Farmer Mike, spends more time examining the map then any other cyclist. He was soon thereafter on the phone with Kyle Wingler, guiding him in but I did not see Kyle out on the road. Mike is on a cycling tear, riding most days while winning mountain bike races on the weekend.
Dennis G preparing to sign in. Note the flawless late afternoon sky in the background. It was a near perfect time for a bike ride. Quentin (spl?) glides by on the left
John on the left, new guy Brady Berg behind him, Paul Stock's shoulder on the right. A very light turnout tonight, maybe as few as 45 cyclists. I know a couple of "B" cyclists have said they are not returning because the "B" group is too chaotic. We'll try to send out two B groups next week but the concern, as always, is no matter what you call the first "B" group, "Super B", "A/B", whatever, everyone heads out with the first "B" group.
Kayla Starr made it up for her first New Albany ride of the year and later termed her experience as "awesome".
Shannon was in Portsmouth for an event so I filled in and within minutes, lost control of the unruly band of cyclists. I was curious how much climbing we could find at the end of this very hilly route. Climbs up Hardscrabble, Stone Quarry, 661, Hankinson, Dennison campus, ouch. I of course also, as always, wondered how quickly I would get spit out the back but I had one thing going for me, Shannon was not there. It is always helpful to have one of the guys who rotate at the front putting in viscious pulls, out of town.
Twenty+ of us rolled out in the A group, including what I thought was a ringer, guy in khaki shorts, T-shirt and satchel around the neck. Paul and I speculated he was a visiting Euro pro sitting in for some fun but he exited the group a couple of miles into the route. We turned on to 161, left on Kitzmiller, right on Smiths Mill and then a left on Beech, where a gap developed already but following Gus' wheel, I was able to bridge.
We got on to Jug, taking it out to Mink, a left and a quick right back on Jug. Some where in there Pete C or Terry G unleashed a strong pull yet that down hill stretch that is frequently bombed, proceeded at a genteel pace, which was good. Rolling through Alexandria, we paused for two passing Sheriff cars and a light that cut into our average but we were still in the 23's as we rolled out Raccoon Valley Road, still at a gentlemenly pace, likely because we were approaching the turn to Hardscrabble and that long series of ramps and false flats. Ron Budzig drifted back while saying, "I don't want to get in anyone's way" and all I could think was, "You just put someone in front of you who is going to get in your way."
Of course, upon turning left, the pace accelerated but I managed to hang all the way to the top, following Rich Lewis' wheel with Scott, who rides a Scott bike, the UPS driver on my right. Good company for suffering. We made a right on Northridge and I glanced at my computer, "18 miles" and I contemplated dropping anchor since Stone Quarry was approaching. I hate that road! We rolled along the series of bumps, tore through the descent, navigated the mild turns across the bridge with Dave C pulling at the front. Hitting the final longish hill, I was ok at the bottom, red lights flashing in the middle, hydraulic fluids pouring from every orifice near the top and exactly at the moment I was about to pop, I felt a shove in my back, which helped a lot. My good friend Dave C gave me the nudge I needed to hang in there. What a guy!
We approached New Burg, which was the turning point for the B route, sensing I was not long for the A group, I headed right, finishing a 23 mile effort. I rode into Granville where I spotted Crazy George riding the opposite direction and then as I approached Beechwood, across from Wildwood Park, here came Kayla, John, Dennis, Farmer Mike, Axel and a few others, screaming down the hill. I was thrilled that I would not have to solo in and it gave me an opportunity to ride with the Super B group. You know what I discovered, they don't ride quite as fast as the A group. Yep, quite the revelation. Finished with 44 miles and a 22.2mph avg, benefitting greatly from the shelter of the B group the last 18 miles or so. The A group finished with 48 miles, 1800' of climbing and an average I think at 22.9 or 23. I forget exactly what I was told.
After the ride, we mingle for a few minutes.
Madness, sheer madness I say. It's Tuesday Canal rides that are supposed to be hilly not New Albany. I mean come on!!!! Up Hardscrabble then on to Stone Quarry, then Dennison U climb??? No one will come out alive from this climbing cauldron of fire. Sorry for the hyperbole. To see more, go to Shannon's site at: http://hfpracingnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/new-albany-cop-ride-thursday-may-16-2013/ Wait just a minute. Shannon is supposed to be out of town and I am to step in. Hmmmm.... maybe I'll alter the route so we'll go back and forth to Alexandrian via #161 a few times instead...