One week ago, it was cold, cloudy, windy, not fun. Tonight, it was 86, sunny, a little humid and fun. So hot was it that folks were crowded into the shade thrown off by a few pine trees at the edge of the parking lot.
Luke Russell was part of a small group who rode a tough route in Hocking Hills on Sunday. Prior to the ride, someone put out there an offer for free lunch for anyone who could best Hendra Palisades KOM time up Keifel Road. At 2:58, it would be a challenge but Luke was up for it and the KOM crown now rests on his humble head at 2:50.
Something in this image is not like the others. Jeremy, in red, squeezes in with members of the HH team.
As usual, Rick's van provided some shade too and lots of people gathered there. It did not appear the turnout was that large but I began counting and wow, about 60. Must be an optical illusion caused by the expansive area of the parking lot that makes the numbers seem smaller than they are.
I am redoubling my efforts to include images of the regular Joes and Jimmys who make up the majority of our group (no offense intended if you are in this image and do not think of yourself as a regular Joe or Jimmy. I just have not gotten around to making you a star yet).
Shannon Kurek, (black kit with green accents) who I am giving the nickname "Group Killer" for good reason and based on several years of deserving activities. His friend Mark Lemmon to Shannon's right and with whom I spent much quality time later on the ride. Katherin Graham on the right, Marty on the left. Marty has a good route planned for Saturday and info on that coming soon.
Pete H took a couple of minutes to remind everyone of the "Ride2Recovery Honor Ride" coming in a couple of weeks. You can find more information and register by clicking here: https://ride2recovery.com/honorRide.php
Rick made a couple of remarks and sent the A group out. Having participated in no really intense ride since last year, I was happy to make it out of the parking lot with a rather small group that included Philippe, Marty, Lori N, Luke, Group Killer, Mark L, Ken Buddell, Jason Wilson, Goeric D...only about 12 of us. Where is Jon M, Terri G, Pete C. Craig Rice, etc... We eventually got on to Jug, riding two by two and then the pace quickened and the line stretched to single file. Sticking my head out for a billionth of a second I observed Group Killer doing what he was made to do, hammering at the front on a flat stretch.
You never really appreciate how long is Jug until you are clawing to stay on the back for its entirety but I did hang on. OK, in the interest of full disclosure, someone dropped out in front of me and I did not try to close the gap as 310 was rapidly approaching so regrouped at the stop. Turning left and then the quick right we returned to rocket pace on Jug. Lori N, dropped out creating a gap I could not close as Shannon and Marty swarmed around me to rejoin. Mark Lemmon came up and I jumped on his wheel and the two of us reached Alexandria with a 23.2 avg, made the right turn, left on Raccoon and we maintained visual contact with the forward gang until they vanished at the Hardscrabble turn. That is a long, not steep but debilitating climb before reaching Northridge where we turned right and then quickly on to...groan...Stone Quarry.
Reaching the dead end, a right put us on Louden and then stayed straight on to Dry Creek and then eventually a right onto New Burg. My legs had felt good and I took some good pulls through there so looked at the clock, the remaining miles, the route profile and abandoned an idea to stay on the A route but did modify, with Mark L's acceptance. Reaching the middle school, we stayed on Burg and rode past the Denison U entrance and the nasty "Campus Twist". I thought we had a chance of catching the group as they descended Thornwood. Ken Buddell came by us and confirmed our worst fears, the A group was already ahead of us and we missed then coming off the hill. Damn. So, Mark and I ham and egged it the rest of the way, ending with 44 miles and a 20.8 avg. The lead A group finished with a 23.2 avg and that is smoking, considering the climbs on the route.
What a fun route that Rick has planned for us tonight that includes the Campus Twist climb through Denison University. 48/43/36 mile routes can all be viewed here:http://www.thecyclingclub.org/club-rides/thursday-evening-ride/ and remember, print your own maps if able.