On Friday, I hooked up with Steve O, Dustin, Dan R and Jeff S as they had ridden up from Dustin's house, thus making him the official ride leader. Rather than a ride leader, Dustin was more like an empty jersey, refusing to make any route decisions, quickly agreeing to whatever we proposed, nervous about even voicing an opinion on where we should stop, etc... The poor guy assumed the opposite approach of Dan, meek, mild milquetoast.
Riding over to Alexandria, I waited maybe 1 minute before they came through and we then headed out Mounts, got over to Dry Creek, over the climb on Welch Hills Road and into Granville where we paused for a drink at the coffee shop on Main Street. I discovered that as long as Steve continues to ride his 40 pound steel bike coated with mud, as long as Jeff rides his 40 pound steel bike, as long as Dustin remains but a shell of his former self and as long as I ignore Dan's flyers off the front of the peloton, I can hang with them. I left them in Granville and rode around for awhile, finishing with 55 miles while they ended with 65.
Saturday morning brought Silent Dave's COP ride out of Cyclist Connection and a chilly 32 degree start. Above, people begin forming an audience well before the official start so they would not miss Dave utter a single word. Eventually, about 20 of us eagerly gathered and waited and soon Dave began to speak. You know how some ride leaders pontificate endlessly with turn-by-turn instructions that no one can later recall? Dave is concise, to the point, no wasted words, just a brilliant summation of what the route will be, "We will go east, then south, then west and have a good ride." That's it and what else needs to be said?
As we prepared to shove off, someone noticed Mitch was fixing a flat. It is times like this that you find out who are your friends and so 9 of us waited, including Mark C, who had earlier, crashed in the parking lot. Seems Mark had his head down, slowly coasting through the parking lot when his front wheel impacted one of those concrete parking slabs and he went over his handle bars but luckily, landed on his head so no harm done. We eventually headed out a few minutes after 9:00am, and along the way to Lancaster, picked up Catherine and Kristian so we had 12 when we rolled in front of Four Reasons Restaurant for a quick stop.
Included in our group was Kenda Janet. It is sad to see her come out alone, the remaining member of the Kendas. Their numbers once dominated the parking lots, if not the actual rides but now, Kenda Poobah I hear is leading hikes at an assisted living joint, Kenda Dave discovered ice cream, Kenda Paul counts beans at an office in downtown Columbus, Kenda Rick, who knows, Kenda Farmer Mike is in Florida and I think out of Kenda gear so it is only Janet now, the last of the Kendaohicans. To think I once actively campaigned for a spot on the Kenda team but was rejected by a unamimous vote.
Janet hung tough for the ride, riding the entire route without shortcut, while describing her recent trip to New Orleans, as a high powered corporate executive. She was at a trade show at a convention center and I made the mistake of asking how much time she had to work in Verizon's booth. Ha, ha, ha. She gave me the, "Work in a booth, are you simple minded?" look and made sure I knew she was in the hospitality rooms, high off the convention floor, watching the peons work the booths.
After our pit stop, Eric the Dispatch photographer, new guy Doug on the white Giant, Jeff S, Mark C, Mitch, Flyin Tuna, Catherine, Kristian, Mark V, Janet & scratching my head over who the 12th person was, headed back to Canal. We finished with 60 miles and 2400' of climbing. Back-to-back days are tough this time of the year so I struggled on Saturday but then Sunday, rode the "Granvile Climbing Challenge" route up to Utica, then east via Bell Church, south on Purity where a section of the road is closed, left on Pinewood, on to Long, got over to Reform and Rainrock, #79 and into Wilkens Corner. Then up Purity, left on Loches into St. Louisville where I ran into Ted M, Greg D and Joe G and then continued on to the St. Joseph climb, Chattham and back into Granville for 67 miles and 4500' of climbing. Less then 2 weeks until I head to California and I am woefully out of shape, as is the norm.