Pre ride radar seemed to indicate most of the rain would pass just to the south of New Albany and as it turns out, this was the case. However, others must have reasoned differently so the turnout wasn't as large as last week, maybe 30-35 cyclists. Not there was Todd Lee and so I took his favored parking space under the only tree that provides shade. I felt very privliged and somewhat cool too.
Pre-ride talk centered on Saturday's Mountain Mama ride in Monterrey, West Virginnia, a place so remote it makes Barrow, Alaska seem like a teeming metropolis. At least 5 people are going down without already securing a place to stay, hoping to find a place once down there but unless they enjoy sleeping in a briar patch, there will not be room at the inn. Of those I know going down are Tuna, Amanda, Franz, Jon the Dentist, Retro George and his friend Big Chainring, Kevin H, Randy D, Pastor Mark and several others, to face the 10,000' of climbing distributed over 9 climbs in a 100 mile route. I've done the ride a couple of times and the food stops are fantastic, they don't time you so no pressure to race the route. The veterans know to leave a few minutes early to avoid the crush of cyclists on the first downhill, where a woman went left of center the last time I did the ride, impacted with a truck and died.
We headed out old 161, which has the unusual distintion of being an uphill ride coming from the west and it is somehow uphill coming from the east. After contemplating this for a long time I finally figured out this 5 mile stretch of 161 is the top of the globe, where regardless from which direction you approach the top of the globe, it is uphill until the top is reached, right? Therefore, the top of the world is between New Albany and Granville. Cool. We started out at a reasonable pace and then a Walker guy sprang from the pack and drilled it, then a Eshelon/Trek twosome, two-timed us, clearly trying to see how many of us they could drop, always taking a long look back when they came off the front. Their problem was a cross wind put lots of pressure on the front but in the back, we were lined right to left and not too uncomfortable. We reached #310 with a 22.7mph average and 10 people. Then we turned onto Jersey Mill, my personal Waterloo, where an extended downhill stretch kicks me out if the group pushes the speed above 33 for very long. The Walker guy drilled it again and the group rocketed away. Too bad but switching out of my compact crank isn't worth the trade-off in the hills. I later learned the group inadvertently took a wrong turn and only did 37 miles. I rode alone for a long time into Granville, up and over the ridge and out New Burg to Stone Quarry. There the B group of Mark V, Jon the Dentist, Mike Mills, probably 10-12 came by and I jumped on, riding with them the rest of the way in for a 20.4 average over 43 miles.
After the ride, Retro George, temporarily employed until enough money can be saved to allow his return as a cycling bum, drove to meet us in New Albany. Jon the Dentist thinks George is driving Jon and friend to WV. George says Chainring is driving with 2 others in separate van I've got my spies out along the road to take images and file reports so hopefully there will be a good story to tell. Also note Nathan has checked in from India and posted a comment. Maybe he'll keep us posted as he and daughter navigate India for 3 weeks. Keep the reports coming Recumbent Dude.