Having previously stood in a foundry, just a couple of feet in front of a pot of molten steel just as a worker picked the pot up with tongs and poured the liquid into a mold, in July, I have a fair point of comparison to what it felt like at the start of the Canal COP ride....it was like standing in front of a freakin furnace! I got to the parking lot extra early to claim one of the very few shady spots but discovered Jeremy was already parked in the most coveted of spots so I found one in front of the bank. I had hoped Ryan would not be in charge of tonight's route because that sadist would have put us on the Revenge route or repeats out Pickerington Road. Instead, thankfully, the meek and kind Peggy produced a very reasonable flatish route with even an opportunity to add miles into Amanda for drinks. What a lady!
It was so hot and humid the turn out was very low and had I not been in need of the calorie burn, I too would have been MIA. The opportunity for interesting images was low so I put the camera away and then a bunch of people arrived late to swell the ranks to a meager 35. Peggy rallied the A group and a surprisingly largish group rolled out with Da Boss, Steve O, 2 Walker guys, Jeff S, Mitch, Ryan, Claude...maybe 8-10. Then the next group rolled out of Dennis, Recumbent Dude, Jeremy, Amanda (I hear the boyfriend slot has already been filled), Canal Susan and several others who I see some times but do not know. Also there was a tri guy with the interesting first name of Iyax (pronounced "eye X") who crushed my fingers when I made the mistake of introducing myself after the ride.
We rolled out to Lithopolis, then out Elder. Even riding in the breeze did nothing to moderate the heat. It was hot at rest, hot when pedaling and hot when coasting. We cruised out Winchester and for the most part, Dennis soft-pedaled and kept everyone together. We made a left on Royalton, jogged over to Winter before making a right on Cedar Hill. While a few rollers cut the group up a bit, we still had 6-8 people and Dennis still took pity on us. We turned onto Westfall and we're greeted by a layer of tar but by staying on the road edge for a hundred yards, we got around it and arrived at Amanda Northern Road. Here it was noted that Amanda had fallen off the pace. I wanted to pause for her but Recumbent Dude said, "Make her work for it." and so on we went, eventually making it to Salem Church. On this route, Recumbent Dude was king and we frantically worked to stay on his wheel. It became known as taking a pull behind Nathan if you were in the #2 spot and when he rotated off the front, the #2 person was rewarded with another pull. By the time we reached Salem Church, we were down to Dennis, me, RD and one other person who was always drafting but given my reputation, how could I object?
Now, in the mean time and slightly ahead of us, there was a little action in the A group. They too had taken an easier pace, reaching Amanda Northern where they turned south to go into Amanda for drinks. From there they went out Sand Hill and then Rock Mill. So far, as is usual, the Walker guys had tried to agitate a little in the first half of the ride only to then disappear on their own route. After the Amanda stop, roughly at Westfall, Da Boss suddenly took off on the climb, leaving Nate (in NU jersey), Claude and Steve O to ride in a small group and who knows what happened to everyone else. Our group caught one cast-off but he was unable to hang with Nathan's tire burning pace, as few could who are not ultrasuperamazingly fit. The front A group finished with a 21.2mph average.
We reached the parking lot with 37 miles and a 20mph average. I must say, Nathan has gone to getting dropped just after the warm up phase on his upright to now dominating the A-/B+ group. It's maddening to catch and drop him on anything exceeding a 1% grade and then watch him scream around on anything flat or slightly down hill. As I constantly drafted behind RD or Dennis it left me time to ponder these issues, which I observed during the ride:
1. Taking a pull while crouched in aero bars. Back in the day, it was considered bad form to take a pull while in the tuck position using aero bars. The thinking was this denied the opportunity for the person behind to draft, just before that person was expected to take a turn at the front.
2. Tucked into the aero position while in the middle of the group. Also back in the day, this too was frowned upon because the person using the aero bars was more unstable and not able to react as fast to an unplanned stop.
Do these unwritten rules still apply or a relic of the past?