So, to Coonpath Road and the Gloryland Church we traveled for the start of the Heart of Ohio Tour or better known as the spring HOOT. Kind of an odd day as many of the usual suspects were missing, but at 8:00am a group of around 20 streamed from various parts of the parking lot to coalesce at the front and head west on Coonpath. In total, there was a good turnout for the ride with at least 100 cyclists. In the mix with our group at that time were Mark C, Steve O, Kenda's J, CT, Paul, Dave, Poobah and Mario, Black Trek Chris, Jeremy, SuperDave, Kayla and a couple others.
I got caught up with the pace and found myself in with a lead group of 7-8 and we zigzagged our way towards Amanda. Poobah kept agitating things on the climbs and appeared to be very strong but Mark C, Steve and I were able to cover his attacks and hang with him to each mini summit finish. Reaching Amanda at mile 24, I decided that was enough higher paced riding for me and began to look around for others with whom I could enjoy the balance of the ride. I sat on the curb panting while Todd ruled the parking lot. We spent too long at the gas station and people began leaving in ones and twos so when I saw SuperDave depart, I rode after him and eventually we caught Kenda Janet prior to the climb on Revenge. I settled in next to Dave when suddenly, Kenda J ATTACKED!!! No doubt she was smelling blood after my pitiful performance of last week and I really just wanted to sit in and ride up the hill. Plenty of calculations went through my head, "Would she brag to everyone she throttled me on Revenge if I did not respond", "Would she smirk at me every time she sees me in the future just as Tuna now does", etc... We regrouped somewhere after Blue Valley with Jeremy, Janet and I stopping in front of the store in Sugar Grove. Here's where things started to get weird. Weird in the sense the people we expected to see from having seen them at previous points on the route, we did not now see. Finally, Dave, Jeremy and I headed out and up the climb on Savage.
We eventually got over to Bremen and stopped to eat at a gas station that serves good subs. From our original group of 20, we were down to what you see here plus Jeremy and no one else ever stopped. I think the route afforded so many short cutting opportunities that many were taken. I know Mark and Steve were doing the 100 mile option but every time I asked Todd what he was doing he would only say he was going to take an ice bath when he got home to sooth a strain in his leg.
Finally Jeremy and I headed on the 80 mile route but I lost him while navigating the streets of Bremen. Some good climbing coming out of there on Marietta Road and then West Rushville before cruising through WR and continuing on to Pleasantville where, I found Jeremy and stopped again at a gas station to refuel. There we discovered SuperDave who had not stopped in Bremen, but never saw anyone else. Considering there must have been at least 100 people at the start we just found it odd to have seen so few after the Amanda stop. Anyway, finished with 81 miles and 4100' of climbing.