The very welcome rain moved through, radar looked good so I headed to the New Albany parking lot. Turnout was, as you would guess, light yet around 35-40 eventually showed up to sign in and start a "Pelotonia taper" ride of only 40 miles or less if that's what you wanted. Cruising through the parking lot, I approached Billy Campbell and he asked, "There aren't any mixed couple tandems riding tonight are there?" Now that is funny. That Billy is a class act.
This Tuesday, Shannon was riding a route he intends to use on an upcoming tri event, I think around Marion. As he was motoring along at a high speed, an elderly women shot out of a car dealership, trying to jump between oncoming cars. Shannon saw her coming but was helpless to act and her car struck him, he went airborne, flipped and landed on his feet. Miraculously, unharmed save for a very small scratch. The bike is ruined but a replacement is on order. This description does not do justice to the description Shannon gave, which is harrowing. Very, very fortunate is the outcome and I'm shaking my head just thinking about it.
Paul Stock showed up with a new Trek, bought just this weekend at the Trek store. Hope his experience with the Trek frame is better than mine. Two replacement frames already due to frame cracks and bottom bracket issues and patiently waiting for Rick Miller to determine if my current frame will be covered by Trek.
Those checking the current radar situation noted a large cell was moving NW to SE, south of us but Nathan noticed it was also enlarging and mushrooming in our direction. Hmmmmmm. Shannon called out the A group and only 9 departed, with other A's hanging back for the B group, such as Marty, Mike Rea, Mick and others. Good thing because while the A route was a taper distance, the pace was not. Shannon, Billy C, Paul S, Ron, Tattoo Dude (impressive array of full body tattoos) who I had not seen on earlier rides, OSU kit dude (I should know his name as he is there every week) and a couple of others, one of whom was also new. No warm-up tonight, they just killed it to the turn at Kitzmiller and my average was already 21mph.
My legs felt terrible during the "warm-up" but after coasting down from the overpass, just like that they felt great. We turned right at Central College/Jug and then left at Clover Valley. With such a small group, I could not inconspicuously hide in the back and also maintain a shred of shame so I took a pull alongside Shannon, he burned me out in a few yards so I had to rotate back. We reached the usual turn at Green Chapel but someone yelled "straight" and we kept going, all the way to Rt. #62, where we turned right and then quickly right again, discovering we were off the route. I took a pull but was quickly passed by OSU kit dude, which was ok with me but Billy must have been concerned I was losing it and shoved me forward, which is also ok but I was in good shape.
Crossing Mink, a couple of guys held up to allow traffic to pass and it gave me a chance to scan the skies as we slowed to regroup. Wow, to the south and east, the sky was very dark. I told Ron I was going to bug out and intended to do so at Green Chapel but as we approached, there was the B group having followed the correct route. I could only imagine the derision to which I would be subjected by the usual suspects who were populating this group if I turned out so I kept going. We turned left at Caswell and approached the ramps that would carry us to Johnstown. I moved to the middle of the group and then saw an opportunity for fun. There was Billy C in the 2nd spot, behind Shannon. Oh, that would make a good story, to be able to say on the same week he got passed by a mixed couple tandem, worse yet, he was beaten out of KOM points on Caswell (I know so what, especially if he was oblivious to a challenge I made up out on the road). So, like an old, worn out Green Mamba, I STRUCK!!!! I pulled ahead of the group but unfortunately, Billy is a young, full of energy Black Mamba, realized what I was up to and beat me by a bike length (or two). Our average was 23 at the top of Caswell and with 13 miles.
We stopped at #37, I scanned the sky again and decided, these guys are going to get wet, probably drenched and I turned around. Sure, I was greeted with a few shouts like, "That didn't last long." You're sooooo funny but I don't mind having it dished back at me. It's all in good fun. I rode back in, got sprinkled on but arriving in the parking lot, things were very grey and sheets of rain could be seen approaching. I got into my car, pulled out of the parking lot and suddenly there were lots of cyclists diving into their cars as the rain began. I drove out old 161 and saw this group heading back in. Don't know what happened to the A group.
The A route is only 40 miles as many are tapering for the weekend.