On August 2, 216BC, Hannibal decisively defeated the Roman army in what many historians claim was the most lopsided military victory in history. On May 15, 2012, the northern hoards from New Albany invaded Palookaville, otherwise known as Canal Winchester and had a grand time. Gabe the Ringer & Buddies, Marty Sedluk, Jon Morgan, Dave Chesrown, Mitch Tallen, Rick Miller and others arrived to give the old Canal crowd some excitement. Here, Craig Butler, now with 340 cycling miles on his legs this season and Steve O observe the assemblage of talent. They, Dustin and Nic were the best hope Canal had to offer.
Pretty good turnout of between 45-50 cyclists, including Mark C, Andrew C, John S, Nathan, Jeff S rolling out with....
....these guys. The carnage began immediately out of the parking lot. The warm-up was replaced with burning rubber and of the 17 who left with the A group, after a few miles, we were down to 10. I think a couple of people just realized too late that there was no warm up and got caught out. I would have been too except Jon Morgan saw what was happening and paced a couple of us back to the front group. We got onto Pickerington Road and the group mysteriously slowed way down, which is always ok with me. Crossing Winchester Road and approaching the hills, the speed picked up and I settled in with Jeff S and Nathan. No point in riding on the rivet when the outcome is preordained anyway..
We approached the left on Alspach and I tried to get a group organized, especially urging my fellow cyclists to hold up for Rick M, who doesn't know the area. So, we had Nathan, John S, Jeff S, Rick, Mark C and a couple of other dropped A's for a good group. Except, it didn't stay that way very long. Rick didn't have his climbing legs on or probably was saving himself for the Gran Fondo NY so he dropped back, as did Nathan and only 4 of us rolled into Amanda where the front group had taken a break. I soft pedaled out of Amanda with the intent to hook up with Rick and lead him out of this maze of roads but never saw him so headed west on Bowman while the others went up Hunter. A few turns later and I was back on the route on Fosnough School Road (by the way, this was a great route tonight) and soon, Hannibal's group came by. I dove onto the back and held Mitch T's wheel until a left at Peters Road and a right back on to Fosnough left me panting and I was dropped a 2nd time. Still in the group were the usual suspects out of New Albany but also Nic, Dustin and Craig Butler but no Steve O.
Upon reaching Ridge, I hung a left and then a quick left again brought me onto Cedar Hill. Looking back, I could see Hannibal's forces approaching yet again! WTF! I'm about to get dropped a freakin 3rd time!!!! Can't these guys stay on the route so I don't get humiliated more than 1-2 times a night? So, I latched back on and drafted for awhile up the long climb on Cedar Hill and then bid them farewell, dropping back. Some how they had missed a turn back there putting me ahead of them. I hoped they could navigate the remaining few turns and in fact, their unfamiliarity with the route and roads probably kept the group larger then it might otherwise have been. Rumor was they even regrouped once or twice, an unheard of accommodation.
At Sitterley, I came up on a struggling Mark V, recovering from two full days of TOSRV and then soon, a group led by Steve O, with Kevin K, Jeff S, couple of dropped A's who had taken the longer route, Nathan, etc... came by and I jumped on with them, finishing with 41 miles, a 20.1 avg and 1600' of climbing. The front group finished with 43 miles, a 22.9 avg and considering the hills, that's smokin.