I knew Divan had hills, and Mark did too, and I noticed he was sitting back saving himself. I knew I was going to be under pressure in a short amount of time. Ryan took some pulls, and after the ride he told me he was trying to drop me since he figured it would be harder to do in a couple weeks. His strategy didn't work and he ended up being the next one to drop somewhere on Divan (or near there, don't recall all the roads). We got on the first big hill, and guy on white merckx rode away from Mark and I pretty easily. Mark made several surges, and I was able to respond ... for a time. About 3/4 way up my legs were on fire and Mark gapped me, but not by much, and I was able to catch back on. Guy on white merckx waited up and the three of us went back to work. For the next several miles Mark and I battled it out. I shouldn't say battled, as I was merely trying to hang on, I did not have the legs to do any attacking. I weathered the storm pretty well, and I think only one other time was I gapped, but again managed to get back on.
I actually started feeling pretty good, and was having no issues at all over the constant rollers and minor hills. I even took my pulls and put in a good effort.
At mile 34 we turned onto Coonpath Rd. I was not expecting those hills, and at first I thought I'd be able to hang on, but my bike started "jumping gears", which caused me to sit down so I could shift into something that wasn't jumping, and at that point the gap wasn't so big, just a couple meters, so I tried giving it some gas but my gears jumped again, and so I sat and watched as the gap got wider, and it got wide quickly. I don't want to say that my bike is the reason I got gapped, as I would have eventually been dropped, it just quickend the dropping.
As we approached Pickerington Rd I thought I was actually closing down on them, but by time I made the turn and crested that first hill on Pickerington, they were in sight but too far away for me to catch up. I rode a pretty good pace and effort through some little town (lockborne maybe), at which point I lost site of Mark and guy on white merckx, so I stopped to consult the map. After a couple minutes Jeff and Ryan rolled up, so we rode back in together.
I ended up with 43 miles and 20.6 average. Garmin reported about 3000 ft climbing exactly. Don't know if it was that much, but it was certainly one of the hillier Canal rides that I can recall.