Walked out to my car Saturday morning and was greeted with a surprising light rain. During the drive to the ride start, it continued to rain and did so all the way up to the 8:00am start. We've been so spoiled by the ideal, albeit hot, weather that this light amount of rain produced a lot of grumbling about quitting or delaying the ride. Out of the 40+ who were at the start, probably 10 got in their cars and took off either to Bob Evans (Roll folks) for a 1 hour delay or just went home.
Listening to Flyin Tuna, our ride leader, caution us about various matters. Actually, after all those rides hosted for decades, in which she produced very crummy quality maps, this time she produced a brilliant map. Large, very readable with queue sheets, I was impressed, as was everyone else. Shocked might be a better description. However, I began to think about this. The difference was so great, almost "unbelievable" it made me a little suspicious. It would be analogous to a Cat 5 racer going off to Italy for a month or two for "vacation" and coming back as a Cat 1. It would be like a D average student moving in to the seat next to a A+ student and suddenly achieving good grades. Engineer Mitch O, a well known mastermind map maker, was at the ride and it suddenly occurred to me that Mitch had made the maps for Cindy! There could be no other explanation for the huge, gargantuan disparity between the new map and the hundreds of crummy ones that had come before it. Anyway, we were glad to have good maps and shoved off.
Hard to believe, but about a mile or two from the start, we escaped the rain and the rest of the ride was dry. As we went farther south, we even saw some sun, along with brisk winds. Great route full of hills via Fairmont, Mt Hope, 757, in to Somerset. After a stop to refuel, we shoved off but I hung back with Kenda Janet and Paul and Kevin Kramer. It's always a good idea to spend some time with Kenda Janet, she of the fun personality and knowledge of what is going on in the peloton. Her knowledge is so vast about our group that it makes me wonder if part of her job at Verizon is monitoring our calls as part of some kind of surveillance software. We grimly tackled the hills on Palomino, Pen, Flag Dale and Marietta before cruising into Bremen. Here, a couple of new people watch a horse and buggy pass. I think the guy on the right is Ron, from Dublin. Seemed like good guys and it's always good for newbies to slot in with us.
Here, the circle of trust was formed and despite their understandable lack of it in me, didn't mind when I slotted in. So, from Bremen, about 15 of us headed out on the loop that produced a total distance of 80 miles including the two new guys, Mitch, Mark C, Andrew, Flyin Tuna, Nathan, Dean, Kevin H, Retro George, Tri Andrew, Jeff S & others.
Eventually, we reached Thornport where we took our 3rd break. Tuna asked me to take her picture so I did, of her stalking toward me to grab my camera out of my hands. I was able to put it away before it got in her clutches. Wow, amazing what a 100 mile, 10,000' ride the week before does to ones endurance. I was still feeling good at the end of this 80 mile ride and enjoyed the pace that kept most of us together. Well, looking at creating a route for Tuesday that includes the great Becks Knob climb, one I don't think we've been on for a long time.