The normal Tuesday night ride was pretty low key this week with a late arriving crowd bringing in about 48 cyclists despite a huge chunk of the interstate system being out of service for hours due to an accident. Dennis the Style Queen, Jeff the Little Diesel, Mark V, Kevin - Pepe le Pew, Myself - Nathan - Recumbent Dude, Eve the Agent, The OSU ringers, Logan, Mitch and many others were all in the mix. I was told that Mark, the normal author of this Blog had purchased a chain saw and was home cutting his appendages off so that he could have the doctor install bionic replacements. Our ride-leader, Mitch, arrived early to find the shady spot taken but persevered in the thankfully less powerful sun with a relatively flat map delivering 40 miles of light climbing in mild 81F starting temps that waned into the mid 70s before the end. The A's were called to duty right on schedule and 17 rolled while the B+ group huddled and eyed them, calculating who would fall out, be swept up and summarily verbally humiliated as they fell into the rapid B+ pace line. This ended up being an extended session, as the A's got lost before they even left the parking lot, heading out the wrong exit and creating a mess as 1/2 turned around to head out the correct exit and others modified the route. It was good for everyone to see this in person so that they don't think that everything written here is lacking in truth.
Before long, the fallout candidates were identified, agreed upon and the horn sounded for the Bs to roll. And roll they did. A bit slowly at first, but the pace quickened as we headed up Lithopolis Rd breaking the Bs before a brief regroup for the turns through town and onto Elder. The pace stayed fairly rapid but not so rapid that Mark V's famous biting sense of humor started nipping at the heals of several cyclist in the pace line. I guess when you don't lead and feel comfortable wearing a Red's Jersey as a cycling jersey you have time for that sort of thing. I'm not saying that his jokes weren't funny though.. they were, and the good-natured ribbing continued for the next couple miles until the first of the mechanical issues of the day hit and created a huge gap in the pace line while people fell back to help... and there it was, the "forever forty". That forty yards that seems to last forever as you attempt to hook back on. Making matters worse was the fact that Kevin - Pepe Le Pew decided wind down his warmup and warm up his leadership skills at that very moment. Kevin is a solid A rider that consistently rides B and is the frequent cause of "selects" within the B group. The gap slowly closed, but having been off the bike for nearly 4 weeks, I was way into the red and it didn't take long for the mental game to play out... remember in the movie "Blazing Saddles" the charachter, Lil Von Schtupp? She sang a song in that movie called "I'm Tired" and it popped to mind at that moment of weekness and I gave in. She got me... off I popped and even worse, I short-cut, making the right onto S. Bloomfield Royalton.
Now technically, I was in the B group, and I did take the B route as my "shortcut" and that technically means I rode the entire route, but that would be Cycle Saddle Lawyering and I just can tolerate it... i just have to accept the ding on my man card and move forward.
Before long I reached the intersection at Winchester Rd and I waited for company. It wasn't long before I was joined by 5 others and progress continued for 3 miles until Mitch flatted and a halt was ordered and the longest tube change ever was watched over quietly. I actually think it's possible that Mitch saw the need for rest and my face and dragged his feet on the tube change to give me time to recover so that I could lead the rest of the way, but his plan was quickly foiled as I fought for the back of the paceline to keep in the best draft I could find.
It was pretty straight forward from then on. We returned via Cedar Hill where we swept up the first A's of the route, they received no ribbing as they were instructed to pull, then Lithopolis Rd in a brief backtrack of the trek out. Somewhere along the line I decided I didn't like this sport, popped off the back again and got to ride the downhill from Lithopolis in a 2 minute trail of the group. I returned to the parking lot with an average of 19.5 on 33 miles, which I'm reasonably happy with given my time off. I have no Idea what the A's came in at, It's always hard to tell since they abuse each other so much that they fragment heavily along the route, but if anyone knows, chime in.