There were 28 of us at the start of a 22 mile route that was this season's final......
....and then there were 29, a late arriving George having just come from the Westerville Bike Shop where he had a new chain put on and bearings in the bottom bracket lubed but still, no new handlebar tape. In fact, as Dennis noted, it's not even a Serrota anymore since some of the letters have worn away, now it's just a "Rota" brand bike. Having not seen George for a long time, he was bombarded with questions and his answers were a mix of bazzare and sensible. He claims he has not been riding because he came out of the off-season at 194 pounds and was not going to group ride until he got to 180, never quite reaching that. Then he said, because he doesn't like to ride alone on the open road, he's been riding a 4 mile loop at a state park to get in shape. Still has the heart problems that flared up during KCBC and even after our ride tonight and hills really cause problems so he's riding all of CFC this weekend....
Jeff, riding a tandem, called out the A's but there were none of the strong A's there, other than Mick so he appeared unhappy to have to schlep with the B group. Of the 29 at the start, 14 headed out with the B group including SuperDave, Dennis, Mick, George, Dan, Kevin H, Mark R, Axel, Recumbent Dude, etc.. We headed out old 161, making a left on Kitzmiller where I was unable to keep up with SupeDave's pace into a strong north wind and dropped off the lead. Dave, making incremental progress throughout the long season, has finally peaked just in time for the last evening ride. Some of us peaked in April, some later in the year.
We made a left at Clover Valley and then a right on Green Chapel. Here, George went to the front and hammered, just like the old days...a long, long sustained pull and with the north wind cutting into our ranks, gaps began to emerge. The first I noticed was in front of Mark R. I noticed it because I was behind Mark R. I somehow leapt around him and slotted in behind Kevin H and Axel just as a gap opened in front of Kevin, he who is working too many hours and not in his normal form. I covered this gap too but started to go into the red zone when a stop sign intervened and I took the opportunity to chastise George for punishing our weak bunch. In so doing, I had to endure the usual onslaught of, "I can't believe you're still here." "How'd you manage to hang on so long." "I was wondering if you would still be with us." I began to realize I had not missed George as much as I originally thought. We made a right on Duncan Plains and a right on Miller. Dennis and Mick put in a pretty good pull through these ramps and by now, our ranks had thinned to about 7 or eight when Colnago Ron joined in having been out for a solo ride while spotting us. The pace slowly picked up out Miller to Beech and in with numerous attacks mixed in.
We returned with a 21.5mph average, had a few laughs, packed our bikes and headed over to eat pizza where Marty and his wife joined us. By the way, Marty thought Rick Miller has a spot open in his van for the ultimate CFC service. For $50, you meet in New Albany, pack your bike in his new van, he drives you to Sugar Grove, provides sag support throughout the ride to Marietta so you can stow excess clothing, have any mechanical taken care of and then at the end of the ride, restow your bike in the van and be driven back to New Albany, on Saturday. I think this is a Saturday only option. Also by the way, SuperDave, Recumbent Dude, Dennis and I are riding out of Canal on Sunday at 9:00am, weather permitting.