Upon arriving at the parking lot, we discovered our normal spots had been taken by people attending a nearby football game so it pushed us into the front lot. I set out the Shannon display with sign-up sheets and waited for people to arrive, throw money at my feet and sign in. Sadly, all I found was an empty Gatorade bottle but at least no one deposited a banana peel on my car, which I washed for the first time in years in anticipation of hosting this evening event. Here, Garth explains to Poobah how he and others got off the Leadville 100 course, the impact it had on what was his personal best time and finish in the standings. Meanwhile, Kyle W trims his toe nails.
Geesh, while the overall turnout was kind of light at around 40-45, it was a quality "A" group of 21 that included Dave Chesrown, Pete C, Billy Campbell, Craig Rice, Garth Prosser, Tym Tyler, Kyle Wingler, Danny Alarcon, Jon Morgan, Steve Oxley, Paul Stock, Ron Budzik, Mick, Claude, Lisa Tyler, Retro George, young guy in OSU kit and a few other quality guys. The route, 47 miles punctuated with the Alward, Hardscrabble and Northridge climbs was a good one, too good.
Karen Rossi, the star of the Rossi tandem, showed up but declined to roll out with the A group, instead no doubt punishing David S, Mark V, Flyin Tuna, John, Dan and others. Steve O made the drive up from the Canal area but was riding his hybrid with tennis shoes out of concern with the chip-n seal roads. We discussed is chances of hanging with the A group and decided that since the A and B routes did not split until mile 17, he'd find a group with whom to ride if the hybrid wasn't up to the challenge. Tonight it was not but he is nevertheless widely admired for trying.
Here, Lisa T making a point about something while the others eagerly awaited the stand-in ride leader to make weighty comments about the road conditions, following the rules of the road, not spitting on each other, no sketchy ride behavior, you know the usual stuff to which no one listens. We then rolled out, old #161 where the intensity ramped immediately, turned right on Mink where Dave C pulled alongside and advised me a couple of guys had dropped already. No surprise there given what was the current pace. A left on Condit soon brought us to the long stretch on Headly Mill before the dreaded Alward climb. As is my wont, I was at the back of the pack, knowing this is the last place one should be approaching the left turn on to Alward. Lisa T, much smarter than me, took a flyer off the front to get a head start on the climb.
We hit the first ramp and I clung to the front group, hit the 2nd ramp, the 3rd ramp and how many other freakin ramps are on that climb and emerged at the top still with what was now a group of 12. I was too tired to enjoy the accomplishment and the group wasn't about to pause to allow me a moment to enjoy, as we sped out Hollow and reached the stop sign at #310. Here, Kyle alerted me to some sketchy riding, including running stop signs and upon hearing this, Garth hopped off the road down an embankment into someone's yard, crossed the grass and hopped back onto the road. I made a mental note to present him with a COP "Black Card" at some point in the future.
A quick turn back on to Hollow and the pace picked back up where we were at 23.9mpg average but rising. Turns took us on to York, Weslyn Church and then Outville where we bombed the descent to Moots Road, turning left and then in to Granville where our average was 24.1. No pause here as a turn on to Raccoon Valley followed and we made our way to Hardscrabble. Upon turning, I discovered the surface had just been chip-n-sealed with lots of loose gravel on the opening ramp. I lost contact with the group but suspected that was going to happen anyway at some point on this long uphill road, with or without loose gravel, so chugged along with Claude out to Northridge, where he had to stop to adjust his saddle bag. So, 22 miles with the lead group and a 23.9 avg, that was sure to plummet and it did, but limped in with 42 miles and a 21mph average with 1400' of climbing. The lead group finished with a 23.5 avg.
Shannon has produced another fine route, shown above. Unfortunately, Shannon will not be at the ride and asked that I fill in, which I was elated to do because that takes out one of the guys who spends the entire ride at the front 1/3, rotating in and out of pulls. Now, for this Thursday, since I am temporarily in charge, there will be new rules:
1. No smoking except in designated areas, all of which are winin 2 feet of Poobah's Element.
2. No swearing or cursing at me before or during the ride but if at others or at oneself, that is OK.
3. No injecting oneself with PEDs prior to the ride, at least where I can see you do it.
4. No changing from street clothes to cycling clothing in one's car.
5. Throwing cash at the feet of a ride leader is permitted just this one Thursday.
6. Buying a round or two of drinks to celebrate ride leaders is permitted after the ride at any restaurant which serves alcoholic beverages. This offer expires prior to next Thursday when Shannon probably will be back although I encouraged him to take the rest of the season off, at least from the front 1/3 of the pack.