Tonight they came early and often, including Luke beside his Bianchi and behind him, Lori, munching on a very healthy salad. I noticed Lori did not go for an exhausting run prior to the ride so she would be ready to roll this day.
Our ride leader, Rick Miller came with some concerns about the distance of the routes, including 61 miles for the A group. He received some communication from members of the peloton about the length but the good thing is rather than a route going way east for 30 miles and then back, the route never got as far east as Granville so one was never too distant from the parking lot and there were lots of route "haircut" options should they be needed.
Marty, Nick in the background, Hendra, Luke Russell and Dave Chesrown, part of a 7-9 member sect called the Unsullied. They have never been dropped, never watched the peloton rocket away as they fade, don't know humiliation, so envious am I.
Patrick Warren. By day, a member of the health care field, but by 6:oopm, a killer and member of the Unsullied.
Check out Tym Tyler's new haircut. Gone are the flowing locks that threatened to overtake Lisa's in length.
Muscle Dude Jr, John Day in the middle. Friday morning he will be on his bike riding that dreaded "Frank" route out of Malabar Park so he was going to ride easy but you know, started with the A group, continued with the A group for 30 miles before throttling back.
So, at 6:00, Rick called us to order, around 70, and explained a last minute change to the route that would take us east on Blacks Road rather than Beaver Run Road and off we went, around 28 in the A group. Out 161, right on Harrison, left on Morse and right on Headleys Mill we rode at a fairly moderate speed. We caught a tractor that really slowed us down and followed it just shy of the left turn on Hollow with its multiple uphill ramps. Lisa Tyler somehow managed a gap on the field at the turn and we followed, the mass overtaking her but she clung on and hey....what's this....so did I to the top. It was a pretty good pace to #37 where a right and a quick left kept us on Hollow all the way to York Road, turning right.
While driving to the ride I noticed a couple of cut-outs in York so I made sure to warn Jon Morgan who has had issues with cut-outs of late. We got across each and cruised to #16 for a brief stop before crossing and heading farther south to the left turn on Blacks. Our average at this point was only 22.7 and while I am the last person to complain of a moderate pace, it left me to wonder why. Maybe it was the length of the route but if so, who makes these decisions and where are they made? Maybe I need to spend some time at the Starbucks as part of my pre-ride itinerary. Anyway, we killed it on Blacks and reached Canyon with the looming ridge to cross. I tried to stay positive about my chances but reality, you know and so at ramp #1 I was good, ramp #2 I was ok, ramp #3 I was drifting back and noticed Kayla, Maya and Lori too were drifting and I was already thinking how I would report this, kind of a "Beast and the Beauties" sort of thing but alas they had something in the tank and did not drift all the way back to me and at ramp #4....
....the little Wildebeast was toast BUT WAIT!!!! I kept fighting and riding hard and.......
....I escaped, rejoining the group just as they recrossed #37. Yeah, it was good to be alive as we rode west on Hayes, then a left on Grandview and a right on Gale where we passed my house but none of my family was out to witness the phenomenon of seeing me in the group. Crossing #16, we got on to Weslyn Church and I began to drift again...dang I hate when that happens. By the right turn on Outville at mile 31, I was done. Here, John Day decided to drop back and to make a long story short, we followed the B route for many miles at a relaxed pace before Dirty Dan and Crazy George caught us at the top of Jersey Mill. We rode in together, finishing with a kind of sad 19.9 average. Meantime, the lead group finished with a 21.6 avg.
Geesh, it's not even the Summer Solstice and already we are at 61 miles. Hope none of us marginal cyclists have a flat on this route. Good luck boys and girls and for the gps files go to the Cycling Club's website: http://www.thecyclingclub.org/route-resources/c-o-p-thursday-night-cycling-club-ride/