Tonight's ride leader, Amanda aka Corvair, asked my advice for the type of route she should produce. Before I could give her my idea of a flat one, Steve O got to her first and the result was predictable. As the maps were being passed out, the loudest of many groans came from Grand Poobah and who then began sobbing in despair. Someone suggested his nickname should be Grandpa Poobah. But wait, it got worse. Mark C announced that a road had become impassable so we were routed to, gulp, Pickerington!!!
Good turnout of around 45 cyclists, including a visit from Craig, aka Muscle Dude (on the right) from the New Albany gang. As you can guess, an elite climber he is not so tonight's hills were going to be a challenge. Would he continue the trend of New Albanites who come down and crush us? .
Whoa, would have been a good night to do the Spring version of "Women of the Tuesday Night Ride" photo essay.
A group of roughly 20 headed out with the A's, including Mitch Tallen, Dustin, Steve O, Mark C, Reynoldsburg Dan, Ashtabula visitor, Younger Phenom Nick (who loaned me a pair of arm warmers), Jeff S, Craig, John S, Scott who rides a Scott, Poobah. Kevin Olympus Dude and an assortment of others. We soft pedaled out Hill, turned right on Waterloo and upon crossing Winchester, the pace ramped up as we hit the long but gently slopped inclines up to Slough, where we hung a left. Probably this effort cut loose a couple of imposters but if not, what followed certainly would. Poobah suddenly took a flier off the front, likely to get a head start on the Slough hill. We screamed down into a ravine and Nick took an impressive line and got a huge gap, which was covered after the first climb, then another screaming descent and then emerged to the big climb. I was in the front group at the top but my legs were dead, maybe the Blue Jay effect from Sunday or just that I suck. We went straight at the bottom of the hill, turned right on Winchester and then on to the dreaded Pickerington climbs. I didn't even try to stay with the group of around 10 as they hit the opening slopes, instead pedaling with Jeff S up and over the multiple climbs. Ahead I could see Mitch and Dustin had gapped the others, then looked like Nick, Steve, Scott, Ashtabula guy, then Kevin, Mark C, Craig and 1 other. Eventually, Jeff and I turned left at Alspach and caught a green/white Lotto jersey guy who suggested we wait for two others behind us and then our group of 5 rode remorselessly on.
Getting on to Rock Mill, we gathered up Muscle Dude and now we were 6. The intensity remained high as we then caught Olympus Kevin and we were 7. Turning left on Duncan and heading east we approached Westfall and there was Mark C. I screamed, "We're coming for ya" and added him to our group and now we were 7, as the Lotto guy had dropped off. This was a good group of hard workers and with Kevin popping out of the peloton frequently to attack, I was on the rivet all the way, no surprise there. We turned left on Shaw, left again on Crumley, right on Mt. Zion and then, the evenings next big challenge, a left on Royalton. Kevin and Craig set the pace up the first long ramp and I clung to their wheels. The screaming descent through the "S" curve brought us to the next climb, then a brief coast to the base of the final climb and I reached the top first but exhausted and so used the old, "Let's regroup" trick to recover while we briefly soft pedaled. From there, we got onto Amanda Northern, a left on Marcy, a right on Sitterly and eventually back into the parking lot with a 20.2mph average, 37 miles and 2000' of climbing.
The front group had a 20.7 average and a contested sign sprint into Canal was won by the visitor from Ashtabula. Here, Steve Oxley gives away a logoed cap to the winner. Steve has decided to continue this each week with the winner receiving a cap or water bottle. However, it can only be won by not doing something stupid at the stop sign at Winchester. The sprint does not begin until whoever comprises the lead group is through the intersection. Also, the Grand Poobah rule is in effect. You must have started with the group and ridden the entire route in order to be eligible for the prize. Probably the person who accumulates the most sprint wins will get some kind of grand, year end prize but more on that later.