Tongues were wagging in the parking lot. 5:30 and no ride leader. Former ride leaders, now on ride leader emeritus status, Jeff & Jeff, were dumbfounded. This sort of thing never happened on their watch. Note how cold the Jeffs looked. As I stepped out of my car, a blast of cold wind hit and right then, I decided not to ride. Yes, I have become soft as Gus Cook told me in an email.
Peggy and Corvair discussed possible routes as 5:40 arrived and no ride leader. Last year's ride leader, the great one, Shannon Kurek, was here but keeping a very low profile in the back parking lot.
5:45 and the ride leader's spot is still empty. Tick-tock, tick-tock.....
Crazy George showed up, giving up his plan to form a rebel group from the old start location. He asked for forgiveness and I usurped the ride leader's responsibility and granted forgiveness. His followers, Ron Budzig among others also showed up.
5:50, puzzled looks abound Mick especially appeared troubled.
At last, Jon Morgan rode in, unaware that he had been designated the back-up ride leader to Rick Miller. Jon panicked but I took him aside, instructed what to say, act like you are in a position of authority, speak in a masculine voice with no squeaks and make declarative sentences that do not invite questions. Mostly he did a pretty good job. With that, out of 35 cyclists, maybe 20 rolled out with the A group, then Jeff S led out the B group and Steve Hewitt led out the C's.
Since the route headed toward home, I stopped to take a couple of images. Here the A group passes through Jersey at mile 6. Must have been a fast start because already there were 5-7 off the back.
With strong winds out of the SW, I hung back to see if I could catch evidence of any lane violator's but no, other than Marty at the 310 stop, they adhered to the rules of the road. I returned home, continued the job of burning thousands of limbs from a recent AEP line trimming job along our property and was warm and toasty. Only thing missing was the marshmallows. Most of the trees in the background are ash and either dead or dying from the Emerald Ash Borer. That stinks but glad I planted 400 Red Oaks about 20 years ago. Otherwise I'd have a field in a year or two. Looks like there will be a group ride out of Johnstown on Saturday, going to Bladensburg. More on that later.