One of the class acts in the peloton, Luke Russell who, by the end of the ride, would set new Strava records for the Clark Hollow, Thornton-Sprung and Rocky Road climbs, the 3 significant climbs on today's COP Rocky Ride. Steve Fields on the left.
Eric on the right, Dirty Dan, detouring from his usual all black ensemble now riding a creaky BMC to replace his creaky Trek. Later, at the foot of Tar Hollow, Dan would once again exploit my fragile mental state with disinformation.
Yes, there was some grumbling that the ride organizers had failed to provide a gps file of the route but got to give them credit for providing snacks and water at the start.
Good turnout, around 45 as co-ride leader Engineer Mitch emphasizes how bad are the pavement conditions on some of the descents.
MIB, Marty in Black. He's going low key on us.
So we shoved off into a glorious morning of sun , moderate temp and low humidity. What are the odds that on back to back Saturday's we'd be riding in nirvana. Early, I kept my eye out for the Luke & Marty express and as soon as they flowed past, I jumped on. I know, you're thinking, "wait, I thought you liked to do moderate paced Saturday rides." and I do but selfishly, I was thinking of that poorly stocked store in Tar Hollow and how it'd be a good idea to get there ahead of the heavy eaters. It was an enjoyable pace with Marty and Luke pulling for almost the entirety of the 21 miles to the entrance to Tar Hollow State Park where we arrived with a 20.2 avg.
When it comes to cycling, I have the mental toughness of a butterfly. I also do not embrace the suck very well. So I asked Dirty Dan to describe the climb and he told me it gets really steep at the top. Immediately I eased up as everyone rode away. That Dan....what a jokester. The road to the top stays pretty constant at about a 5% grade, no wall, no steep, just a nice, long, modest climb. I coulda hung in there! I was so far back at the top, I did not see where to make a turn so waited until Gary & 2 others came through and jumped in with them. Reaching the store, I relaxed in a chair on the front porch and watched the Tuna Express arrive.
The heavy eaters hit the store's shelves. The Donald sat with 2 Snickers and a Dew. Now, meantime, the Tuna Express people gathered at a water pump and did not enter the store. In fact, they left quickly, leaving Donald behind. After letting them know of the Donald's predicament, they waited and soon our large group was good to go, reentering the park via Clark Hollow Road which in fact has a nasty wall toward the end of the climb. I'd give Dirty the benefit of the doubt by him mistaking this climb for the other but with his history, that would probably be way too generous.
That is a tough climb. Ryan in the middle looks spent because I think he got the KOM or maybe Eric did. I was cross-eyed so couldn't say but I managed a 2nd or 3rd place. Brad B on the left, Eva on the right.
We regrouped and spun toward that god awful Thornton-Sprung torture test. That's got to have a 20% pitch in there somewhere. Earlier, Luke sped up it in 59 seconds. I had a pedestrian 1:28, fueled by looking to my left at the first part of the climb and spotting that pesky Cindy B starting to go around me. Dang, she'd be a human Roman Candle if she ever beat me on a climb so thusly motivated, I put in the max effort.
And then we reached the nastiest of them all, Rocky Road. I hung back here because I sensed something special would happen, possibly an unclipping by the recovering Jeff or overeating Donald that I should capture? Alas, no as they both acquitted themselves well.
The stop in Kingston was yet another eating opportunity for The Donald as he emerged with 2 Dews and a Marathon bar.
We hung around but eventually 5-6 of us, Eric, Ryan, Andrew C, etc... departed, finishing with 68 miles and a 17.5 avg.