Jeff Schluep, my candidate for COP ride leader MVP, had to miss tonight's ride and left another Jeff to fill in. Jeff did a good job except he forgot to send out the A group and also the B group. I may discuss having him drop down to AAA level and spend some time with Peggy in Canal before bringing him back up to the big league. Above , he is looking wistfully toward the road, hoping more than Todd Lee and I show for the ride, and they did come, amazingly so considering radar and weather forecast.
Recumbent Dude, seldom riding the recumbent these days, just back from 3 weeks in India. A weight gain of 8 pounds and 3 weeks of the bike ensured he was not in his best cycling fitness but nevertheless held up well, except for failing to call out an overhanging limb that almost knocked me out cold and took Tri-Mike down. Now, about that jersey....
Weather radar was, once again, not encouraging when I left home and when I pulled into the parking lot, seeing only Todd L and substitute ride leader Jeff, I wondered if it was a wasted trip. However, Todd had whipped out the cell phone and loaded the most recent radar images and it appeared masses of green blobs were all going just south, although we were driven into our cars at least once with a brief shower. Around 5:30, cars started streaming in from all over and we actually had 25-30 at the start. Jeff S had created the maps for Sub Jeff and predictably, the route has us going out 161 and then down that long stretch on Jersey Mill where I spin out the back of the pack. Jeff does this just to vex me, I think. I decided to ride with the B;s, a good group that included Jon the Dentist, Farmer Mike, Tri Mike, Recumbent Dude, Greg Hall, Mark V and others. To be honest, my son mysteriously stated he wanted to be a pastry chef when he grew up and literally, every day I've been making trips to the store to buy mint extract, brown sugar, granulated sugar, raspberries, etc... with which he has made some very good pies, doughnuts, cakes, cookies and other treats, all of which I am compelled to taste. I've added 5 pounds in 3 weeks and feel fat and slow.
I took a pull out 161 and noted the A group was not very invigorated and rather than losing ground, we were slowly gaining. A red light allowed us to all group and probably 25 were together at that point. The green light spurred Retro George and he rode by to assume the lead, despite me yelling at him to get back in line and with that, the pace picked up to a normal A pace. We zoomed out 161 to 310 and then a right onto Jersey Mill. Oh well, I spit the bit and soft pedaled, just hoping to reach Alexandria before the B group, which had drifted out of the pack along 161. Sure enough they came by and I hopped on, going out Raccoon Valley Road before making a left onto Hardscrabble and that long uphill. Eventually, we made it to Jug and Recumbent Dude was taking a pull although by now he was leaking oil like a Model T. The 3 weeks of heavy eating in India was taking its toll and with his head down, he failed to notice a fallen GINORMOUS tree that had a limb the diameter of a telephone pole sticking over the road. I was in the 3rd position behind Jon the Dentist, who saw the limb and swerved. I looked up just in time for the impact. No kidding, without a helmet I would have been out cold and the sudden loss of momentum caused those behind to take emergency maneuvering to avoid crashing. As I shook the stars from my head I good naturedly admonished Nathan with a “Dude, you’re supposed to point that stuff out for us.”. Too funny.
We finished with 38 miles and a 20.5 average. The lead group finished with a 22.3mph average.