Arriving at about 8:30, the primary lot at the Rockmill Brewery was full so I was directed to a secondary lot where already there were a lot of cars. I think around 90 cyclists had indicated they would attend, probably 50-60 actually did so. I was more careful than usual to make sure all windows were up and the car locked since I still carry Dan's pump. Dan was a late scratch but in his daily check-in, I assured him I am keeping the pump scratch free and clean it every day.
While I recognized many of the cyclists, including Kyle Z alongside Farmer Mike on the right, most I did not.
There were a lot of people having a jersey that I thought said "Grill" on the front and even asked Jeff S if he knew where was this restaurant. He corrected me and said that is "Roll". Opps. A woman in the Team Roll kit, the very generous host of the event (que sheet, marked roads, water/food stop at Buena Vista and food after the event) made a few announcements as we....
....watched with rapt attention. It was a very hot and humid day with thunderstorms forecast for mid afternoon. As I stood there and listened, it seemed as if you could feel the heat rise. David Smith, center, would later have to deal with complications from the combination of heat/humidity/hills but he made it around.
We headed for the exit, including a guy on crutches on the right. Once on the road I did not want to look back and discover him gaining on me so kept my focus forward and soon, as if I have not suffered enough indignities out on the road....
.... a guy wearing swimming trunks passed Andrew Hall and me. We eventually caught and passed him though.
Coming through Lancaster, I got in with a small group that included Kyle, David Smith and Corvair. As we prepared to turn left on Eckert, I went straight, having decided the night before I'd like to avoid the dreaded climb up Chickencoop. Arriving in Sugar Grove, it was like an oasis in the middle of the Sahara. Soon Isaac arrived, happy to have finished with the loop I skipped. Isacc soon shoved off, then I did too just as Marty Sedluk and a couple guys arrived. Reaching the climb on McGreary and soon thereafter Snortin Ridge, I kept my forward speed at 0.001 above that which would cause me to fall over. The sun baked the exposed climbs and reaching the Roll refuel stop at Buena Vista, it too....
...baked under the sun but did have cold water, cold Cokes and snacks. Again, very generous and well placed too. The Roll rep was excited to see the bike a prominent member of our peloton rides. Out of the box, the bike weighs around 14 but with the improvements made, is 11.8 pounds. A real climbing machine.
We did a nice loop of Buena Vista/Little Cola/Clapper Hollow rather than the usual Opossum Hollow/Jack Run loop. Above we ride along CH. I thought CH is longer but not as steep as Jack Run but rounding a curve, there was what looked like the "side of a building steep" wall. Just sapped me of energy and I thought about unclipping and pushing the bike, I kid you not. After a brief stop at the refuel station again, I enjoyed the coast down Middlefork and then suffered on the climb out of the valley. At some point during the sun baked climb, I decided I had had enough of the hills on this day and made a B-line for Amanda. It took awhile after making a bad turn or two and reaching Clearcreek Road, Marty and gang encouraged me to jump in as they neared Hopewell Church. Nope, nothing but evil and pain in that direction so turned east and reaching the gas station, sat on a bench for probably 30 minutes, with 3 different drinks. I exited Amanda via Sandhill and raced an approaching storm to the parking area, finishing with 72 miles. Later, after a weigh-in, I discovered I had lost 8 pounds of fluids during the ride. Days like this make me wonder why I stopped playing golf. I could be sitting in a cart with a beer, contemplating how to not shank my next shot.