Well, well, well. Everyone's been asking about him but Da One, Da Only, yes Da Boss showed up for his first Tuesday ride. Training for another marathon in a couple of weeks has kept him off the bike but no worries, he hasn't fallen too far off the beam.
Ty Jordan, the largest, fastest cyclist in the history of the Canal ride. Are there faster cyclists? Yes, they are legion. Are there larger cyclists? Maybe but there are none who are larger and faster. Find yourself behind this guy on the flat or downhill and just enjoy the ride. Marriage and a subsequent change to his diet did in the previous "svelte" form so the current version maybe is a little larger then what he once was.
They were coming out of the wood work. Here, Donn, a.k.a. Tall Dude emerges from a busy spring of soccer games to try to find the pieces of his cycling fitness. Sadly, he has only 300 miles for the year but it won't be long, probably no later than October, that he will regain his fitness and form.
The Rossi's arrive wearing matching jerseys. In the background is Younger Phenom Nick on the left and Mitch on the right. Pre-ride announcements and route description were mercifully brief although Mitch has begun using the term "vectoring" a lot and none of us had a clue what that meant. Still, we were impressed with the depth of his vocabulary as well as his choice of winter weight, calf length, socks to go with shorts and jersey.
Forty of us at the start but when the A's were called out, only 9-10 went including Mark C, Da Boss, Steve O, Nick, Randy Brown, John S, Little Diesel, Ted M and Ryan R. More on them later. Then the B group was called out but I'm not sure how many went, maybe 12-15. I wanted to keep it out of the red and save myself for the Thursday ride where I'll get a better measure of just how much I suck compared to a couple of weeks ago. Slough arrived early on the route and that cut us up a bit and then a right onto Amanda Northern and what came next was an interesting series of hills and rollers with lot of turns, too numerous to call out here. Eventually, this leg crunching route yielded to.....more hills as we topped out on Ridge and rather than turning right on Cedar we kept straight. By now. Keith, TriAndrew and Nathan had worked to get ahead and were by themselves with Mitch, Mark V and I trailing.
We arrived back in the parking lot with a 19mph avg, 43 miles and 2100' of climbing. Now...BREAKING NEWS.......Ryan R has just sent this excellent report from the A group:
Members: Randy B., Craig B., 14yr old Nick, Ted, Lil Diesel, Ryan R, Steve O., Mark C. Miles: 43 Average speed: 20.8mph Over the 1-2 combo of Slough & Amanda Hill, our group of 8 rode away from the remainder of the A's. Randy and Craig took turns pulling us around the 43 mile course. Occasionally, Steve would ride next to Randy, just to mess with him. Steve wouldn't pass, he would just ride next to Randy without saying a word. If Randy dropped back, as any normal person riding in a paceline would do when some idiot insisted on riding along side and shooting goofy looks, Steve would do a 5-second sprint, then put on the brakes and coast back to the 3rd or 4th spot in line. He would repeat this maneuver nearly every time Randy was finishing a (long) pull. I think Steve still has a lot of pent-up aggression from the abuse he used to take from Lawyer Mitch... I guess he feels it is now his turn to be the passive aggressive rider. Aside from surge-master-Steve, our ride was fairly uneventful, with one exception. Steve and Mark like to coast up hills. I was caught by surprise and nearly rear-ended Mark on Royalton. We made the first decent and then about half way up the 2nd, I was quickly approaching Mark and was expecting him to start pedaling at any second, so I didn't adjust my speed accordingly. It was too late when I realized that Mark and Steve were going to see if they could coast all the way to the top of the 2nd hill (slowing to about 10mph) and I was forced to jam my brakes to avoid slamming into Mark's rear wheel. My abrupt braking kicked off a chain reaction of panic braking and swerving behind me (and shouting). I owe those guys an apology. Sorry guys, I really screwed that one up... just thankful everyone stayed up. Craig was impressive as usual. This was his first ride of a distance over 20 miles this year and he seemed to be able to effortlessly cruise along with us, taking more than his share of pulls as well. A very strong and handsome fella managed to stay in the draft the entire route, only sticking his nose in the wind to take a few (2) token pulls. He then shot out of the peleton and put down a monster sprint at the end and blew away any contenders to take the Official Lithopolis Sign Sprint. Nick might just be the best 14yr old rider in the Midwest. He is plenty fast, but also very smooth and easy to ride with in a paceline (unlike myself and surge-master-Steve). He rides as if he has 20 years of experience... well done!