Feverishly, I scanned the maps, satellite images, "mapmyride.com", past ride reports, etc... looking for that special route with many new roads to make Craigs, "Thanks For Letting Me Kick Your Ass All Year Ride" a memorable experience. Craig had delegated this responsibility to me (as well as all other facets of planning, promotion, recruiting and post ride analysis) so I did not want to disappoint the great one. I am proud to be able to claim the route was a good one with many new roads.
At the start, there was Kenda Janet & Paul but where are those other Kendaites? Cindy and Rod had eaten at a new Chinese restaurant in Granville for their anniversary so she was asked how she liked it. Curiously, she said she is used to eating at buffets so having to order off the menu was a new experience and she didn't like it as well???? Craig was asked if in honor of the nature of the ride, would he stick with the group for more than the 1st mile and to his credit, he did.
The ride was a little late getting started with Margarita Rick and Ginger being late arrivals but the opportunity to ride alongside a celebrity like Rick was worth the wait. Also joining us was Da Boss, Steve O, Jeff S, Cindy, Jeff, Dennis, Kenda Janet & Paul, Mark V, Amanda and Jeremy. The forecast had been for sunny skies but not a single blue patch was seen at the start yet the start temperature was around 40 and probably stayed there too. Out on the road, the first new patch of road was reached in Lithopolis. We arrived at the main street that was under construction and dropped onto the new road and exited it 20' later.
After 17.5 miles, at a medium fast pace, we arrived in Amanda, having stayed on Cedar Hill all the way to Ridge, then over to Amanda Northern. I jumped from the group at St. Rt. 22, just missing a large RV and grabbed the sign sprint. I am against stop sign jumping unless I am the beneficiary of it. We had a fun time cavorting around the gas station but my mission was to look for the telltale signs given off by route short-cutters. You know who they are, whipping out the map while standing off to the side, frequent glances at one's watch, not filling the water bottle because they won't need it, etc... I was not disappointed and soon had rounded up the Kendaites, Jeremy, Rick and Jeff. Frankly, a year of short cutting has left my legs with little endurance and at the current pace, oy vey! Da Boss announced he had brought a sheet cake to share with everyone....but after the ride. This put me in a real quandary, ride the extended route and eat cake or take the short cut and miss it. Then, Craig announced he would give me his car keys so I could short cut and eat my cake too. WHAT A GREAT GUY!!!! We shortcutters parted ways with the long riders, with the intention of, once we arrived at Westfall, going east and getting back on the long route, probably ending with around 45 but at Rock Mill, I headed straight back for that cake. Arriving in the parking lot with 35 measly miles, I threw my bike into the car and headed straight for Craig's vehicle. My hands shook as I cut into the cake and savored the first bite.
Later, the long group arrived (I was long gone) and some ate at Shades. Later, later, Dennis and woman, Mitch, Steve O, Cindy and Rod attended Rick's starring role in "Greetings" (see below) and had a great time. My intent was to begin organizing winter metric century rides from different locations beginning this Saturday but with my beloved Buckeyes playing at noon, I'll have to postpone until the following Saturday. However, some of us are planning to ride Friday and I'll post that option later this week as the weather forecast clears.