Are we not lucky? Not only does our ride leader create routes, park his large truck so as to provide a vast swath of shade, lay out tables for easy sign-up but he toils up until the ride start, performing various fixes to our bikes. My front skewer is squeaking but I did not want to add to Rick's burden and decided I'd try some WD-40 first.
Farmer Mike's new machine. Dura-Ace all the way, disc brakes and 28mm tires so he can use it on gravel roads too. Mike didn't just get a deal, he got a "Deal" deal but he is tightlipped about the specifics. The bike even has a built in light in the front stem. Very nice.
Dirty Dan. So many want to know how he got the nickname but I can not say in polite company. However, no one holds more Strava KOM titles than does Dan. An elite climber, why just on the bike path between Alexandria and Johnstown he holds 5 KOM titles and east of Alex, where the bike path risers get really challenging, too many to mention.
The sun seemed unusually intense this evening so everyone sought relief wherever they could find it. Jeremy in the white/green shirt and a police officer. I was told prior to Tuesday's ride he was in hot pursuit of a gang of bank robbers but checking his watch, noted he barely had enough time to make the ride and broke off the chase, allowing the miscreants to go free. That is dedication to the sport of cycling.
New guy on the left, Mark V and Dirty. Rick thanked me for filling in for him last week and I received a rousing cheer except from Mark, he booed me. Some talk prior to the ride about an intriguing bike ride in VA, called the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. Here is the link for the event: http://alpineloopgranfondo.com/ Only 6+ hours away and may be an option for some of you looking to fill in the schedule. Like Philippe, who is always looking to explore, this would be a good option.
So, Rick called us out of the comfort of our shaded areas, only around 50 of us but there was a traffic jam around Gahanna that probably kept some away. I headed out with Hendra, Marty, Jon, Muscle Dude, Ron B, Benton, Nick, a late arriving Luke, Ken B, Jeff, Lori N, Brandon.....maybe 20 in all. We started as usual, out old 161, left on Mink and then a right on to a freshly chip-n-sealed Beaver. Someone kept the pace steady so we could stay in a narrow tire track all the way to a right on Burnside, eventually back to 161. Heading east again, as we approached the right on Wadkins, I being the crafty veteran possessing little endurance or strength, sped to the front while the leaders hit the turn and subsequent ramp. Well positioned for the surge, it never came so I drifted back to the pack and noted Benton was 5th in line. He had been 5th since the start and I wondered how one can go 12 miles and never leave the 5th spot while also never taking a pull. I have much to learn.
We ascended Watkins, crossing Morse and Weslyn Chruch and just as the group turned left on Hollow, that dang Marty began asking questions about the "Chicken Ranch" logo on my jersey, if it was for the Nevada brothel, how many times I had attended and generally distracting me from my focus. As has happened on past routes, here the group sprinted out of the turn and I lost Lori N's wheel, who I should never be behind in the first place, because she is too skinny for drafting. Marty of course swooped around me, paused briefly to see if I was going to jump on, which I did not, and motored away.
Thus I was gator bait again. Groan, our average was 22.1 at the time but no one else dropped because why would they and later I saw the group finished with a 22.5 avg so down quite a bit from what I would expect for that route. I pedaled on, entering Alexandria and soloing back with a 20.8 avg. Oh well, there is always next week but not too many next weeks.
At last, here is this evening's New Albany route. Great weather so come out and enjoy. All routes available here: