A long, long time ago, the Canal parking lot was ruled by fearsome beings such as Sarge, Peggster and other formidable types who were if not feared, certainly respected by all. Most of us could not wait to be released from the parking lot and to the open road just to get away from the parking lot Orcs.
Today's ride leader has evolved into a different sort of ride leader for a more civilized parking lot. Here, Hobbit Mitch bravely wearing pajama bottoms and purple shirt asks someone not to refer to the map because he only brought last week's maps.
Yes, Hobbit Mitch agrees that tonight will be a kumbaya night where we will all ride together, honor all traffic signs and even sing songs with tenors at the front and sopranos at the back of the peloton. It will be a joyful occasion of camaraderie.
Others lurking in the parking lot had other ideas. Here, Half Wheel Steve (when you try to pull ahead of him so he can draft for a minute he half wheels you to death) plots a different plan.
Recumbent Dude Nathan, resplendent in his Cat In The Hat jersey and headed to India on Thursday. We welcome the temporary leaving as it means he will be weak upon his return.
Another tough call if you were contemplating joining us for a ride. It appeared the rain would roll through before 6:00 so I made what is becoming an expensive drive to Canal (Yikes..$3.89 for gas!) and it had just quit raining as I rolled into the parking lot at roughly 5:20. Already there were Jeff S, Grand Poobah, Dennis and soon Mitch, Ryan, Steve O, Franz, Mark V, Jeremy, John S, Margarita Rick, Amanda, Keith, Pastor Mark, Bruce, Recumbent Dude....I'm forgetting someone but there was 18 of us. Up to the last minute, I thought of not going, you know, the wind, wet pavement kind of not really into riding and I forgot a water bottle but Dennis loaned me one so I suited up.
Mitch had forgotten the maps so he verbally sketched out a route going SW and off we went. Everyone kept together into Lithopolis and out Winchester but that cross wind coming from the left began to take its toll....on me. I could not get to the right of Mitch's wheel and after a few miles of undraft riding, the alarm bells began to toll but wait, here came Steve drifting off the front and I screamed for him to take my spot and he did and I slid to the right of his wheel as he was forced to the left of Mitch and I recovered. Whew, that was close but others were not so fortunate.
At some point, I began noticing a not unplesant odor that grew stronger and stronger. As we crested a ramp we could see a cyclist approaching and son-of-a-gun if it was not Kevin H, a.k.a. Pepe Lapew. That powerful colonge he wears for the rides carries a far distance. Despite my eyes watering, I'm sure it was him, out training for a return to the Canal ride.
We made a left somewhere and had a nice kind of up hill stretch but at kind of a high speed. Our group was down to Steve, Mark C, Nathan, Mitch, Poobah (or was that Keith and Todd had dropped, hard to tell them apart at a glance), Dennis and maybe Ryan. We reached Cedar Hill at mile 18 and out of the blue, the notion of a short cut appealed to me and I said "see ya later" and was greeted with derision and catcalls, which is to be expected. Dennis, fearing I would make off with his spare water bottle, escorted me in to Canal where we finished with 30 miles and a 20mph average. The long route was 36 miles and don't know the details of the finish.