I arrived early so I would take care of the first priority, supporting any fellow Kendaites who showed. Paul was the only one to make it and so as instructed by Poobah on Tuesday, I dutifully rode over with the crotch cream and asked Paul if he wanted me to butter him....he paused for too long...then said no. I don't know if I can keep this up for long. It's kind of humiliating but the reward is great so who knows. The highlight of the pre-ride ritual was Nathan's new shoes. Dennis saw them and began bidding to buy but how could one part with these?
Huge turnout for a perfect evening for cycling. Reasonable temps, low humidity, no wind and no rain. Nirvanna. Nathan made the official count and came up with 68, including Kevin H, one of Tuesday's Canal mainstays who drove up to check out the scene. Curiously, not there was Group Molester and also no Paul Stock or Grand Poobah and a couple of young guns also did not make it but still a strong group.
In the minutes leading up to the start, we gathered in the shade and solved a big problem for Tuna. She has been complaining that she thought she was not as areo as she thought she should be. We looked at her incredulously as we all observed the large bib protruding from the front of her new helmet, a feature everyone removes for road riding. Someone remarked that whenever she looks up to see how much of a gap has opened in front of her, the drag would send her farther behind.
Colnago Ron, a great guy to have in your group.
Although looking away, Catherine on the left, riding strong and Marty on the right, riding really strong. Guy kills it on the flats.
We headed out on a modest 43 mile route with 25 heading out with the A group, which included John Morgan, Terry, Mick, Billy Campbell, resplendent in a cool black/red BMC racing kit, redhead Bill, Gus, Marty, Dave Chesrown, Greg Hall, Kevin H, Catherine, Jeff S, Walker Dude, another BMC rider, Colnago Ron, a couple of new guys and other fit and thin types (sand bagging Dennis stayed back with the B+ group, along with Nathan, Dan, Flyin Tuna and others). We again headed out old 161 and what has become the norm with our Thursday rides, began again, short lived attacks that are covered but create havoc in the back. Unusually, Jeff S dropped off the pace and I wonder if the Tuesday effort is having an effect on his Thursday rides, he ain't no spring chicken anymore. A few more dropped too before we arrived at my favorite of all roads, Jersey Mill. However, spurred on by the comment an anonymous poster made last week on the blog, I decided not to give in so easily and shocked myself when we arrived at the bottom of the hill, in last place yes but still with the group.
Into Alexandria with a 24.1 average, which was one mph slower than the same spot last week so that probably helped me hang too. We cruised out Raccoon Valley to Louden, making a left and hitting that short ramp. Louden is a long road with several ramps at the end in the lead-up to Northridge, where we ran the stop sign and kept going onto Dutch Lane, Some where in there, Kevin and Catherine dropped off and our group was down to around 12. The pace stayed high out to Nicols Lane where we headed south and at this point, I began to think I may make it all the way. When I began to fatigue, so too did everyone else and the pace always slowed in the nick of time. Greg Hall, who rarely rides with us and I understand is moving out of the area soon, had done well but he too dropped and by the time we reached Duncan Plains Road, we were down to around 10. Reaching Green Chapel, we turned left, then left again at Clover Valley and right on Jug.
The group had been fairly mellow but here, the attacks began and kept going until turning left on Beech and then the right on Waltons Parkway which is nothing more than an attack alley all the way to the light. We cruised into the parking lot with a 24.1 average and only 1010' of climbing. We arrived well before 8:00pm and a couple of guys went back out to add miles. As others came in, the averages were impressive, maybe none so much as Cindy with a big grin and a 21.6 average, a new personal best. Post ride, the talk was about the Blue Jay ride and what to expect, nothing more than pain but fun and spectacular scenery. As I painted the route, I realized, rather than having forest to the edge of the roads, there are some fantastic panoramic views. When you ride the route, peek up once in awhile and check it out.