You know how flushed and sweaty everyone is at the end of a hard ride, that's kind of how everyone looked at the start of Thursday's ride with a temperature at 96-97 and some humidity in the air too. The parking lot was practically vacant until around 5:40 people began arriving and as I sat in the shade I told Jeff S, "I'll join the first person who suggests we pack it in and head to the Rusty Bucket to drink beer". Alas, no one suggested that, just a bunch of grim faced cyclists looking at a sensibly modest route.
So, extreme heat, at least by Ohio standards, cut into the turnout and the only person who fully embraced the "Pink Out" was the man (or maybe transgender) himself, Dennis. He had the pink tires, pink accented bike, black jersey and shorts with pink accent and attached this Barbie with a pink tu-tu to his bike. What more can or should be said about this guy?
A quick count revealed around 30-35. I heard some rumblings about taking it easy tonight so when Jeff called out the A group, I slipped in, turned the corner and "Oh No!, there was a major pack of wolves I had missed and these guys were not the "takin it easy" types even if the temp had been 150. So, now we were at around 40-45 cyclists and 18 or so in the A group with Marty, Dave C, Chris G, Pete C, Terry, Jon Morgan (back from a nice vaca in the south of France), Doug Lucas, Nate, Dennis, Savage Hill Rick, Doug McConaha, Christian, Rob Rhodes, etc...
We got on to Jug and the pace picked up fairly high, made the jog on Mink and then continued on Jug, cruising into Alexandria at 25mph avg, slowed a bit and exited the village at a measly 24.6. The pace out a newly paved Raccoon Valley rode was reasonable as the climb up Hardscrabble was likely on everyone's mind. I had already planed to bug out at the Hardscrabble turn, again not wanting to find out how hot I could get when I already was boiling. We made the turn, I sat up and so too did Doug M, stating what I had been thinking. We rode up together and found Dennis at the top waiting along with Rick. Meanwhile, a strong effort had been put in and Marty, Doug L, Pete C and Jon M reached the top as a first group and then worked together to stay out front the rest of the way in. I hear Chris G swerved into the berm to avoid a rock and was able to do some cyclocross on the way up.
While Marty & group stayed on the route, which crossed Northridge to Concorde before turning south on Castle to Duncan Plains and in, those behind turned south on Northridge and many followed. Ended with 36 miles and about 1000' of climbing. Lead group finished with an average around 22.5 (my usually trusty source forgot to turn on his computer so he was estimating). Plans for Saturday are mixed. Rolling Thunder ride out of Gambier with a 9:00am start, riding from Granville to catch the RT ride at 7:00 or Mark Clingan is leading a group out of his church on Coonpath at 7:00am.
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