In red, Brent Jenkins wearing his game face and ready for action if the New Albany folks were brave enough to show on the home turf of the Canal people. Throughout Thursday, I began receiving updates of which NA cyclists were coming down. First Jon Morgan, then Marty, then Patrick, then the Angel of Pain, aka Lori Nedescu, then Luke Russell, Travis I, a literal who's who of central Ohio. However, not to be outdone, the Canal side got a major shot in the arm late in the day when The Flyin Tuna announced she too was coming down. Sure, on paper it did not look like much of a match but never underestimate the Tuna and her friends.
Brett from Cyclist Connection shows his enthusiasm with this cool wheelie. A special thanks to Andrew Clayton for the images.
Now how bout that!?!?!?! The Donald taps into his enormous wealth to finally buy a new jersey. Not quite a race fit cut but looks good on him nonetheless.
Canal's heavy hitter arrived, Steve O.
The sign-in process began early as there was a group of B and C cyclists who planned to shove off at 5:30 rather than 6:00pm. This group was led by Grand Poobah and curiously, Flyin Tuna did not ride out with the A group but instead slotted in with the B,s, which included Matt Ashmore, Ryan Roe, Engineer Mitch, The Donald, etc.... Soon thereafter, at 6:00, the A group rolled out having about 15 cyclists, Steve O, Scott Young, Brent J, Marty, Patrick, Jon, Luke, Travis, Angel of Pain, Jeff Rutnow, Jr. Muscle Dude, Andrew Clayton, Ryan, Spencer and a couple of others.
Andrew, Muscle Dude and Brent dropped off earlier than I would expect but I heard the pace was high for the ride south. Coming through Amanda and out Clear Creek Road, the pace got very fast going up the climb toward Hopewell Church and there, Lori dropped back and then, as shown in the image above, missed the turn to Revenge and ended up on #33, going north to Lancaster. Later, she would be rescued by good guy Luke. As you would expect, the climb up Revenge tore the group asunder, even catching flu stricken Jon, Scott, Steve and others as Marty, Travis, Luke and Patrick really turned the screws despite a fairly strong head wind. This foursome was able to maintain their gap all the way on the return other than Luke, who dropped off on Amanda-Northern Road at Royalton. Patrick, Travis and Marty ended with a 21.5mph avg. Pretty strong for that route of 54 miles.
I hate to interrupt the fun I am having with the Canal Solstice ride here and on the COP Facebook page and will have more but have to update my comings and goings while out here in AZ. Saturday morning, pulled my winter beater bike out of the closet and made the quick drive to the Bicycle Ranch shop ride...6:00am start, 78 degrees. About 37 people came out, most of them looking very fit. The fit between my Ohio bike and the AZ bike are different and can feel it immediately as we head west toward Frontage Road at a somewhat relaxed pace. Turning right on Twin Peaks, I slot in around mid-pack and settle in on the multiple mile but not steep climb to Tangerine Road and then on up to the Ritz-Carlton resort on Dove Mountain. I threw in the towel about 3/4 of the way, hooked up with a couple others and finished the climb. As usual, I can count how many were in front as they came out of a roundabout and headed back towards us....15. Finished with 50 miles and an average a little above 20 but forgot to save the data so can't say exactly. Good news, Moore Road was extended and paved so no longer have to ride on Tangerine on the return, which is very busy. Off the bike by 8:30 and so odd to have so much of the day left, a day that will see the high top out around 110 degrees.
Every time my wife comes out, I introduce her to some of the area's best hikes. She has done Picacho Peak, 7 Falls, Morino Pools and Blackett's Ridge, along with the rim to river to rim GC hike and a day hike off the north rim of the GC. So, time to tackle the Flat Iron in Superstition Wilderness. That's the Flat Iron, upper right, an exciting hike that includes the Siphon Draw.
As we climbed, the views opened up to the west and I welcomed arriving in the shade, where much of the remaining route would remain. Beth does not mind if I get out in front but does mind if she loses sight of me. We had kind of a bad experience in the Grand Canyon when I got way out front, out of sight and she got off trail.
After 2 miles, we began hearing a buzzing that at first I thought it was wind rushing down canyon but soon the source became obvious. A fellow hiker was looking toward a ridge where....
...tens of thousands of Africanized Honey bees were swarming slightly off trail and about 50' above. We could not guess why they were agitated and we were wary because there had been at least 2 attacks recently in the Phoenix area. Suddenly, a bee dove towards Beth and began flying in and out. The last thing you are supposed to do is smack it because if it stings you, it leaves a chemical that bees interpret as the smell of overly ripe banana and they are attracted to it. She swaps at it, it stings her and I tell her to turn and leave down trail. I think 200 stings are equivalent to a rattlesnake bite so nothing with which to take a chance. We were about 40 yards from the first look at the Siphon Draw, bummer. Oh well, we'll try again this fall. Coming next, the hike to the highest point in AZ, Humphrey's Peak.