I arrived early and wondered if anyone missed the notices that the start location had moved around the corner to the Methodist Church parking lot and sure enough, the unplugged one, George, had no idea. Good to see him on the bike and healthy. He offered to stay until 5:40 and direct any others to the new location. Great except he didn't, forming up a rival group that left out of there. I think there were 8-10 in that group.
The woman on the right, maybe Emily, gave a brief talk about the "Ride2Recovery" event, information about it can be found on "TheCyclingClub" web site. Looking around the parking lot, there was a clear distinction between those who wintered in CA and FL and those of us closeted in our basements riding a trainer. The Marty's, Gus & Peggy, Lori, Meredith, Jon Morgan and others who spent loooong periods around Encinitas, CA and the Sada's, Farmer Mike's, John Miller's, etc... who rode hard in FL, all looked so fit and rode like champs. The rest of us looked slovenly and unfit. However, the guy in the black/red kit in the background, next to Philippe, rode practically every day in Ohio when the temperature was above 0 Fahrenheit. That kind of dedication is unreal but he was the exception.
Pete C, so dominant in the spring series Masters races that USA Cycling may name a trophy after the guy. And hey, there's Gus Cook in the background. I spent a lot of quality time with Gus tonight. He needs to add 20 pounds to his frame for a perfect puller but still, not bad.
Seemed like a lot of new people out but also veterans like Mark V, who is leading an 84 and 66 mile route out of Pataskala on Saturday morning, more on that soon.
Good turnout on this evening of 65 degrees, sun and winds out of the south. I forgot to do a parking lot count but likely around 50 cyclists, including some C's.
Of course, the A group was well represented with Chris G, Marty and Hendra looking on as Rick gave a couple of announcements including he will no longer provide maps at the start. Routes can always be found at the Cycling Club website or here so you can print your own map. There will also now be an A+ group, an A group for the strong B's who follow the A route, B and C groups. Makes sense.
So, close to 30 rolled out in the A+ and A group. I think they were supposed to be separate roll-outs but no matter. We headed east on old 161 with a nasty cross wind. I noticed no one went left of the center line. We reached Beech and I was feeling pretty good. Soon thereafter I began counting my chickens before they hatched, patting myself on the back thinking, I'm going to make it to at least Granville. But, that cross wind, ouch. I was right on the yellow line and finally unplugged. Quickly, I joined in with Gus Cook, Lisa T, Lori N, Philippe, Kristian, Katherine and we echeloned effectively, catching back on at #37 (yes, a red light helped a bunch)) I popped again just before York Road but drafted Lori back on to the group (yes, a stop sign heloed a bunch).
Turning right on Moots Run, the leaders hit the corner hard and were sprinting just as us at the back reached the corner and that was that. I formed up with Gus, Lori, Philippe and soon we pulled in another guy whose name I have forgotten. Prior to the Thresher Street climb, we discussed regrouping at the top so we could work together for the return. We did so although the new guy was pretty far back and we decided he would get caught up by the A group so we continued on what was a good route. Left on Dry Creek, right on Battee, left on Hardscrabble, right on RV Road, then Jug and then we were reeled in my Katherine, Kristian, Mick, the guy we picked up prior to Thresher who I think was a little annoyed we did not wait for him and 2-3 others. We rode in, finishing with 41 miles and a 21mph average. Not sure how the front group finished. A very fun time on the bike with good people.
Now, that unfortunate hacking incident to my blog during which insane comments were made about me going out and pulling away from Hendra, Marty, Jon, etc... Actually, I did pull away from Billy Bob, Bobby Jo and Jimmy Dean so I felt good about that. I also saw Grand Poobah riding with Julia and will interrogate him soon to determine if he had any part in the hack attack or should I just chalk it up to the Chinese military branch.