Tuesday afternoon. John Sada called me to ask if Craig Butler would be at the Canal ride. This was not my week to keep track of "Da Janitor" (he insulted me again tonight so I must demote him, again) so I did not know but I shot Craig an email and told him some of the guys with whom he had rode during Blue Jay wanted another shot at him. Craig did not reply because he was running an 8 mile route, prior to the Canal ride....figures.
Ted M on the right, Tall Dude (Donn) on the left. Ted fell a couple of weeks ago, separating a shoulder and bruising ribs so he is at 1/2 pace right now. Tall Dude went over his handle bars a few weeks ago but escaped major injury. Nevertheless, he has not been riding much because his normal riding buddies either don't like to ride in the heat (Roy) or were involved in a car accident (Ross' car was T-boned). Too bad.
Alright, now the bad news on top of the bad news I received this weekend. Todd seemed friendly toward me as we chatted for a couple of minutes. I turned to grab something from my car trunk when suddenly...bam! Grand Poobah sucker punched me from behind. I had heard he was none too happy about things I have been saying both on the blog and to others but come on, whacking me from behind??? I was seeing stars and slumped to the asphalt. Poobah began viciously kicking me and I curled into the fetal position, settling in for a sustained beating. Anyone who has ridden with Poobah can probably guess what happened next, yep, his heart rate quickly went into the red zone and he short cutted the beating. Whew. I was humiliated but what could I do...slink away and not show my face around until next year or take the beating like a man and ride? I rode despite what I was sure were cracked ribs. I noted no one leapt to my defense but folks did have time to snap images
Small turnout with spotty green blobs showing up on radar. Butch estimated we had an hour to ride before the rain would arrive. Peggster made the shocking announcement that she was resigning her position as one of the 4 ride leaders. Peggster seems stressed out and I suspect her new class of students may be a handful for this normally mild mannered and pleasant lady. Craig Clark also must resign so there are two openings for Canal ride leaders next year. I said I would fill one spot but I did that just to get a cheer from the crowd (I'm kidding Peggster). However, we do need someone else to join Mitch, Donna and me so step up and volunteer.
We headed out on a flatish route and just as we were leaving, John Sada and John gorilla joined us, having arrived late. Fairly hard pace out Waterloo but not quite as intense as last week. In our group of 12 were Da Janitor, Steve O, Tim Tyler, Mark C, Logan the Phenom, Poobah, Jeff S, Sada, Gorilla, Tri Andrew, Claude, me and maybe another. We cruised through Lithopolis and got over onto Winchester. The wind was very strong out of the southwest with gusts in the mid 30's and with 90 degree temp, not the ideal riding conditions. A long portion of Winchester was recently chipped and sealed, creating kind of a narrow path between the berm on the right and a ridge of loose stone on the left. It was kind of unnerving to have to keep the bike between the two while at the same time keep my front wheel within a couple of inches of the wheel in front of me. I was trapped behind John G and Craig, slotted in the 3rd spot. These two took a couple of long pulls and when Craig pulled out, leaving the front to me I, without exactly saying so, said, "Thank you very much but no thanks." and drifted to the back. Jeff S had dropped out early because his riding has been cut back drastically the last month but the Little Diesel will be back soon. I think Andrew dropped out too.
We kept going for a long time out Winchester until turning left on Fairfield Royalton. The next few miles all the way out to Cedar Hill were a combination of many rollers that had a debilitating effect and at mile 17, Poobah dropped and soon thereafter, John S dropped too. As we slowed to turn right on Cedar Hill, I joked to Steve that it had been fun but.... suddenly, someone punched it out of the corner up the hill and I got gapped and quickly folded like a cheap suit. So, at mile 19, I was done with a 21.1 average. I stayed on the route for a little while but glancing back toward Canal, noticed several areas of showers in the distance. I turned around and soon was enveloped in light rain. Within about a mile of Lithopolis, it began pouring and I skidded to a stop under a large pine that gave decent cover. The wind began to howl with severe gusts and my shelter was soon engulfed in rain coming at me sideways. Thoroughly soaked and becoming chilled, I remounted the bike and plodded on but within a mile, the rain stopped and the sun kind of came out through a narrow slit of clouds producing a fabulous mix of orange and purple.
I arrived in the parking lot and many others too were soaked. Kind of a dreary scene but finished with around 30 miles and an average of 19.7. Meanwhile, a core group of Craig, John G, Steve O, Mark C and Luke held together to the end and rode through the severe winds to finish with 37 miles and a 22mph average.
By dusk, John S was still a not back and John G, who rode down with Sada, was patiently waiting. I don't think either John had time to pick up a map so hope John S arrived back ok.