Kayla Starr embraced the concept of the "Women of the Thursday Night New Albany Ride", an annual event for the blog, by lighting up when I explained why I was pointing the camera at her. This year, I added a new category, "Cross Dressers" so now it is "Women & Cross Dressers of the Thursday Night New Albany Ride".
Now for the cross dresser, Grand Poobah. Last year he admitted to wearing women's clothing under his cycling gear so I thought I should be kind and include him in tonight's line-up.
Our ride leader, Rick Miller, was at the parking lot more than one hour prior to the "wheel's up" 6:00pm start time. He was unfairly criticized for not having a back-up ride leader last week in his absence but he had arranged for a back-up. Just some miscommunication between he and the back-up ride leader.
Miller's van was parked to provide the only shade in the parking lot on this welcome and surprising warm evening with temps in the mid 80's and strong winds out of the southwest gusting to 25mph. I spent most of my time parked in the shade, popping out now and then to surprise a woman with a photo request. Yes, I feel creepy doing this but journalistic obligations require me to do so, one time.
Actually, the crowd was so late arriving that I missed several good image opportunities but caught Maya out on Burg where we watched as Mick recovered his senses from crashing. More on that later.
Karen Rossi, who provides the power in the Mark/Karen tandem.
I think a first time participant at the New Albany ride and after this, probably we'll never see her again. Honest, I'm harmless.
Another who rises to the challenge of appearing to be happy about this, impressive since this was after the long, hot ride.
Julia Hilty, advising Grand Poobah on his diet so he can rid himself of a health issue that prevents him from getting out there with the A and B groups to lecture us on ride etiquette.
Amanda Orr, better known as Corvair for her unreliable arrivals. I missed so many opportunities because the crowd rolled in, in waves at 5:55 including Peggy Cook, Kym Sada and others so if you don't see yourself, there is always next year. Now, on to the action!
Large crowd of over 60 cyclists with a huge A group comprised of too many to list. Rick addressed the group and recommended that with so many of the roads little more than pot holes linked with patches of level pavement that on some roads we should ride single file. With that, The A+/A group was instructed to ride out and so we followed Jon Morgan out of the parking lot.
Wow, we had a pace car for the first 2 miles. How cool is that except I was so far in the back of the pack it would have had to be a semi for me to notice once we got on the road. In the foreground, the back of Jr Muscle Dude, John Day who pushed his 230 pounds through last weekend's 3 State/3 Mountain Challenge in TN, finishing way up in the top 100. Impressive.
We hung a left on Kitzmiller then a right on Jug and you could feel the cross wind bite in to the peloton but there was enough tail that it wasn't too bad. I clung to the centerline trying to stay in John's considerable draft. We made a left on Clover Valley and I found myself riding alongside Marty Sedluk, who likes to play it safe in the back, covering gaps as needed, rather than mix it up in the churning front. Also, Marty had already ridden 140 miles earlier in the day with 7400' of climbing so he was good to just chill. I hear he is over 5000 miles YTD.
We hung a right on Miller, flew through the rollers, left on Alward, right on Duncan Plains and then, ugh, a left back on to Alward. Soon, we all got popped as a group of 3 separated themselves from us. Starting from the back, I worked through him and her and him and her, nearing the top of the climb I got passed by him and her and him and her. Yes, all that extra weight takes a toll the longer is the climb. What luck! A passing car slowed the peloton and we all regrouped, making a right on Concord. Dang, I was gassed and so at mile 14, dropped out with a 24mpg avg. Reaching Northridge, I could see others who had also dropped and all along the gut busting Stone Quarry I wished someone would pause so we could form a new group. What luck!....
At the corner of Burg and Stone Quarry, Mick, Ron Budzig, Maya, Eric (guy in white Kenda outfit) and Noah (left in image) had stopped but not to regroup. Mick had fallen cutting through the turn of loose asphalt but other than some blood, was good to go. We briefly debated which route to take, continue on the A or slip to the B route and we chose "B". Just as we were shoving off, Dirty Dan came through and I tried to talk him in to joining us but he shouted he needed the miles and stayed on the "A" route.
Our group of 5 hung together all the way back in, finishing with a 21.6 avg and 37 miles. Meantime, out on the road, the A group was blitzing through the A route and unfortunately, Jon Morgan hit a bad patch of road on Jersey Mill and went down. He is ok other than bruises and road rash. 1-2 other guys went down too but I have not heard more. Another fun evening on the bike. On my drive home, as I was going east, I passed.....
.....Dirty Dan....oh wait...she looked so similar on a bike that I accidently pulled her image in but instead, I ran across.....
.....Dirty Dan. I was driving east when I saw Dan trailing Crazy George. Stunned, I turned around, thinking Dan had probably just caught George and was preparing to drill by. I followed for a mile and George was putting a gap into Dan! All that work and travel has caught up to my buddy. I pulled alongside and Dan claimed he had just pulled for several miles, as the gap increased between he and George. It put me in a somber mood.