This was a ride that felt like it had more climbing then it did, probably because of the first time exposure this year to this level of heat and humidity. Still, with 4600' of climbing on a 76 mile route, the Pancake route was anything but flat. We made it into Utica but I counted only 18 who made it that far with others choosing for a shorter route to Granville or having mechanical issues (Kendaites) that prevented them from hooking up with us. Utica was crowded from the ice cream festival and another group of cyclists who had started from New Albany, arrived at the same time we did, made the parking lot at the gas station a busy place. We headed out Black Snake, worked our way over to Bell Church, then Divan and on into Bladensburg via Henpeck. When I arrived, there was a gaggle of bikes in front of the restaurant and another in front of a market immediately to the right. Exercising rare discipline, I choose not to enter the restaurant from where I was certain to waddle an hour later carrying a large portion of greasy fries and hamburger in me. I knew this would cause me to be subjected to viscious abuse later but I did what I had to do and settled in with the market crowd.
We stayed only 20 minutes before a group of 7 headed south on Henpeck towards the tough stretch on Long Run, Pine View, Purity and Loches. Farmer Mike, soon to turn an unbelieveable 68 in a couple of weeks not only hung with us but literally drove us, despite claiming that he had to "taper back" in anticipation of riding the Mohican trail the next day. Throughout the route, I had been hanging back to ensure people did not miss turns and otherwise being a good group organizer. Early on Loches, I had to take a call and therefore got behind. I figured they would wait for me at the top of the hill, then in St. Louisville or somewhere but no.....Only the intervention of the monster climb on St. Joseph allowed me to rejoin them. We headed up the hill on Chatham and passed the crazy dude on the bike who began shouting at me, as he frequently does. By the way, it is because of a fall from a bike during his youth that created his condition but interestingly, Kenda Janet actually carried on a conversation with him a couple of weeks ago so he is capable of more than shouted gibberish when given the right circumstances.
We arrived in Granville, pooped, hot and irritable. Everyone just wanted to get the ride over with and we kept going and finally ended up back in Johnstown where SuperDave was temporarily dazed from the effort and heat emitting from the blacktop parking lot. A brief rest in the shade allowed him to recover. I had wondered what happened to the pancake eaters and so I packed up and drove east on Concorde. Not until I reached Northridge did I find them.