As some of you know, Steve O and Mark C went on a training ride Thursday as they prepare for the start of their Pittsburg 200 ride in a couple of weeks. This time, they rode to the northeast, into the wind, eventually picking up the Top of Ohio route. Early, Steve noted that his feet felt like they were "swimming" on his pedals, which had recently been rebuilt. Steve's cycling shoes would easily and unintentionally disengage from the pedal and then at mile 25, the right pedal came off. Fortunately, Mark's in-laws lived only a couple of miles away so Steve one legged it to their house. The pedal was reinstalled yet too much force on either pedal and the shoe would separate. Not surprisingly, Mark trounced Steve at every stop sign sprint, and enjoyed doing it too. The route took them by Bellfountain (spl?) but did not take them into an area populated by food stops so they eventually stopped at a YMCA and raided a snack machine. From there, they rode with the wind and arrived back at the start point with 200 miles, a 17.4 avg and just slightly after dark at 9:00pm. Does not sound like fun.
Meantime, normal cyclists gathered at the New Albany parking lot on a cool and windy evening. Not too many people showed up early and even by 5:30 the crowd was rather light. After looking at another creative route by Shannon and checking the wind, I had another vision. It's amazing how these pop up prior to certain rides. There I am chatting with someone when suddenly, a fog rolls over my eyes displacing the current scene and replaced by an image of a cyclist, he rather looks like me, alone out on Chatham Road, strong head winds buffeting the brave cyclist plodding back to the west, darkness rolls in, cyclist forced to bum a ride on the back of a cattle truck and arrives back at the parking lot at 10:00pm. Then, the image sequence disappears and I take it as a sign. Forget that cut throat A group, ride with the friendly B's instead!
Cool start for our ride tonight, forcing the should I or should I not wear arm warmers decision. Here, Dave C decides to put them on. .
The A's, which is really a misnomer as the name of a group. This group should be renamed something like the "Juggernaut" group or "Giro" group. Combining 6-9 Cat 3 guys working together at the front spells TROUBLE for those of us who have a job, a wife, kids, a lawn to mow, are elderly, sick and weak. Here, Terry on the left with Dave C, John G, Marty, another Terry and unknown dude.
Shannon's routes tend to break the mold of routes we typically ride but sometimes there is a road that looks a little sketchy and tonight, a few people had misgivings about getting out on Mink for 4+ miles. Farmer Mike, described an alternative and so after 30 people left the lot in the A group, around 30-35 of us departed with the B group.
In all, there were around 70 people who eventually shoved off so another strong turnout. Now I know, no one gives a damn about the B group but the B's do and so it is for them that I describe what happened last night, in brief. Christian, Dennis, Katherine, Mark V, Jon & Kim Sada, Peggy, Denver Dan, Farmer Mike, Gary and many others cruised through the countryside, sometimes paused to regroup and frequently watched Sada jump out of the pack any time there was a rise in the road to claim those KOR (King of Riser) points, before folding back into our group. Even with the efforts to regroup, we were down to around 7 people by the time we emerged from Jersey Mill onto old 161. We arrived back at the parking lot with 37 miles, a 20.9 avg and 1100' of climbing. The difference in intensity between the A and B group is vast. I believe the gap has grown in recent years. Now, about that A group. They pulled in right after we did but with 45 miles and an average around 24. I've asked for additional details and may have more to post later.