Near perfect evening for a bike ride and so the cyclists came out in force, including Doug McConaha on the right who finished on the podium at last Saturday's Westerville Bike Race.
While standing in the shade of Rick Miller's van, I observed Flyin Tuna surreptitiously remove a plastic bottle from her car and attempt to slip it into her jersey but the oaf dropped the bottle and pills scattered on the blacktop. What were the pills, why was she attempting to hide them, why is she so clumsy...who knows. Note Mark Rossi, Andrew Clayton and David Smith enjoying the scene.
Jeff Fennel on the left with a new guy who has been coming out to most rides this year. Someone said he weighs or used to weigh close to 300 pounds. Keep coming out big dude and some day you'll look like me....well, that is probably discouraging so keep coming out and just leave it at that.
Tonight's route was, let's see, what is the best adjective to use here, well so long and so hilly was it that Shannon brought out the climbing machine rather than the time trial bike. The A route was 55 miles and 2700' of climbing.
The adjacent parking lot serves as a warm-up circuit and many cyclists go round and round to loosen their legs for what is to come....pain.
Wow, I counted over 80 cyclists. The A group had around 25 and I hear the B group was broken into three groups. Lots of C cyclists too. Even with the large group there were quite a few of the usual suspects who were not here such as Hendra, Tym & Lisa, Ron Budzig, Karen Rossi, etc....
However, in place of the usuals were the unusuals such as Paul Stock (above) and Craig Rice, The Muscle Dude. Note the white arm sleeves worn by Jon Morgan, to cover the road rash from Saturday's fall. Luke and Lori on the right. Lori ran a couple of miles prior to the ride.
And, of course, Crazy George was here too in the bright green jersey. Note the open mouth as it is always open and always talking. He is rounding in to form and that is good to see. And now, on to the action!
We left the parking lot and on to old 161 headed east with a light wind coming out of the north, temperature around 70 and low humidity...what's not to like? I slotted in beside Todd Mullins and even managed to exchange a comment or two as my breathing was not too taxed. I found myself way back in the peloton but the leaders were rotating frequently and by the time we reached the right turn on Watkins, I was kind of close to the front, which is good when headed into a turn with an uphill ramp. No one really pushed the pace so I rode kind of comfortably to Morse Road, turning east, watching the cyclist in front of me. Glancing up, what the.... The group just exploded with a group already gapping a 2nd group and a gap to some of us coming through the corner. That was tricky, very tricky and unlucky if you were in the back, like me.
Gus Cook, Mick and me worked together as we turned off Morse Road, making a left on Outville and almost caught the group at Moots Road but it was not to be. We arrived in Granville with a 23.7 avg, hit every freakin light through the village, headed east of Granville and reaching Jones Road, made a left while agreeing that we would regroup at the Sharon Valley Road dead end. We rode together with Gus setting the pace, turned left at SV Road and upon reaching Welch Hills Road, there was Craig Rice so now we had four. As we followed the route back to Granville and out via New Burg, we discussed what to do and finally decided, what the heck, let's do the full 55 mile route. As we plodded and suffered up Chatham, I commented that suffering like this, together, forges great friendship. Or, it just makes suffering easier to manage. Reaching the top of the dreaded Chatham Road at Chestnut Road, we waited briefly for Craig who is not quite in as good shape as normal.
We headed west on Chestnut and our group began leaking more oil as Mick slipped back. Crossing 661, we kept plugging away making a left on Liberty Church and basked in the long down hill before making a right on Stone Quarry, arghhhh will the hills never end? A left turn on Northridge followed by a right on Concorde and now, finally, the hard climbing is behind us as we made a left on Nichols Lane, then a right, then a left on 310, a right on Duncan Plains and a left on...opps, more climbing on Caswell and here, our group went from leaking oil to gushing oil as Craig and Mick fell back. We were now close enough to New Albany that leaving someone behind was ok so Gus and I worked together eventually getting on 161 and hooking up with Crazy George, who is very strong on the flats, gliding back to the parking lot with a 20.2 avg and all of the 55 miles. Meantime, the Marty, Patrick, Luke and 5 others from the original 25 finished with a 22.7 avg.
Geesh, two routes over 50 miles. Check out those short cut opps in case you find yourself over your head way out east. Click here to see each route and to make a map copy as no copies will be available at the ride start: http://www.thecyclingclub.org/route-resources/c-o-p-thursday-night-cycling-club-ride/