An important component to departing the parking lot is knowing you have cleaverly hidden your car keys, as Marty demonstrates. Considering the length of the drive and the difficulty of the route, a surprising good turnout of 13 people.
The 13 would split into an A and B group. That the split occurred even in the parking lot is not an intentional social snub, just everyone gravitating towards the people with whom they knew they'd be spending the next 5-6 hours. The A group was comprised of Marty, Dave C, Jon M, Terry G, Pete C, Steve F while the B group had Mark C, Mike M, Flyin Tuna, Jeff S, Ricky G, Corvair and me. Two who would have certainly joined us, Steve O and Dan R, were riding the "3 State 3 Mountain" tour in TN, doing so in driving rain, temps in the low 50's, low clouds, water cascading off cliff faces, etc... They finished with 83 miles and 6600' of climbing. Unfortunately, the tour was marred by the death of a cyclist who went left of center while descending Lookout Mountain, colliding with a car.
The B group got the jump on the A group out of the parking lot but soon the situation reversed itself, here pulling away. We did not see Marty and the Jets at the first food stop but someone explained, they don't stop to refuel. When their water bottles go dry, they just find a creek for a quick refill and then keep going. If they get hungry, they stop at a fresh roadkill and attack like a pack of wolves. This keeps the stops infrequent and short. Dave Chesrown took one wickedly steep descent a little faster than most of us would dare (64mph) and has this video as proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ta0QJT4JmnQ
Beautiful scenery, here an image sent to me by Corvair. I'm trying to train her to be the official blog photographer so I can concentrate on drafting while riding. We finished with 95 miles and 6000' of climbing, Marty finished with 99 miles and 6300' of climbing with a ride time of 4:58 and total time of 5:33. Note the 35 minutes of time off the bike was skewed by two flats. We took a slightly more leisurely ride time of 5:45 and a total time, I'm not sure but it takes a long time to get some of us off the pavement from in front of the gas stations.
Below, Mike was so zonked that he forgot to take off his helmet.