Good turnout, considering the forecast route was certain to turn off those who prefer something a little flatter for this time of year. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see Team Kenda well represented with Kenda Janet, Paul, Rick and Dave. Also suprised to see Dennis making a somewhat rare appearance for a Saturday ride and sporting a very nazzy watch that, not surprisingly, matched his frame. Dude is the best dressed cyclist in central Ohio with maybe Grand Poobah a close second with those high polish white cycling shoes. Damn I always feel shabbily dressed around those two!
Also there were Larry P, Lisa, Amanda, Steve O, Ryan R., Mitch, Randy D, Evie, Tuna, Jimmy, Dan F., Mark V and a couple others, including the host, Mark Clingan. Mark gave new meaning to route description when, at exactly 9:00am he began a lengthy dissertation about the route with the presentation ending at 9:10. Most of us were glassy eyed by then but gosh what a good description that included turn-by-turn, dogs to watch out for, where to eat, potholes to watch out for, problematic dessents, problematic asscents, where loose women lived, the speech had it all.
Amanda making a final adjustment on new bike.
We shoved off and hit Rainbow, where Steve O began goading me, urging me to show off those "California legs." I made a sneaky attack from the middle of the pack and won the KOM points on that big hill on Rainbow but in so doing discovered my legs felt very tired. Must have been a hangover from the intensity of the Thursday evening ride, or at least that's what I hoped. I spent the rest of the route tucked safely in the pack and ignored Steve's other provocations, "You sure don't climb like someone who climbed over 30,000' last week" (sad but true). We cruised into Sugar Grove for a quick stop at the market and headed into the meat of the route. One problem, I was the parent on call for the day and my cell phone begin ringing. I had to stop to see what was left in voicemail and the pack disappeared up Oppssum Hollow and it took me awhile to work my way back into the main body and thankfully the leaders stopped at the end of Risch.
We regrouped and shoved off on Wild Cat, then Kreabbaum a quick stint on Big Pine and then a right on some road called Krinn Unger. The wind had begun to pick up as we coasted into Grandma Fayes on 664 for a break at mile 39. Note prior to that the Kedaites had taken the 50 mile cut-off and several of us talked about taking the 66 mile loop but all turned south for the full 83 miles. As we sat at Grandma's the wind picked up with multiple swirling dervishes that knocked bikes over and sent stuff flying. The highlight was watching Flyin Tuna chase after her helmet as it skittered under some cars. The forecast had been for 40+ gusts and no doubt we experienced it. Grand Poobah consulted radar and it showed a line of showers approaching. He, Dennis, Larry and I were the first to leave and headed up a nasty climb on 374 and then turned on 678 toward Gibisonville. By then, Larry had to stop to take a call and Dennis had hung back so Poobah and I worked together along Cantwell Cliffs and stayed straight to get to do the "V" of Big Cola and Little Cola, except we bypassed that to stay on Starner, This is the climb, coming in the opposite direection, where Armstrong dropped the last of the guys who had hung with him at the start of Pelotonia.
At the bottom of Starner, Poobah headed east for Lancaster and I headed back onto the route, having enjoyed a nice tail wind. Now, the route began bending west and the wind turned into a monster cross wind that several times threatened to push me over. The stretch along Amanda Clearport was brutal and I reached Amanda somewhat in a state of shock from the required effort and wind. After recovering, I shoved off just as others began arriving. They had that 1000 yard stare look to them from their effort along wind-swept AC road. Demonstrating a certain amount of ineptness, I made a wrong turn, ended up riding on 33 for 1/2 mile and finally reached the parking lot on Coonpath with 83 miles. Great route and great scenery. Also had 5800' of climbing.