The only thing wrong with an evening like Tuesday's is the daylight runs out too fast. Large crowd of, according to Recumbent Dude, 54 in the parking lot for an interestingingly twisty, rolling route out east and back. As we shade dwellers passed the time prior to the start of the ride.......
......another parking lot fact came to light. Those who park in the upper lot, by the bank, tend to be the strongest cyclists while those who park in the lower lot, tend to be weaker. Not always the case but on average, the upper lot is for the elete level cyclist.
In addition to the large overall crowd, there were more strong Thursday night New Albany cyclists joining in our fun. Apparently, they have been oblivious to the joys of the Tuesday Canal routes and intensity. Too bad, so late in the season, we can not show them just how different Canal rides are from New Albany rides. Anyway, making his first appearance, I think, is Marty and with him was Dave Chesrown (center right). Also in the A group were many of the usual suspects like Da Boss, Dennis, Grand Poobah, Steve,O, Mark C, Jeff S, Todd Mullens, Logan the phenom, Ted M (almost recovered), 2 Jeni's, Mitch O, Claude, couple of new guys and because the route was thought to be flat, it pulled a few sandbaggers who normally ride with the A-/B+ group like Kevin H., Ryan, Recumbent Dude, John, etc..
Interest in filling out the ride leader team for next year is strong. Todd was upset because he was not asked to provide his considerable expertise and experience so, after checking with the dean of the team, Mitch, I told Todd he could assume the role of Technical Advisor. In this capacity, he will show newbie's how to function in a pace line, how to gutter the people behind you, how to draft and avoid taking a pull even on the June/July 50 mile routes, how to spit into a cross wind so it falls on the person behind you and the advanced course will show how to motor pace dropped riders and short cutting expertise.
Sadly, I have to address a betrayal of such enormity that I am stunned and saddened to report it. As long-time readers of this silly blog know, I have been plagued by banana peel deposits on and in my car. I have steadfastly maintained Steve O was the culprit because, I find the peel and I see Steve munching on a banana...I mean, what better evidence is there? Well, while I was using the rest room in Shades, one of my loyal friends who always has my back, took this image. YES!!!!!!, although grainy, it is DENNIS!!!!! The sender of the image, who wishes to remain anonymous, confirmed who and what Dennis was doing. A sad, sad day.
We headed across the bridge that spans #33 at a fairly high pace and as the lead group turned right, I was surprised to see, with so many cyclists in the group, it seemed I was 1/4 mile back from the front. Normally that is good for a super drafter like me but I knew the accordion effect would be a killer and as we cruised past the gas station toward the stop sign, I coasted on the inside to slot in the front 1/3 once things ramped up after the turn....except...after stopping I could not get my foot clipped in. Mitch had an encouraging word for me as he went by, "Damn it Mark!" I clipped in and sprinted to catch on, doing so at the turn by Kingys onto Basil Western. However, like a cat having 9 lives, my legs have limited sprint lives and I had just used one. Drafting out to the stop at Pickerington, I recovered a little and noted we already had dropped a couple of people. We continued on, reaching Carroll Northern where we turned right.
I could see Da Boss and a couple of the other stronger A's, taking turns pummeling us at the front with hard pulls. Fate intervened about the time I was scheduling my drop from the group, Da Boss and others missed the turn onto Bish and the front was renewed with "slower" A's. I enjoyed the rolling route out Bish but eventually, the rollers were taking their toll, some more were dropped and oh yeah, Da Boss, Marty & others reinserted themselves in front. We turned left on Bader and right on Leonard. Some where in there, a gap the size of an airport runway (length not width) opened in front of Poobah and then another in front of Jeff S with Kevin, Dennis and I unable or unwilling to try to close. We rode hard but just couldn't close with the tail of the main peloton and with that, I sat up and said, "Boys, that's it. It was a good workout." So, at mile 14 and with a 22.3 average, it was over except, Jeff S refused to give up and kept going but our group coalesced around Kevin, Claude, Dennis and me. We got onto Carroll-Eastern but turned left instead of right at Election House. We stopped to check a map and someone noticed a group making the correct turn so Kevin and Dennis took off. Claude yelled, "Wait for me" but Kevin, surrounded by a thick cloud of Chanel #5 cologne, otherwise known as the "Dome of Silence" must have missed that. I soft pedaled, waiting for Claude and Recumbent Dude came by. Soon, he and Claude worked together (I provided advice from the rear) and caught Kevin, Dennis, Mitch, Ryan and a couple of strangers at #33. We rode in together with some nice finish climbing on Amanda Northern and Slough, 30 miles and a 20.8 average. The lead group had a 22.5 average.