I asked Jamie if I could post his observation from the A group ride since I was not there to witness. He kindly agreed: Here's my ride report. Started out with Mark C, guy on white Merckx bike, Jeff S, Ryan, and one other person that was dropped quickly. We worked together pretty well for 15 miles or so. There was a longish hill that we hit before Amanda (several miles before), and it was pretty clear that guy on white merckx was the superior rider. He was leading and I was able to follow, but was being pushed very hard while he looked like he was out for an easy ride. I knew it was crazy to spend so much energy trying to keep up, so I soft pedalled over the top and waited for the rest of the group. By this time, it was only Mark C and Ryan. Guy on white merckx then noticed no one was with him, and he slowed down until the three of us got back on. From then until Divan we worked together and rode pretty well.
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.