Lighter turnout than last week, at least among the B group, so the "seasoned" cyclist who intended to give some pre-ride pointers decided to let it pass. Here, Betsy, Brian and David Smith sign in.
Nathan on the left, reflects on the many good times he's experienced on the Thursday New Albany rides. This time one week from now he'll be in San Francisco (Pleasanton actually just over the mountain from San Fran) and missing our fun group. Dave C checks in, in the background.
Prior to the ride, Paul Stock gave me two "Pedal with Pete" water bottles (and a T-shirt too) for plugging the ride on the blog. Being water bottle rich, I immediately thought who may need one and recalled that Retro George usually rides with a bottle of Gatoraide or water so I donated one to him. Here, he graciously accepts. Now, the guy really needs a new frame. Someone out there Shirley has a 56cm frame or bike that they want to give to the guy to get him off that steel frame. Come on, step up and help this character out!
Well, the parking lot was abuzz about John Sada's Colorado exploits while sometimes riding with the Lizard Head tour group and sometimes mixing it up with the pro peloton as the tour group followed the pro peloton's route. One person claimed on one day, John started with the tour group's B group, caught the A group, kept going and caught the pros. Another said John had a hired hand along serving as a domestique whose role was to pull him in to each finish town first. Others speculated about what the benefit would accrue to someone who had spent a week training at altitude and is also rumored to have an altitude tent at his home. I don't know what is the truth to any of what I heard but it sure is entertaining. Here, a different John in the foreground, than Christian and Mick signing in.
Unfortunately, all the good times had to come to an end at 6:00, as I got on the bike and shoved off with a group that included Marty, Dave C, Kyle W, Jon M, Gus Cook, Muscle Dude, John Sada, Mick, Ron, Tym & Lisa Tyler, Danny A, Steve Nelson, Steve Fields and a few others, totaling about 18. Not there were Chris G, Billy C and Rich Lewis, who usually punish at the front, so I didn't miss them much, no offense intended, good guys all.
We headed out Jug toward the village of Alexandria and the ride out had an unusually high number of interruptions that included a truck pulling out of a driveway towing a pontoon boat, which caused our group to compress as we skidded to a stop. We exchanged well intentioned remarks with the driver but as I was at the back, I got most of the verbal abuse as the driver passed. Life at the back of the peloton reminds me of what NBA centers say about playing the post position, it's described as "Hell in the Hole". Sure, life at the front is no day at the beach as you are working harder than me but as the intensity builds people start drifting back. There I am, usually the last outpost of the peloton and the back drifters make a final effort to catch on, usually fighting me for that last wheel. Elbows are thrown, helmet butts are common, cursing is the norm, aggressive behavior with one's bike, the surges and slowdowns are more pronounced......it's hell to be at the back.
Anyhow, we arrived in Alexandria with a rather modest average speed of 23 mph. We turned on to Mounts and hit the opening ramp. I struggled but clung to the main group until roughly half way to Hardscrabble Road, I was done. Sada was the first to catch me and we rode together briefly before Steve Nelson came by, at which point John jumped on his wheel. At Hardscrabble, Lisa and Mick came by and I jumped in with them but I did not make the eastern turn on to Battee, instead going straight and riding with John S down to Raccoon Valley Road. We split there and I rode back into Alexandria, out Outville to Morse where I planned to catch the A group coming back through, which I did and enjoyed the ride back into New Albany. Finished with 34 rather than 38 miles as prescribed by the official route and a 21.8 avg.
Forecast for Saturday's COP, Covered Bridge ride not looking too good but don't forget there is Westerville Bike Club's Dry Run ride on Sunday. Sounds like 8:00am is the start time when most will be shoving off.