And so, once again, it begins, the famous New Albany COP Thursday ride where the young, the old, the fit, the fat, the guys with beards and those without gather for a relaxing evening on the bike. Farmer Mike, on the left, arrived back in town after a winter in Florida, ready to go at the age of 70. He has a moutain bike race this weekend. He was asked if there is an age maximum for competing in those events but no, he will dominate the 70+ age group for 10 years before moving on to the 80+ group. Garth Prosser on the right.
Jeff on the left, recovered from a nasty spill he took last year when his tire entered a crevice on Morse. Fortunately for him, I was in the area and able to drag his body off the road prior to a semi driving by. We are discussing appropriate compensation for my selfless act. Betsy (I think) on the right with those cool designer sunglasses. Later, she punished a strong B group with 25+mph sustained pulls.
John signs in on the left while Hendra Balisades, an OSU cyclist, signs in as well. Hendra is the real deal, another young, light superfit guy to make my life miserable.
Jon Morgan signs in. He was in the lead group that hit the base of the Thresher hill with a 25.5 average and emerged at the top a little slower then that.
Katherine Graham on the left. Not satisfied with being an elite cyclist, she has taken up golf. Hah, sure becoming good at cycling is not a big deal but golf??? Good luck with that. You are about to enter the most frustrating of sports.
Mick signs in on the right and behind him is Flyin Tuna, Dan R and Paul Stock. The pace was so intense, even Paul got dropped and took a short cut back, accompanied by John Sada and one other guy.
Yet more rolled in, John Sada on the right, Marty S, Kevin Henschel, unknown guy, Tri Andrew having dropped 15 pounds and trained with Shannon in GA, Garth, etc... Sada came up to me prior to the ride and said he had received a call from someone who claimed I was taking shots at him via this blog. Come on, who would go to the bother of calling John? That's classless but I'll give this person the benefit of the doubt and think he said someone was making comments about John on my blog and John misinterpreted. I asked John if he had actually read the blog to confirm but no, he took the tipsters word for it. Geesh. Anyway, on to the action.
Traffic made exiting the parking lot a problem and we were confronted with a long line of cars all the way to the left turn. If this becomes the norm, we'll have to look at relocating maybe to the parking lot at the corner of Beech and 161. It was a bit of a mess. Upon making the turn, the pace went from 0 to 30 as quickly as would a used Toyota. No warm-up, just hammering out to Kitzmiller where guys were already dropping out. Beyond that, the cross wind was roaring at 20mph with gusts to 35mph and quickly more dropped. A two bike gap opened in front of me as some guys dropped and I could not catch the pack. Dave Chesrown said something like, "This is crazy. We should start a second echelon" and I hung back with him but just ran out of gas, before freakin Beech. Later I heard Kevin Henschel had been the instigator of this but it certainly culled the herd as the lead group went from 26 to maybe 12 in no time.
I cruised along and soon, here came Dan R, Mick, Tri-Andrew and then we picked up Steve Fields and had a nice working group, first to Alexandria where our average was 24 then into Granville where our average was 25. Throughout, the lead group dangled out there and clearly they had slowed but we were no threat to catch. We hit the Thresher hill, regrouped at the top and then found Kevin H fixing a flat on Burg. We added Craig, aka Muscle Dude to the group but made a wrong turn right on Louden, rather than a left and added to the route. Out Louden to a left on Sportsman Club then a left on Northridge got us back onto the route. We cruised out Jug and made it back to the parking lot as the sun was setting with 42 miles and a 21.5mph average.
Meantime, the lead group stayed on the route and finished with a 23.7mph average. Unbelieveable for the first New Albany ride in April and with all that slashing cross wind. Unreal.
Whoa, 20mph winds out of the south with gusts in the 30-40mph range. The ride out old 161 will be interesting as the weak among us battle for position to get out of the cross wind. Then the climb up Thresher and so on and so forth and so painful. Shannon, the official ride leader, will be out of town so he asked me to stand in. As you know, I am much stricter and demand an orderly parking lot. No cig butts or empty energy drink cans are to be left laying around. Women are to be given deference at the sign-in sheet line and no line jumping. When signing in, you must print neatly and take no more than one line for your signiture. No cursing or swearing in front of children. No spitting of tobacco juice within range of my car. AND ABOVE ALL ELSE, THERE ARE TO BE NO BANANA PEELS LEFT ON MY CAR!!!!