The A group had a healthy turn-out of 12. Check out this group of greyhounds....well.....almost all of them are greyhounds.
Da Boss showed up and I asked, "Since you rode so hard Saturday, are you going to kick our ass as usual or something different?" He chose something different. Now, apparently, some people are smelling blood because of Craig being the bridesmaid at a major century ride,again. One classless individual even suggested the pressure got to Craig when he was unable to execute a simple chain shift that led to his 2nd place finish. In fact, someone even threw out the term "Choker". This is absurd but I am obligated to report what I hear.
Steve O, Contador's brother, Ted M, Dennis, Claude, Paul Stock, Poobah, Luke "The Kid", couple of Jenis guys, couple of B-1 guys, couple of other young guns and I headed out on a nice route put together by Craig. You may have noticed I did not list Da Boss as a member of the A group. Craig had run earlier in the day and so headed out with the B's. The look on the B riders, when they realized who would be in their midst, was similar to the look of a gaggle of turkeys when the farmer with the ax suddenly shows up Thanksgiving morning. On the other hand, it was also similar to Jack Nicklaus showing up in my Sunday morning foursome. For someone like Amanda, it was a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with royalty. Mitch, Ryan, Jeremy, Mark R, Kevin H and others went out with the B group.
It was an unusual start to our ride with seemingly no one wanting to take responsibility for setting the pace. It was as if without Da Boss there to lead, no one knew what to do. The pace was very moderate and at one point, Steve speculated Craig would catch us from the B group. The route had a flattish beginning out Waterloo and into Lithopolis and then east and on to Elder and Winchester and slowly, the pace began picking up. After Saturday's effort, I was curious how I would respond but everything seemed normal. In other words, legs are too weak and lung capacity too small. We made a left on Perrill and then a left on Saint Paul and so far roads very flat. No attacks, everyone seemed mellow and I was happy to draft towards the back with fellow back drafters Dennis and Ted (who was also recovering from Mama). We made a right on Goodman and a quick left on Madison Walnut and somewhere in there we began to hit more substantial rollers but throughout I don't think anyone was dropped. Ringgold Northern and then Winter finally brought us out to Cedar Hill. At Todd's urging, Luke had attacked on Winter but we covered and maybe a Jenis guy was dropped in there. Note to Luke: Ignore Todd except when he asks you to slow down.
Gosh, the humidity was high and I regretted not wearing a full zippered jersey so I could liberate myself from the dripping mess. Fortunately, thin clouds umbrellaed us from the worst of the sun. We turned right on Cedar Hill and then left on Westfall. I think our average had now crept up around 22 after the slow start. We paused at Amanda Northern and I wondered about abandoning the pace for a slow ride back via AN but kept going while we hit Rockmill and that series of climbs. Ted, who had been content to draft and recover, suddenly put in what can best be described as a death pull. Paul jumped on then Steve then I and we gapped the group a little with maybe a Buckeye jersey dude in there too. After the first significant hill, the road moderates before rising again. Here, Ted ran out of gas and I was spewing hydraulic fluid out of every connection. Paul, Steve, Buckeye Dude and one other went up the road followed by Ted with me clinging to his tire and we stayed that way to 188. The thing is, most of the other guys, although getting dropped on the hill, came back strong and went around me after crossing 188 and a large group formed again up the road and all I could do is gasp. It was all such a blur but my group riding ended at mile 29. Claude and I rode together to the top of Rock Mill and I could see Dennis coming up. Dennis and I rode in from there and finished with an average somewhere between 20 and 21. My Garmin had failed to pick up the satellite and so my readings were goofy. We had 42 miles and 1500' of climbing. Steve O and a few others finished with 22.5 average.