the Phenom, Poobah, Jeff S, Sada, Gorilla, Tri Andrew, Claude, me and maybe another. We cruised through Lithopolis and got over onto Winchester. The wind was very strong out of the southwest with gusts in the mid 30's and with 90 degree temp, not the ideal riding conditions. A long portion of Winchester was recently chipped and sealed, creating kind of a narrow path between the berm on the right and a ridge of loose stone on the left. It was kind of unnerving to have to keep the bike between the two while at the same time keep my front wheel within a couple of inches of the wheel in front of me. I was trapped behind John G and Craig, slotted in the 3rd spot. These two took a couple of long pulls and when Craig pulled out, leaving the front to me I, without exactly saying so, said, "Thank you very much but no thanks." and drifted to the back. Jeff S had dropped out early because his riding has been cut back drastically the last month but the Little Diesel will be back soon. I think Andrew dropped out too.
We kept going for a long time out Winchester until turning left on Fairfield Royalton. The next few miles all the way out to Cedar Hill were a combination of many rollers that had a debilitating effect and at mile 17, Poobah dropped and soon thereafter, John S dropped too. As we slowed to turn right on Cedar Hill, I joked to Steve that it had been fun but.... suddenly, someone punched it out of the corner up the hill and I got gapped and quickly folded like a cheap suit. So, at mile 19, I was done with a 21.1 average. I stayed on the route for a little while but glancing back toward Canal, noticed several areas of showers in the distance. I turned around and soon was enveloped in light rain. Within about a mile of Lithopolis, it began pouring and I skidded to a stop under a large pine that gave decent cover. The wind began to howl with severe gusts and my shelter was soon engulfed in rain coming at me sideways. Thoroughly soaked and becoming chilled, I remounted the bike and plodded on but within a mile, the rain stopped and the sun kind of came out through a narrow slit of clouds producing a fabulous mix of orange and purple.
I arrived in the parking lot and many others too were soaked. Kind of a dreary scene but finished with around 30 miles and an average of 19.7. Meanwhile, a core group of Craig, John G, Steve O, Mark C and Luke held together to the end and rode through the severe winds to finish with 37 miles and a 22mph average.
By dusk, John S was still a not back and John G, who rode down with Sada, was patiently waiting. I don't think either John had time to pick up a map so hope John S arrived back ok.
Dark Days on a Sunny Weekend
I arrived at the start of the Millersport Corn Festival ride about as unmotivated as I can be. Brought a contractor in to replace the kitchen floor but after talking to my wife for 15 minutes the project mushroomed into tearing out a wall, remodeling the kitchen, etc.. and with the 3-day weekend, he left me a string of projects to complete before he came back on Tuesday (I enjoy this type of activity). Couple this with strong winds out of the west and well... this ride had short cut written all over it. Here, Mark C is resting after he and Steve O rode from Canal and added 28 miles before the official ride start. Overall, probably 55 at the start.
Now the bad news. September 1 was the end of my probationary period leading up to membership status in the renowned Kenda team. However, Todd took me aside to let me know the Kendaites had gotten together for their quarterly meeting. All the Kendas were present including Janet, Dave, Rick, Paul, Farmer Mike, Stefano and of course, Grand Poobah. After taking care of old and new business, the final item on the agenda was a membership vote for me. Poobah said it was unanimous against me, with Kenda Janet abstaining (gee, thanks). I was stunned and asked why, arguing 1) The Kendas like to short cut and so do I, 2) The Kendas frequently forget things before a ride, as do I, 3) The Kendas are way past their prime, just like me, 4) The Kenda males wear women's cycling gear and I have a women's large jersey or two that I wear, 5) The Kendas are urbane, sophisticated and classy and...uh oh.... It is said Kenda Dave can taste the difference between a 1954 and 1955 Château Laffite Rothschild while I can't even pronounce the name...heck...I have a hard time differentiating between wine and beer. Todd also said several insubordinate acts did not help my cause such as not always applying chamois butter when ordered. Well, that's that.
We left the parking lot with Mark C, Steve O, Dan Farley, Jimmy, Kendas Paul & Janet, Poobah and the young phenom, Logan. I thought it odd that Logan never took a pull but Poobah let me know he was saving Logan for the head wind on the way back. We reached the turn off and I selected the 50 mile option under a cacophony of derision from the others who took the 75 mile option. Gosh, the wind was strong and I stopped to look at the map and noted the route would go farther east, making a longer stretch into that wind. I cut west and ended with 28 miles. I know, sad. But hey, I was rested for....
.....the Sunday Canal ride, at which there was a large crowd including Jeff S, Mitch, Peggster, Amanda, Tim F, Eve, Arron (old Sausage Hill guy), and many others, probably 30. Cool start had us debating how many add-ons we should wear when suddenly, I guess to fight the cold, Kendas Janet and Paul dropped to the asphalt parking lot and began break dancing. Here, Paul's feet had been moving so rapidly he lost a sock and had to stop while Janet is performing a complicated move. Hilly route that took us up Slough then out Pickerington where I had to stop to remove a jacket and pack it. This brief stop resulted in me having to ride the rest of the route alone which included Delmont, Stoney Hill, Christmas Rock, MacDonald and eventually Stoutsville where I found everyone waiting. Mitch and Jeff had added to the route and cruised into the lot right after me. After everyone else left, the three of us headed out and with the Little Diesel (Jeff) pulling practically the entire way back, Mitch and I were hard pressed to hang on. Ended up with 64 miles and 3700' of climbing on a beautiful day with little wind.
THE PLAN: Strong tail wind with us in a group ride. Ride 20 minutes with the A group and then 40 minutes back alone and into the head wind and arrive at car by 7:00pm, in front of TV to watch my beloved Buckeyes at 7:30. Smallish group of 37 at the start. Here, Mick brought an intern from work, Paul, who is from Portland. Note the jean shorts and shirt..nothing odd about that......
Marty on the left in red jersey. Although Pelatonia was not a race, there were a few who rode it as one and Marty was the winner on Saturday's ride down. He also rode with Craig Butler and John Gorilla during Blue Jay so I asked him how that went. "Ahh..." I interjected, "Criag's the real deal isn't he?" Marty: "Yes, he is the real deal. John and I hung with him but on the hills he would gap us and wait and then towards the end I dropped back by around 2 minutes. However, I was pleased with how I rode."
Not many could pull off this look but with matching blue cycling gloves, blue shorts and white/blue jersey, the Style King, can.
What the heck? Mick's intern rode in tennis shoes, this funny helmet, jean shorts with Hanes underwear pulled way up over the top of the shorts and on an old Lemond bike. I wondered if Mick had brought out a ringer and dressed him up in a funny way.....probably some Euro racer. The intern headed out with the A group and when I turned at the 20 minute mark, he was still there. Dennis or SuperDave thought he looked exactly like the Russian racer from the movie "American Flyer" Someone jump in the comments section and let me know what happened.
On the ride back I was a little spooked by the news another cyclist was hit by a car last Thursday. There may be someone out there in a car trying to pick us off. I thought I might be caught out like a young Wildebeest on the plains of the Serengeti in Africa with a lion on the prowl. I made it back by 6:45 so could have hung in a little longer with the A group. Sounds like the Millersport Cornfest ride is where everyone is heading on Saturday.
New Ride Acoming
Much more to come in the next few days but for now, there will be a "I've Dominated You All Year Ride", hosted by Da Boss. Of course, the title was not his idea but the idea for a season end fun ride was his idea. The ride may also involve a poker run concept. It is open to everyone. One idea I had was for Craig to wait at the bottom of a couple of tough climbs, ride up with a different group, fall back from feigned exhaustion and allow all of us to feel the glow of having dropped Craig on a climb. This ride is not a joke. We'll make it happen.
Peggy's Loss & Hot Ride
I arrived early to reaclimate myself after missing 2 Tuesdays. No sense putting it off, dive right into the midst of Peggy and Butch and brace myself for insults and general verbal abuse. As I approached the Peggster, I could not help but notice she had dropped some weight so I said, "Wow Peggy, you've lost weight." Peggster's face lit up like a 2000 watt light bulb and she grinned from ear to ear. Finally I discovered the secret to getting on her good side and want to share this secret with everyone.
Logan made the mistake of getting to close to Dennis, Ryan, Kevin and me before the ride. Someone asked why he did not come in first at the state championship. "Because Todd has not taught me how to win yet." he replied. Someone else, who asked that I not identify him but he drives a fuel efficient blue car, blurted, "Todd can't teach what he doesn't know." That was a hoot and we all had a belly aching laugh over that.
Hot night and the shady area became packed. Here Billy C, team mate to his right and Nate from Jenis mix with the plodders. As it turns out, reports from the road were these three were the leaders but made a wrong turn and the balance of the pack did not wait for them. It's a tough crowd.
New guy. Don't know him. Forgot to count but smallish group of maybe 35-40 for a very hilly route. Da Boss (since he sent me a private email and apologized for recent vicious attacks in comments section I have recrowned him) was missing but there was not a wet eye in the house over that absence. We all love and respect the guy but he hurts us with his bike so..... The A group was called out and after a second of hesitation, Dennis and I joined a group of 14 with Ryan, who happens to drive a blue, fuel efficient car, shouting, "See you guys in a couple of miles." Very funny and amazingly accurate too.
The young whippersnapper (Logan), went to the front and rode hard. My goal, a modest one, was to not be the first to drop out. We hit Waterloo and the climb past the church on the right, navigated the "S" curve and began the long climb to Slough. Our group consisted of 2 Walker guys, Poobah, Dennis, Mark C, Steve O, Billy C and friend, Jeni Nate, Claude, Andrew, Logan but not for long. A slight gap opened in front of Mark C and he rose to sprint to cover, as did Steve and then me. On the brink, AT FREAKIN WATERLOO!!! I was draining the reserves when suddenly, Poobah dropped out. Marking the spot on the road where he dropped, I rode 1" farther and packed it in. I could have hung in a little farther but deemed long term prospects, well, in one word, HOPELESS. Poor Dennis was caught behind me and so he too dropped. Whoa, whats' that??? Both Walker guys dropped too. It appeared Poobah turned around and Dennis and I turned onto Slough, overtook the Walker guys and passed them as well. Dennis was pushing the pace and probably did not want to suffer the ignominy of being overtaken by the B group (Kevin H, Ryan (who drives a blue, fuel efficient car), Mark R, Jeremy, et. al.) We could see Andrew just ahead of us but could not close the gap. Also passed Claude going in the opposite direction, having abandoned.
Making a left on Brandt and that hill, a right on Kauseman and that hill (start to see a pattern here?) Lamb out to Crumley...the rest of it is a blur of sweat pouring like rain from a gutter, into my eyes and a blur of orange and yellow as I followed Dennis. We finished with an 18.4 average, which, considering the terraine and Dennis pulling the entire way, not terrible.
Back at the parking lot, Billy C and team mate talk to Todd. Todd had returned to his car, driven the route and finding Billy and friend after they made a wrong turn, attempted to motor pace them back to the group but was unable to do so. I have a friend who drives a dump truck so will get him out there to have in reserve for next week.
Here, Claude appears despondent and Dennis wiping away a tear, emotional after being forced to pull me the entire route. Dude's hand was sore from waving me through so many times but I doggedly stuck to his wheel. Lead group finished with a 21.4 average, good speed for that route of just under 2000' of climbing and 37 miles.