Tym Tyler, preparing for the start of the Big Fat Group Ride, which benefited the Licking County Humane Society. Lot of competition for this ride, the COP ride out of Clear Creek having the unusual start time of 7:15am so I doubt too many showed up for that, Frank Seabody had a tour I think out of Lancaster that drew in Kenda Janet and Mark V, among others, a ride organized by Mark C that passed the large rusty bucket known as Big Muskie and then there was weather radar.....
Who is this and why did he follow me for miles and miles? The driver of the SAG vehicle of course. John Sada brought him, along with 3 hired guns, Marco, a Cat 1/Pro, Scotty Moro from Australia and "Mike". They were to support John, pull when needed and try to escort him around to a first place finish. Early in the ride, glancing back, I saw a vehicle behind us so I instictively motioned for it to pass. It pulled alongside and there was the SAG vehicle, thinking I needed something. Too funny when I realized my mistake. I'm not used to that kind of service.
Gus and Peggy Cook showed up and while talking with John Marten, told me their main motivation for riding was so they would not get excoriated on the blog for quitting. Hah! I am as much a hypocrite as anyone but given my history, I'd never judge anyone for not riding on a rainy day. The only time I ride in the rain is when I am caught out in it, except for today since radar suggested once we got north and east we'd be in the clear.
John Sada in the right and quite unhappy that Marty and Dave C chose not to ride. All his preparations with the SAG and hired guns was in anticipation of a great battle for first place with those guys but as it turned out, Muscle Dude, Gus and Tym provided plenty of competition.
Farmer Mike came out for the start but decided not to ride. Given his schedule, probably a good thing he took the day off. Gus on the left, Kym Sada on the right.
So, 15 of us at the start, with 10 of the usual serious cyclists, each of whom I think I have already listed. Lisa on the left had to work later in the day so bugged out after about 20 miles.
We rolled out into light rain but within a couple of miles, it ended, briefly picked back up later around mile 15 but then stopped for good and at 10:30, the sun poked through and later yet, it was a glorious sunny day with some thin, high clouds. I assumed the hired guns would blast off the front, pulling Tym and others with them but no, it was a true group ride for the first 25 miles into Wilkens Corner, where we ignored the first food stop. Then we hit the hills and I dropped back, eventually emerging into Hanover. Having sophisticated snack needs, I stopped at the market for a Coke and Payday. While sitting in front of the market, Peggy Cook rolled by. Hmmmm, that probably made me in last place for the day but who cares? It's just a tour to ride and enjoy the scenery and route.
I caught up with Peggy at the Flint Ridge good stop, thought briefly about taking the 70 mile cut-off but instead, plunged into the hills of Hell by going south on 668. Arrived in Brownsville and continued south, more Hell hills. Just when I thought all was lost, we made a right on Cooperriders Rd, pass through a covered bridge, made a left on Gower Road, passed through a very cool covered bridge, arrived back on 668 and coarsed through more Hell hills, arriving in Somerset, above.
The balance of the ride is a blur of hills but finished with 95 miles and 6400' of climbing. Mean time, up ahead an hour or two, Tym and Gus arrived at the bike path in Newark, for the final 3 miles back to Granville. Since the path was packed with people, they slowed down and were caught by John and the hired guns so I give the "win" to Tym and Gus. I finished with 6:30 and a very healthy 65 minutes of break time so total ride time was around 5:30. Great route and thanks to Tym for organizing.