After yesterday's debacle with the cycling clothing left in the dryer (I wash some pieces once a year whether they need it or not) I was determined not to make the same mistake this morning. I carried everything to the car the night before and so was good. Pretty good turnout at Cyclist Connection, maybe 30+??? Cold start at 36 degrees but light winds out of the south that were to build during the day so maybe we'd get a nice tailwind on the return. By the way, I have been negligent for not giving a shout out to Ric, who opens Cyclist Connection for us every Sunday morning despite that being an off day.
Our destination was Lancaster and we shoved off. We headed out Waterloo, crossing Winchester and then hitting the long, slightly uphill slog. Little Diesel took a nice pull, then Green Caboose and soon she waved me through and ahaaaa!!! I was given the opportunity to show these folks what 10 days cycling in CA will do for you. I put in a supreme effort all the way to Slough...turned to look at the damage I had wrought...THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!.....but wait.....the group had actually grown and even some "C" riders had caught back on including Eve.... at least I am certain my tolerance to alcohol has improved from that CA trip if not my cycling prowess.
We hit Sitterley, then Marcy over to Rock Mill, turning right, then left on Crumley and followed that all the way to #22, crossing over and eventually reaching Mill, crossing over #657 and turned onto the dreaded Stump Hollow. At last, here was an opportunity to show off them climbing legs. By this point, we were down to 8-9 consisting of Recumbent/Upright Dude, Jeff S, Franz, Kenda Janet, Amanda, Kent, Chris (riding a brand new Project One Trek that is solid black with electric shifters), Recumbent Dude's brother-in-law and one other guy. We hit the opening ramp....gawd that is steep. hit the steeper ramp.....been awhile since I unclipped......hit the steeper yet ramp and then finished on the steepest ramp which is 20%. I am proud to say I finished in the top 10, although someone denigrated that performance by making some comment about how much easier it is with a 28 in back! I'll have you know I could have easily climbed the hill in a 27 3/4 if I had too.
We rolled into Lancaster and stopped at Four Reasons. I was thrilled that Little Diesel ordered not only a ham and egg sandwich but, get this, some kind of pumpkin crisp. Having him add an 1' or two to the back side and waist will only benefit those of us who draft so I say, "Bring it on big guy!" I left a little early with Canal Susan, Kenda J and Kenda Rick. We got through the monster climb on Stringtown Road and turned left on Rainbow. I was daydreaming when suddenly Jeff and Chris caught up and zoomed by. I struggled to retain a reasonable gap and was thankful the stop sign at #158 did what I was unable. Others caught up and then we crossed and headed up the hill. Jeff had gone into "Tuesday COP A Group Effort" and it took everything I had to hang on. We reached the top with just Jeff, Chris and me and this time, Jeff wasn't waitin for anyone and poured on the coals and streaked out Rainbow. We made the usual left on Coonpath and then the quick right and quick left onto Havensport. I had put in a short pull before Jeff sent me to the back of the line and took over again. We reached Pleasantville, then Lockville and finally back to Canal. 47 miles and 2800' of climbing. I've noticed each season is a very long season and the evidence to date suggests this one will be longer than most. Fore anyone?