To summarize, as we lounged around the Utica gas station, Nathan and David SMITH were attempting to blitz the route with no stops, Marty and David were blitzing the route even while stopping because they are them and fast too and several others did a stop and go. Dozens of others just enjoyed the Utica life, chatting with locals, donating to a fez wearing dude or sipping Mountain Dews. Eventually we began to clear out and got on to Blacksnake Road, a left on Cooksey, a right on Bell Church, crossed Martinsburg, right on Purity and upon reaching Pine View, my group turned left while I stayed straight, cruising south to the market at Wilkens Corner. I calculated I'd have to wait about 45 minutes for the first group to arrive but.....
....yowzah, Marty, David and a guy from New Albany out on a solo loop, coasted in. They stayed for 5 minutes and headed out. Maybe 5-10 minutes later, Kevin Swabb, Bob Stoll and Steve (forgot his last name) rolled in followed closely by Nathan. Now, oblivious to the dumb (me), I missed David SMITH streak by without stopping. Kevin, Bob and Steve stopped briefly to refuel while Nathan abandoned his plan, exiting the market with a Mountain Dew, water, ice cream bar and sundry other high calorie items, while taking a seat. My only worry was who would open the van with the coolers if Nathan stayed too long?
Also there was Gary V, who had missed the Pine View turn but did not seem too upset about it. I figured my journalistic duty was finished and shoved off shortly after the threesome had done the same. I took the turn on to Loches, enjoyed the down hill into St. Louisville, passed a few short cutters, hung a right on St Joseph, cursing myself for putting it on the route, plodded up Chatham, said Hi to crazy dude and finally, pulled into the parking lot with 54 miles and 3600' of climbing. Marty and David were long gone and I began receiving emails, text messages, carrier pigeon deliveries and smoke signals, all claiming that Marty and David had been seen riding left of center! This was a serious breach of the rules but I was willing to let it go. Then, some people began making principled complaints that M&D had violated the neutral zone roll out of Granville. I was in a tight spot. I like those guys but I have an obligation to uphold the rules of the event so finally, under tremendous pressure, I gave each of them a 20 minute time penalty.
I walked over to Kevin S and asked, "Which of your group won the Granville sign sprint?" Steve was the answer so I summoned him over and gave him the coveted tiger......but wait.......out of the blue, someone said, "But wait!" "You are about to commit an injustice!" In fact, none other than David freakin SMITH finished ahead of Steve!!!!!!! I turned to David and asked, partially in disbelief, "Is this true?" YES AND DAVID SMITH IS THE WINNER OF THE BENGAL TIGER!!!!!!! How about that look of glee, huh? To be official, I checked Marty and David C's time, 3:31:03, added their 20 minute penalty, making it 3:51:03, looked at David's Garmin which showed, 3:31:02 and WOW!!!! David Smith is the winner of the 3rd Granville Climbing Challenge, HOW BOUT THAT!!!!
As I was sitting in the back of Nathan's van, sipping a Coke, Gary, Axel and Dan rolled in and it was brought to my attention they had left 15 minutes early. Another breach of event rules and on the spot I banned them from the next 5 COP Roving Rides, a move that COP leadership has since endorsed. It felt right to give the middle of the pack award to Dan because he left early and finished in the middle and seemed a worthy winner. He too....
....was over the moon with excitement here but the rock was not fastened to the cedar and when he tilted the board, the rock slid off and crashed onto his head. He was a little woozy what with the heat, humidity, distance, climbing and rock to the noggin taking their cumulative toll.
Now the real waiting began but I didn't mind. Sitting in the shade, access to a cooler with cold drinks, it don't get much better than that except the minutes began rolling by and I began to lose my patience but more than that, began to lose the will power battle over whether a 3rd beer was in order. Brad the Dentist rolled in and I attempted to give him the fat Penguin but he refused the honor, saying there were others out there. Finally, these two arrived, I asked who had finished second and.....
.....awarded the penguin. I hear Kenda Paul was still out there but I didn't think he'd be in the right frame of mind to accept the honor. Well, that's it for another year. Thank you for coming out and supporting the ride, despite the brutal conditions. I also appreciate the many who personally thanked me for the effort and I chose not to disabuse them of the thought I had supplied the cold drinks too.