Good turnout for Dave Miller's Hillacious Hilly ride from Canal Winchester. I was delighted to see a couple of the Yankees show up, Marty and Dave C, to give Craig and Steve some competition.
Thanks to Steve O for sending me this image of Kenda Janet, giving herself an asphalt massage prior to the ride.
Part of the Kenda Express, Dave, Stepfano and Janet. Also there were Paul and Todd Lee.
Dave barks out the instructions prior to the start. Never heard a ride leader state he had to give up marking the route because it was so tough, he could not finish it but that's what he said. Actually, the route was marked pretty well and all turns appeared to be marked so he may have been telling a story about having to quit but the statement had its effect on me, my legs began quivering with fear, not excitement. As we departed the parking lot, I eventually slotted in with the Kendaites and SuperDave although the route was not conducive to keeping a group together.
We climbed Slough, Pickerington, the Rainbow hills and Stringtown prior to dropping into Lancaster. Here, I witnessed something alarming that I will post here as a warning to the dads and moms out there who one day have a son or daughter who get into cycling. As is normal, the Kendas gathered around a map and began the usual practice of calculating a modification to the route. "How much will this cut off", "How much will that cut off", "What if we short cut there.", "What if we just turn around", etc... Younger Phenom Nick and dad Gary were standing in this circle too and it alarmed me to have a young, impressionable mind like Nick's influenced by this defeatist discussion. Won't surprise me to read Nick is DQ'd from a future race for short cutting....Gary, what waz you thinking?!?!? Look at the impact it has had on me hanging around this gang!
We left and proceeded to grind our way up Stump Hollow and soon after crossing #33, got onto Duffy and I could not believe how steep was this climb. I've never gone in this direction on Duffy and am quite sure I will never be there again. I got ahead of the group a little and after turning off Duffy, got caught in with Nick, Gary and Ricky G. Later, I learned the Kendas had stopped at the top of the Duffy climb for another short cut meeting and I never saw them again. We crossed #33 and headed toward the climb on Tarkiln. I warned Nick and Ricky to stay away from the right side at the top of the Tarkiln climb as there is a dip there and the grade coming out of that dip is 30%. There is an urban legend that one cyclist made the mistake of entering the dip, as the bike rose on the steep grade the front tire lifted off the ground, the bike spun around and the cyclist found himself riding back down the hill. I think last year a chip and seal effort filled it in a little but most people still ride left of center. Anyway, I intimidated Ricky so much he got off his bike and walked it up the hill. We coasted down Blue Valley and proceeded on to Sugar Grove, passing some good climbs on Beck and Pump Station roads, an outcome that made me happy.
By the way, the store in Sugar Grove is under new ownership and they are happy to allow us to use their rest room. Meantime, up ahead, Marty, Steve, Dave and Craig had whittled their group down, eventually dropping a stranger who supposedly tried out for the Olympics, stopped cycling for 20 years and started back up again this year. Steve, carrying a few extra pounds also dropped out but they regrouped in Sugar Grove. After romping through Savage/Carpenter/Chickencoop, it was again down to Craig, Marty and Dave and eventually, just Marty and Craig rode side-by-side the rest of the way in with an 18.8 average and 4400' of climbing. A few miles back, the schleps were working their way slowly through the route but eventually I found myself alone and the heat forced me into a rash decision, go for 100 miles. Yes, that's right, without one of my cycling buddies there to talk sense into me I got onto Lake and kept going north, north of Pleasantville, north of Baltimore yet stayed well south of the Artic Circle. Eventually I got west of Baltimore, dropped down to Carroll, did the climbs off Kaufman and Slough and dragged into the parking lot with 94 miles and 5200' of climbing.