Steve Oxley in the foreground with Paul Stock behind, Mark Lemmon back right and Pete Ashmore barely making it in. However, the story does not start here. We have to go back in time, back, back, back....to 4:00pm when I received a call from Steve. He was thinking about attending his first NA ride but wanted to know if it was still plagued by squirrely bike handlers, etc.. I assured him that was the B group, they're crazy but in the A group it is safe and sound. Still on the fence, I added one more incentive, telling him that usually the ride is populated by a few attractive women and since he is single.....
....no sooner had Steve arrived, opened up the back gate and taken a seat, some of the ladies of Thursday gathered around. Amazing. Dirty Dan standing next to Steve, probably to conduct the interview process.
Then Steve pulls out his smart phone and begins pulling people in to show images of his new grandson. Rick Miller even had time to take a look.
Kim Owens on the left, Benton in white behind. The crowd was beginning to gather around Rick's van for the pre-ride announcements that included a route change, cutting our distance from 55 to 50 miles.
Franz holds a cycling shoe up at the back of this group.
Kristie Nation unfortunately not handing out pre-ride treats. I like the balance I have found on Facebook between Lori N's prolific healthy meal images and Kristie's prolific unhealthy dessert images. My mind hits the "like" on Lori's posts, my stomach hits the "like" on Kristie's.
A smiling Doug McConaha. Still enjoying the benefit of losing 15 pounds and spending a lot of time at the front of the A group putting in healthy pulls.
I began counting as we closed in around Rick and arrived at 68 cyclists with quite a few new faces. A road closure required a modification to the route, cutting it from 55 to 50 miles and so soon we shoved off, 24-26 in the A group as we paused.....
....at the Central College/#62 intersection, which is also the point at which I took the first image that begins this report. Eventually, our group got across and after a series of turns, began a long, long run north on Miller-Paul. With light winds out of the NE, I was able to settle in to the left of an assortment of cyclists including Ron Budzig, Pete A, Paul Stock, Tym Tyler, etc.. Ken Buddell put in a particularly long, hard pull that had me on the rivet but fortunately the next person up slackened the pace a bit and I survived.
We continued north on Longshore before finally breaking the trend and heading east on Hartford Rd. A intersection stop at N. County Line allowed me to look around and see we had lost 9-10 people so our group was down to 13-14 people. Then I heard someone say, "Uh-oh" and turning to the front saw an attack was initiated. Dang, I could respond only weakly which means I was done. Ahead by about 50 yards I saw Ron B and Pete A also spit out the back but I could not bridge to them and so, spent the next 30 miles riding around the hinterlands solo. That sucks. At the drop point, our average was 24.1 mph so pretty speedy but my average dropped precipitously thereafter. I took the B cut-off, made a wrong turn and ended with 47 miles.
Meantime, up ahead, the group got whittled down by a few more bodies but those who finished in the front did so with a 22.75 avg over the full 50 miles.
Here is the route for tonight's New Albany ride. Additional details can be found here but note currently the site says the map is for May 21 but it is for tonight's ride:http://www.thecyclingclub.org/club-rides/thursday-evening-ride/
Still have not seen some of the regulars. I did see Kyle Wingler out on his bike so maybe he is preparing for an appearance. Todd Lee says he is watching for the right route and then he will show up and I think this is a route that would appeal to the Grand Poobah of central Ohio cycling.