As I peered outside into the pea soup this morning, I wondered if anyone would show for the ride. It was the type of weather that under normal circumstances, I would have never left the house but as the excursion initiator, I had to at least show to say I had shown. As I was loading my car, Cindy B emerged from the fog bank on her bike, ignoring the signs posted at my driveway barring entry to solicitors. The batteries in her tail light had expired so she asked for a new pair, which I was able to find and after installing, disappeared back into the fog, bound for New Albany.
On the drive over, Kevin H called me to confirm he was in the correct parking lot so that made 3 of us able to ride but I doubted I’d see anyone else but by the time we were on our bikes ready to roll, there were 16 of us; Kevin H, Dennis, Woody (the famous winner of the Granville Climbing Challenge), Larry P, Theresa, Ginger, Recumbent Nathan, Jeff S, Bob and Patti W., Kenda Dave, Ryan R, Cindy, Nick v and one other guy whose name I can’t recall. Unfortunately, Bob discovered his cleats did not match his peddles so he and Patti had to leave.
Because of the conditions, we thought we would stay in two groups since no one should get dropped and have to ride alone. However, everyone was able to stay together for the first few miles until we hit the hill on Alward, which stretched things out a bit but we regrouped prior to 310. Recumbent Dude Nathan can no longer be referred to as RD because he has abandoned the recumbent for a road and time trial bike and is training for a triathlon in Florida later this year. Currently averaging around 15 hours a week for bike, run and swim training, he has the look of someone who will do well and if everything works out, he intends to compete for the Kona Ironman. I can see it now, Roger Twibell doing a human interest story on Nathan, “Nathan, a formerly sad, pathetic cyclist who lacked the coordination to ride a real bike, grew tired of seeing himself parodied on an obscure cycling blog and turned himself into an Ironman!”
10 miles into the ride, the sun broke through and blue skies dominated. It was great and what a relief to ride in warm sunshine. We cruised down Gale, turning left on Granview, right on Hayes and after crossing #37, hit Canyon and that series of hills. Here, Larry P, riding a cyclecross bike with 5” wide tires, turned up the screws and it was particularly discouraging that I could barely hang with him. It does not bode well for us when he switches to a road bike. Egads! We descended down to #16 and crossed the marshy center and onto River Road in Granville. The River Road Coffee House was sold out of bagels so we hit the Village Coffee House and sat inside refueling. Kenda Dave elected to keep going and Cindy had previously headed east and home.
Surprisingly, after 26 miles, while there were some fence sitters, the majority wanted to take a direct route back and we headed out Raccoon Valley Road into Alexandria and into a kind of strong head wind and sunshine. We jumped onto Jersey Mill and for some reason, the dreariness of the fog reappeared and we rode back in these conditions all the way into New Albany via #161. We finished with 44 miles. When I drove back to Granville, I noted that the sun reappeared so for some reason, the Columbus area stayed in fog all day. It was a fun ride and a great group of people with whom to spend time. We wondered how our friends were doing at the brevet in Florida where Grand Poobah, Julia, Roy, Amanda and others were competing in the warm temperatures and probably sun.