I don't know why, but tonight's turnout was a little light, at around 55-60 cyclists and a very light turnout among the killers....until about 3 minutes before the start when many of the missing rolled in. Still, the legit "A's" usually wait in their own spot out by the main driveway and at about 5 till 6:00pm, it was pretty sketchy.
Meanwhile, back in the expansive shade of the shade tree, the killer B's brooded and planned....their short cut of a marvelous route of 51 freakin miles that included the climb out of Alexandria (Mounts), then eventually crossing #661 to that dreadful Chattam, then, get this, continuing all the way out to Marion Road and that tough climb before finally turning back west.
The Little Diesel, Jeff S called out the A's and a group of around 17 rolled out that included a late arriving Dave Chesrown, Terry, those two Trek guys Pete Czerwinski and Chris Grisvard, Ron, Jason from "The Others", Mike (tri guy who is the real deal), Paul Stock, Doug Maconaha, Stefano, Blair, etc... It was a rather modest pace at the start, enough so that I was able to talk to a couple of guys. Dave C drifted back and said tonight he was going to bide his time and not attack early but about that time, Pete began sprinting as did everyone else, the group fractured a bit and yes, I was gone and I mean long gone in a matter of seconds. Thus I was riding solo again at MILE 4.5! Groan....riding out #161 I could see some others strung out in front but I was in no mood or rather ability to catch them so waited for the inevitable, being swallowed by the Super B's who always have a less than encouraging word to spew at me.
Sure enough, coasting down Jersey Mill they caught me and I heard, "Riding solo again?", "Hey everyone, make room for the C rider", etc... Through it all was Tuna's cackling laughter. Nothing in cycling is more humiliating then dropping from the "A" group and being enveloped by the Super "B" big mouths. In this group was Dennis, Glen Gardner, Gus, Flyin Tuna, Mark V, SuperDave, Axel, Sada, friend of Sada who swims for OSU, Kevin H (Pepe Lapew), Nathan, eventually Jason and quite a few others. We rolled into Alexandria then up Mounts, left on Hardscrabble, right on Corner, left on Louden, right on Dry Creek and then we reached #661. I was begging for an alternative to Chattam, my least favorite road in the US but no one was buying that so I sat in with Tuna and suffered through this 5-6 ramp grinder up to Chesnut Hills Road. It appeared Axel, Sada and Dennis were battling it out for the lead through Chattam with Jon getting the brass ring.
Here, common sense prevailed and rather than drop down to Marion, we turned left losing a few cyclists who either turned around or went straight. We set a nice pace west before turning north on Louden to reacquire the route before going south on Northridge. Here, I unfortunately slotted in behind the lowest profile cyclist in Ohio, Flyin Tuna. Mark Twain was attributed with the famous quote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" and I can now say, "The hardest pull I ever took was drafting behind Tuna". A squirrel on a bike may be able to draft but anything larger, forget about it. Anyway, we reached Alexandria then out Jug and approaching New Albany there were a series of attacks that reduced the group, finally to Dennis and me battling for KOM points at the highway overpass on Beech. We reached the parking lot with a 21.4 avg while the lead A group had a 23.7 avg. Did anyone get the elevation gain from the long route?
Lastly, Dennis is headed to Costa Rica for a week but upon his return, we are going to have a "Pink Out" to honor him. Surely, everyone has a wife or girlfriend who has something in the color of pink and we will wear it proudly to support our buddy, who bravely wears a pink accent colored bike and pink cycling gear. Or, as Nathan observes, a cycling jersey having the color pink is a blouse, not a j