Appeared to be a huge turnout for the Covered Bridge tour, beginning at Cyclist Connection on Saturday. Unsure of elevation gain but probably the 100 mile route had 5-6000'. Our group rolled out, numbering around 20 with Dennis, Larry P, Steve O, Mark & Karen R, Flyin Tuna, Jeremy, Jimmy, Kenda's Janet and Paul, Amanda, Engineer Mitch, Tri-Andrew, John Swope, etc... I really needed a long ride but could not shrug off the need to watch the Buckeyes so upon reaching the village of Amanda, I took the short route while everyone else took the long one. I finished with 50 miles but suffered from no guilt as I motored back home, hoping Sunday's weather would be ok to make up the difference....
.....and Sunday dawned bright and sunny. Turnout for the Westerville Dry Run was also very strong and there was an excited mood in the parking lot as the prior days had seen a few posts on Doug M's Facebook page calling out the Olympus boys. Note Marty did not initiate the challenge and it appeared most of the posts were from people not actually planning to ride but in any event, the gauntlet had been thrown down and probably 5-6 Olympus Dudes were there along with Marty, Dave C, Garth Prosser, Rich Lewis, Jon Sada and a couple others.
I had planned to slot in with the Kendaites and Nathan and as soon as we exited the parking lot, I observed Kenda Dave drop into his aero bars. Janet, Paul and I each commented upon how rare it was to see a guy drop into the aero bars during the warm-up phase in a residential neighborhood but Dave is a Kendaite so..... After a few turns, we noticed Marty's group was within our limited sprinting ability and so we caught on and enjoyed a upperwardly moderately paced ride all the way to Johnstown at mile 15. During the ride, Marty and Dave drifted back to introduce themselves to Kenda Janet, recognizing her as the star of the blog. Janet was thrilled by the recognition and probably any thought of actually wearing something different is now out the window.
We left Johnstown with David added to our group but soon the 70/100 cutoff arrived and we bid David farewell as we headed on to Utica, enjoying the climbs on Marion and Reynolds. Food stop #2 arrived at the apple orchard, around mile 33. Meantime, the pro peloton had stayed on the 100 mile route with the pace picking up down Hardscrabble and then out of Granville, Rich and Garth did a lot of pulling. Marty led much of the way out Chatham then Garth took over and Rich attacked from the left with Rob Rhodes making a hard effort to catch but fell short. These four reached the intersection at Chestnut Hills Road together and then some regrouping took place as they proceeded to the foot of Marion Road. Here, an Olympus guy took off but ran out of gas, then Garth took the lead and soon it was only he, Rich, Rob and Dace C that could stay on Garth's wheel. While driving to the base of the Reynolds climb, Rob dropped off and during the climb, Garth reached the top first, followed by Rich with Marty and Dave close by.
Meantime, I took the 100 mile option out of Utica and rode alone into Martinsburg, then on to Gambier, enjoying a tough climb to the top of the campus, coasting down the other side where a right turn revealed another difficult climb on 229. Upon reaching the top, I was soft pedaling when Rich, Garth, Marty and Dave passed me but no one else came by, later learning that several of the Olympus dudes had turned right on Martinsburg and the remaining O-Dude, Steve Fields fell off the pace prior to Gambier. By the time I hit Mt Vernon, I was low on fluids and hungry so stopped at the above market, thinking a 41 mile gap between food stops was a bit much for a full service tour. Anyway, headed out of Mt Vernon on to Centerburg where food stop #3 was found and then on to Westerville, getting wet in there somewhere, finishing with 95 miles and 4500' of climbing. Sounds like Marty's team won the Olympus challenge.