Another windy evening for a ride but this time, something different...the wind was howling from the NE! I was late getting to Canal and then forgot to count the turnout but probably 45+. Prior to the start, I checked in with Recumbent Dude who just got back from participating in an Olympic distance triathlon in Miami (1 mile swim, 25 mile time trial and 6 mile run). He was still on an emotional high and was pleased with his results but made a rookie mistake of filling his tires to 140psi and then having them rub the frame during his ride. Hard to tell from the above image but the distance between the tire and fram is nil.
Seemed as if all the usual crowd was at Canal plus more newbies. Also there was The Boss, on his new Van Dessel custom bike. Very cool looking but did wonder why the word "Rivet" was printed on the frame but he says it weighs 15.5 pounds. Steve O, Dennis, Poobah, Kenda Dave, Pastor Mark, Ryan R, Mitch, Polish Pony, Kevin K, Peggy, Butch, assorted Walker guys, Tall Dude, etc...
Large group of A's headed out but I forgot to count, again. We headed out Waterloo Eastern and Lockville, passing what soon will be 6-7 spectacular crabapple trees (check it out in a few days) in someone's front yard. Curiously, Poobah slid back from the #3 slot and drifted back. Moves like this are never an accident and I wondered what motivated the action. That left me at #3 in line and soon, I was rewarded with a pull on Pickerington but slid out just before turning right on Jefferson and that long 4-5% grade hill. As I drifted back, I selfishly exploited a slight gap in the line and grabbed a spot about 6 back, rather than rotating all the way to the back of the peloton. We sped up Jefferson and I felt good as we made a right and then a quick left on Amanda Northern. Here, the group would no doubt break up over the following long climb punctuated by steeper ramps and false flats. Walker dude and The Boss punished us and soon there was only those two, Steve O, Pastor Mark and I. A quick glance back confirmed the obvious, carnage. We reached the summit and coasted down to the stop sign.
I was gassed and beyond the red zone, whatever that is. We rode to the turn at Salem Church and I knew I risked getting cuffed on the side of the helmet but I meekly blurted out, "Should we regroup a little?" Ha, Ha, Ha...The only response to such a ridiculous offer, motivated solely by my desire to be a nice guy, of course, was Mark saying, "No, make them work for it". Mark took a long pull at the front but I looked among our select group and wondered, would I hang with The Boss when he took a pull, with this maniac Walker guy when his turn came? The answer, NOOOOO. I dropped off on Sitterly, only 10 miles into the route. Too quickly, Poobah, Ryan and Mitch came by but I had not sufficiently recovered to hang with Poobah who was drilling it at the front (thanks buddy). Then Jeff S came by and I jumped on and managed to recover in his slipstream (thanks buddy).
Ahead, Poobah had dropped Ryan and then Mitch and no one willing to yield to form a group but eventually Jeff, Ryan, Mitch and I grouped and began working together. Kevin H, a.k.a. Polish Pony caught us and now we had a nice working number and we caught Poobah. I urged everyone to ban him for having previously burned out the group but could not round up a consensus and he was grudgingly accepted. We tried to do the echelon thing but Pony kept getting his right mixed up with his left and Poobah became quite agitated and fell back, maybe cursing us as he did so. Anyway, after facing a long stretch on Winchester into the wind, we reached Lithopolis and then Canal, with 35 miles and a 20.6 average. The Boss' group had a 21.7 average. Not sure if those 4 hung together to the end.
The cross winds create dangerous conditions and it is no surprise that the gusts could cause a wreck. First, Century Mark touched a wheel and went down hard. Soon thereafter, a new guy turned to look behind him and his bike went off the side of the road and while trying to hop back on apparently went down. Kenda Dave, immediately behind, was able to bring his bike to a stop before running over the guy. Be careful out there!