The Canal Sunday morning ride was visited by "The Others", out on the road. The Others moved through us like a spirit through a room. Riding efficiently and smoothly and oh so rapidly, I'm not sure all of our group was even aware of the presence of The Others. More about that later, however.
The parking lot scene was typical, there were Kenda Janet and Paul sitting on the freezing asphalt, changing their clothes, Eve, Coach and Jeff S leaving early to ride to breakfast....wait....Jeff S??? Yes, I did a double take when I saw this august symbol of riding dynamism heading out early with Eve and Coach. I don't know the story behind this so don't want to speculate. What's next, membership in the Dutch Kitchen ride group? The sun was very low on the horizon and with the ice crystals, made for difficult photography with all the glare so I have no good images. Also I was too lazy to walk to the other size of the parking lot. However, we had a good group of Mark V, Chris, an Albanian speaking dude from Canton, Franz, Kevin K, Dentist Brad, Amanda fresh off a 200k brevet on Saturday, etc... Roy was there too in civilian dress and completely wiped from riding the brevet with Amanda on the tandem. That he was wasted and she was not suggests quite a bit about the proportion of effort on their Saturday jaunt, no?
We did the traditional Stoutesville route, apparently the same as was ridden on Saturday so there was a 45 and 50 mile option. We headed south on Winchester, went east on Marcy and then south, eventually climbing to the highest point in Fairfield County. I had gotten a little ahead of the group and missed Janet crashing, while riding up hill. I'm not sure exactly what happened but she toppled over into some gravel but appeared ok. I saw a group approach and melded in with them and realized it was The Others headed on a 100 mile ride to Kingston then Hocking Hills and back. These guys have ridden together for so long that it's like watching the Olympic synchronized swimming team. I was privileged to hang in there for a moment and noted they each pedal with the same rpm, chains in the same ring, all grabbing for the water bottle at the same time and taking the same swig of what appears to be the same energy brew. Incredible stuff. Where we weenies turned east on Stoutsville, they flowed south. Note one of the pre-eminent members of The Others, Mark Waites, has already begun his winter, trainer program that will have him emerge in April, stronger than he is after a season of riding. Mark was nice enough to fax me the program a long time ago but it was Greek to me. Let's just say it is meant for those who have the will and discipline of an Ironman. We broke at the market in Stoutsville and soon headed back onto the road. There was some discussion about relenting on the pace to keep a larger group together but Janet bolted from the parking lot and our group was soon whittled over time to 4-5. We finished with 50 miles, 1900' of climbing and an 18.2 average. Strange, it seemed much faster than that. I returned home to the sweet relief of seeing a friend's trailer with hydraulic lift waiting for me. We pitched, over two trips, 5 cord of wood into the trailer and used the lift to dump it into my yard.