Good turnout for a ride that started at 36 degrees, stayed at or became a little colder and oh yes, strong winds out of the west for the duration of the ride back from Utica. There at the start were Dustin, Riley, Kenda Janet, Steve O, Jeff S, Brian (dude with the StaPuf marshmallow man on his calf), Mark V, Larry P (shown above in white), Eva, Flyin Tuna and me for 11 hardy cyclists.
We shoved off, heading over to Johnstown via Caswell and the usual roads, eventually north on Northridge, right on Sportsman Club (maybe I should have routed us up to the flatter Dutch Lane), across 661 and on to the left at Chatham. Somewhere in there, Mark V observed it appears this is another year where TOSRV will be a recovery ride, by comparison to some of the early season rides.
The corporate executive and world traveler was suffering a little. All those expensive meals and sipping brandy on first class flights is taking its toll on her fitness and so when Mark V announced he was bugging out at mile 24 at Chatham, Kenda Janet was all too willing to bug out too. Thus our group lost its heart and sole but nevertheless we traveled on.
Arriving in Utica via Reynolds Road, where we passed Doug McConaha and Rob Rhodes going in the opposite direction, we discovered the lone gas station to be packed with a radio station's promotional effort so we retreated to Subway. I noticed each of our jackets had a film of mud on the back after riding on a very muddy Weaver Road, prior to Reynolds. The farm that straddles Weaver was very active, preparing for the planting season. Here, Eva awaits her 6" sub while Brian and Flyin Tuna wait to put in their orders.
Dustin intended to do a touch and go but discovered his tire had gone flat. He grabbed a variety of pumps off our bikes, barged into Subway and began the replacement process with the assistance of his able body assistant, Steve O. Why they kept all their cold weather clothing on while indoors and taking turns pumping, is anyone's guess. We left Utica as a group, got separated on the hills coming out via Homer Road and so Steve, Dustin, Larry, Jeff and me got away and worked sort of together if you count me drafting all 30+ miles as "working together". Dustin put in several long pulls but at the 45 mile mark, as is his norm, exhaustion set in but he was able to limp in, joining me at the back. He is but a shadow of last year's form but I'm sure he'll get it back. It can't be the age thing already?
Feeling fresh, I took the New Albany sign sprint although I suspect Steve gifted me the win. Finished with 65 miles and a good workout. One of those rides where one had doubts about heading out but glad to have hung in there at the end, despite the wind, cold, distance, etc... Never did see the other half of our group but heard they got in ok.