Yep, last night, on the same night that the NFL was conducting its draft of college football players, we had the NFL ride, the Not For Long ride. Why is that you wonder? Well, since the weekend race is Sunday rather than Saturday, every A cyclist that has ever shown for a Thursday ride was at this ride save for a very few exceptions. Rich Lewis, Mitch Tallen, Dave Chesrown, Marty, Billy Campbell, Chris Grisvard, Pete C, Shannon, Rob Rhodes, Christian, Tim & Lisa Tyler, Gus & Peggy, Mike Rea, Doug M, Rick Miller, Jon Sada, Eddy, Paul Stock, Muscle Dude, Dustin, Jon Morgan, Ron, Mick, Dan, Dennis....30 leaving the parking lot.
It was a little chaotic during the lead up to the ride. Suzzane B, from COP, pulled in with a set of maps and the official COP sign-up sheets and soon thereafter, Shannon pulled in with maps and unofficial sign-up sheets. Uh oh, I hoped this would not evolve into a permanent split but a few moments in private resulted in Shannon now having the imprimatur of COP and all is well with the Thursday New Albany world, still. We did follow two different routes, the A's using Shannon's the rest using Suzzane's but that was only for tonight.
Dustin, one of the bright lights of the Canal Winchester boys, arrived. Dustin has been having back problems and frequent treatments are cutting into his riding. Unfortunately it was something else that took him out early in the ride.
Trapped in a day long gloom that exceeded the forecast by several hours, it was still raining as I left Granville but the horizon began brightening, the rain stopped and upon arriving in New Albany, the sky was clearing but the wind, geez, here it came again. Had to be 15-20mph out of the northwest. Poobah admitted that he had studied the map and knew where he needed to be at each turn to stay out of the wind. He is so crafty. Here, Todd continues his interview of fellow cyclists, trying to figure out where all the power has gone. Pete C tells him badminton is not a bad sport.
Our swarm pulled out of the parking lot, hit the corner and then, BOOM. Shannon turned on the after burners and we rocketed out 161, turned left at Kitzmiller, jetted out to Jug, turning left and accelerated. Meanwhile, Dustin was commenting to me that the road felt like it was rolling and then a few minutes later, POW! Flat tire. A few minutes later, POW! Paul Stock with a flat, the group spread to avoid, reformed and the group rolled on, inexorably onward. The speed and intensity began taking its toll, Rick M drifted back (knowing his ride schedule, he had probably already done 100 that day), I jumped across the gap while noting Lisa drifting back, Dennis then Ron but kept my nose close to Mick's wheel when suddenly, a largish gap opened in front of him. Too late to notice and too tired to cover it was over for me. Mick, Lisa and I turned left on Clover Valley, then Dennis caught up and we arrived at Miller Road to find the lead group turning around and re-emerging onto Clover Valley.
We joined back up with the wind whipping across the road but I was fine and just before turning right and down wind onto Green Chapel, I had a vision. Yes, I could see the future clearly, I was going to ride with the group all the way to Louden and then turning south, I would get cut out with the cross wind and ride all the way back into that freakin wind, of which I am sick of now. I sat up and turned around, finishing with 15 miles and a 20.4 avg. I've been looking at my ride results over the last several weeks, not good.