There are long days, there are longer days, there was The Longest Day and then there was today, the mother of all long days. As someone commented, it was "triple dog day afternoon". Where to start...well.....how bout at the beginning? Steve O turning 53+/- brought people out in droves, including Grand Poobah a.k.a. Todd Lee, showing his better side here. There is Kenda Janet in the background with that weird garb she wears pre-ride.
There were 21 of us at the start but sadly, Tall Dude and Ross embarked on their own route. Personally, I was devastated by this because Tall Dude is a good dude behind whom to draft. Never mind, there were still several large bodies from which to choose. At the start were birthday fella Steve O, Mark C, Tri Andrew, Larry P & Lisa, Green Caboose, Cyclist Connection Kayla, Jeff S, Margarita Rick, Mark V, John S, Kenda's Janet and Dave, Chuck, a 14-year-old phenom and dad, Jeremy and Grand Poobah.
Oh My! This shocking occurrence had to be recorded because it is likely Grand Poobah taking his only pull of 2011. Stunning stuff this. Actually, you can tell the guy has spent way too much time down south and is way ahead of most of our fitness schedules. Mark C did not have maps so it is difficult for me to remember the route as I kept tucked in behind various wide bodies. However, we went through Ashville into fierce wind (consistently at 25+mph with gusts in the 30's) and here the kid & dad cut off and Kendas J & D disappeared too.
We went through South Bloomingfield and had a brief stop in Commercial Point. Integrity requires me to accurately report a series of what can best be described as uncharacteristic lapses in manhood. Larry P was whining like a little girl about taking a short cut before the short cut. I've known Larry a long time and heretofore he has always been a rock, a piece of granite a man of solid character so to witness his whimpering performance (in other words sounding just like me) was hard for me to swallow. Anyway, he convinced Lisa and Mark V to take the 60 mile SHORTCUT and thus, we were down to 10 for the 100 mile route.
Actually, I was surprised so many of us opted for the long route. Oh yeah, birthday boy begged these three beautiful women to pose with him because it's his birthday. They managed to force a smile before being released. Talk about a thorn surrounded by rose petals. Hey, watch those hands boy!
After 58 miles mostly into winds from Hades, we made it to Mount Sterling. The winds were BRUTAL!!!!!. Our average speed entering MS was 15.4 and I felt sorry for those who had preformed most of the pulling but thanked my lucky stars I was not one of them. We stopped at a restaurant called Ben & Joes or something like that. Good home-made food and we ate like starving POWs or something. To top it off, the waitress brought Steve a piece of pecan pie with a candle and we sang happy birthday. Then, Todd ordered cherry pie and I got caught up in the nonsense and ordered a piece of pecan pie, as did someone else. So much for using the ride to burn more calories then those consumed! During our meal, Andrew stripped down to shorts and T-shirt and revealed that excessive winter weight lifting now requires him to wear a Manziere.
Then, something wonderful happened. We took a stretch of road that was down wind. HOLY MACKEREL!!! WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!! It was absolutely glorious. While drafting, I was coasting at 30+mph for long stretches. We made a couple of brief trips on roads swept by cross winds but mostly, it was DOWN WIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. We cruised into South Bloomingfield at around 80 miles and I was still feeling pretty good.
The temperature was in the low 60's so there, some of us redressed and we were witness to Amanda stripping down to her bike shorts, removing the tights. Therefore, we were witness to the "Mother of all Pasty Legs". Curiously, Todd bought one of those tiny bottles of "5 Hour Energy Performance" which was a sign the great one was running out of steam. Also, as I checked out with my can of blue Monster, birthday boy sided up and said, "You haven't donated anything yet for my birthday have you?" This put me off my game and I was taken aback a little. Steve asked if I could give him a dollar as he expected to be short for his purchase. Unfortunately, my remaining $3 was almost entirely used to pay for my Monster so I had to decline. Then, I looked into his open wallet and saw two $10 bills. Thus, I was introduced to the, "Mother of all Cheap Skates". Dude had $20 in his wallet and was hitting me up for a $1. What's up with that?
We left South B and headed toward Canal but Kayla, after consuming bacon and other tummy upsetting goods while at Bend & Joes (or some name like that), was having stomach issues so some of us hung back to nurse her in. We finished with 102 miles, 3600' of climbing and a rather pedestrian average of 17mph. I was still feeling strong so my strategy of drafting "Every Freaking Mile" paid off. May ride with the Canal ride on Sunday and try to recover from a very long day.