I was invited to join a ride called, "John Morgan's Saturday Ride" last week our of New Albany but was warned the group was still riding "race pace", which seemed odd for late Ocotber. I figured I would show up, grab a map, ride with them for a couple of miles and then fall back and enjoy the off-season base riding pace (slow). No maps so I suffered through 43 miles of way too intense riding but the upside was everyone was a Buckeye fan and wanted to get back in time to see the game. There were 9 of us that morning includig Crazy George riding a new Massi bike, (a gift from John the Dentist), Farmer Mike, the Dentist, and a few others I did not know. John told me he, George, Mike and others were riding 5-6 times a week, still! So, John called me a couple of days later and invited me to join the gang for a Thursday afternoon ride from Rick Miller's house in Utica. Rick of course is the former owner of A Gear Higher and repairing bikes from his van and barn.
So we gathered, George, Mike, John, Rick, new guys Steve, Marty, Daryl and Gus until a call from home required him to depart prior to the start. I'll describe the route in greater detail than normal because it was easily one of the hilliest rides of the year, covered many new roads, memorable climbs and would make a great training route. Again, for late October this route and pace were sheer madness but 3-4 of the group are preparing for the Horrible Hundred in central Florida.
Typically, my excursions are north/south when riding out of Newark or Granville so going east/west exposed me to new roads. At the start, we headed out Utica road before going east on Bell Chruch all the way over to Purity on which we made a right. Rick had intended to make a left on Pine View but the road was closed so we continued south to a road named Houdshell, a broken pavement, pock marked scar of a road with a wall that measured 22% on my Garmin, 24% on somebody else's computer. About there I began franticaly searching my vast database for the appropriate excuse to cut the ride short, although I was hanging in there in the middle of the pack but come on, it's OCTOBER! We made a right onto Rocky Fork Road and then a left on Pinewood Trail which has a very long and steepish climb. Next was a right on Reform and a right on Smith Chapel but instead of taking the quick turn to the right about 50 yards in we stayed straight on some county road until making a right on Floyd Boyer Road where a bus almost ran us over. We turned left on #79 and into Wilkens Corner and a small store. At that point I had 24 miles and 2200' of climbing and a strong desire to make the start of the Granville Wildwood Park ride at 4:30. Rick gave me directions to get back to Utica which was much flatter as they were to hit Techniglass, Loches and other monsters. Ended up with 36, arrived at Wildwood to catch Jeff S and Cindy and join them to finish the day with 58 miles.