Probably this image says everything that needs said about the conditions of tonight's ride. The ride leader is wearing a "hoodie" and for good reason, it was cold, windy and spitting rain. Plus, the poor guy had to be lectured by Grand Poobah about making a left turn out of the parking lot rather than a right turn to avoid the two traffic lights. After getting on Waltons Parkway, we can hang a right on Kitzmiller or Beech to get over to the 161 dragstrip..
Soon, Shannon was joined by a more agreeable fellow, Doug McConaha. Note this is about 5:45 and the background is bereft of cyclists because who wants to ride in the wind and cold again???? For me, it was a nastalgic time. I remember this route well from last year. I hung with the lead A group up Alward and beyond, well beyond my usual dumping off point so I felt good about my prospects for tonight. You have to understand, with so few cycling accomplishments, people like me hang on to memories like that.
Doug is joined by Chris G, Dave Chesrown and Pete C. I keep seeing Pete's name high on the finishers list at the Cat 3 events. Wonder what it is like to have memories of actual accomplishments in cycling? A few more cars roll in and the numbers begin....
.....to build. Mick on the right, my riding companion from last week. And then....
....at the last minute, a tsunami of cyclists, almost excluisvely of the A variety. In fact, of the 26 A's who showed up last week, just about all were back with the addition of Ron Budzik, Tym and Lisa Tyler, Terry Griffith, Gus Cook (I think he was here last week), have not seen Billy Campbell make an appearance yet. I run into Rob Rhodes around Granville but he hasn't made it out yet, Mitch Tallen, no sight of him yet, Danny Alarcon was here for the first time, Alison from Team 614 along with Maya (spl?) were out for the first time. The parking lot was swarming with talent and there I was in jeans and jacket, not riding. I felt kind of stupid. Hey, how about those black kits with light blue accent? That is one of the better racing kits I have see
So, when Shannon called them together, there were 39 cyclists. Geesh, even Marty S in the black and white with back turned, a well known avoider of crummy weather, was here to ride. Shannon sent out the A group, the few that remained, looked at each other and they rolled out with the A group too.
I could not resist shadowing the group for a few miles. I figured with the tail wind, rather than a cutting cross wind, a larger then usual group would hang together but by the time they hit the Alward climb, the group was very strung out and then mostly shattered on the climb. Shannon and Pete C reached the top first followed closely by Marty and a few others. Went home and pulled weeds. Now that's fun and wow, heck of a calorie burn yanking on those dandelions.
Holy Mackeral. We go from 40 miles last week to 45 miles for this week's A route. At this rate, we'll do a century route in July or at least 70 miles. Thanks to Shannon for coming up with another good route. Also, there was some talk last week about Shannon's training camp out of Helen, GA. It was in early April and 23 people attended, including Tri-Andrew, Katherine and Christian. Yes, it's a tri camp but the emphasis is on cycling. Helen, GA is a kind of neat place, as if someone uprooted a Danish village and dropped it in GA. The surrounding area has fantastic roads for bike riding and includes, the climb up Brasstown Bald. Ahhh, the memories I have of riding one of those 100 mile, 10,000' routes that finished with a climb up Brasstown. So steep and then rounding a corner there is what the locals call "The Wall" and where I unclipped and pushed my bike. True, I have unclipped many times but that was an epic unclipping. The Wall at mile 97, can't beat that. Anyway, this link takes you to details about the tri camp and no doubt Shannon will have info later this year for the one in 2014. http://www.hfpracing.com/teamhfp/training.htm.