So anxious was "HFP Racing Man", to kick our ass that he arrived really early. Radar sure looked ominous but the green blobs dissipated as they approached or shifted south.
John Day signs in, smiling because after hearing he rode 400 miles last week, we urged him to become a productive member of society, become a volunteer, get a job, something to cut into that riding that carries him farther and farther from our level. Actually, John enters the workforce next week in the Columbus City School System. Janitor I heard...ok, John enters the teaching profession.
Really light turnout as a few people tour the parking lot, warming up. I talked to one A who said he wanted to save his strength for "The Frank". I had talked myself in to riding the Frank but then tonight someone told me after they rode it last year, they spent the next two days sitting in a chair, not having the energy to do anything. Benton told me about a ride Saturday that is just like Thursday's pace. So far I have the choice of a hot poker in the right eye or a sharp stick in the left one. Mark C has a ride out of his church on Coonpath Road for around 60 miles, still no notice about a Cycling Club route and then there is the COP Steve Barbour Memorial ride.
So small was the group that.....
.......I sent the A and B groups out together, about 19 of us while Steve H took out a C group soon after we departed. Among the A's there was Nick P, Shannon and a ringer (guy in back above). The pace was mellow except when Shannon took a pull then the peloton thinned, stretched but snapped back once Shannon slipped out of the front. We got on to Jug, took that all the way to Alexandria, arriving with an average of 24.2mph, exited on Raccoon V Road. The pace was moderate, I suppose because the Hardscrabble Road climb was on the horizon. Just before making the turn, Nick and Ringer sped by to take a position at the front.
I was in the back as we hit the ramp, hung on for a little while and popped, with Mick, Ron Budzig, Benton and a few others. Andrew C hung on a little longer but he too fell off with Paul, the guy in the yellow and black kit. Our group of about 6 clung together up the long incline, watching Shannon, Nick and Ringer pull away. Reaching Corner Road, Andrew took a couple of guys on the B route while Mick, Ron, Benton, Paul, Tri guy (maybe Jeremy is his name) and me headed toward Northridge and then onto the Stone Quarry rollers. Somewhere we lost Mick and I yelled to regroup but was ignored so I did what most do, forgot about those behind and raced after what was left. As we approached Granville, I pleaded with Ron that we forego the Dennison U hill and just go through the village, check out the pretty women, the grand buildings, see who was walking the streets and get back on the route as we exit the village. I think incredulous is the right word to describe the look on Ron's face. I was immediately ashamed for having suggested a softening of the route and so, we turned on to the campus. Meantime, Shannon's group had stayed straight on New Burg, rather than bearing left on to Burg as the route required, hitting the hills up to Thornwood and then down to the west of the village.
We exited Granville on Moots, took that in to Alexandria then out old 161. Ours was a good group, each sharing the workload evenly (use the broad interpretation of that word) although Ron had the misfortune of finding himself at the base of both the Moots climb and the climb out of the valley on 161. Too bad but someone had to do it and tonight he appeared to be the strongest among us. Reaching the rise at Kitzmiller, both Ron and I had a 21.9 avg so we hit it hard and reached the parking lot with exactly 22mph avg and 45 miles.
Nick, the Ringer and Shannon finished with a 22.8 avg and slightly less in distance. As Shannon left the parking lot, I yelled for him to come back next year, one time but he said he'd be back next week. Geesh, maybe it was the clouds but it is getting dark so much earlier then just a few weeks ago. Just signed up for a hike on October 11th called, "East Throat of Grand Canyon Ultra Day Hike." A 16 mile hike, using a raft to cross the Little Colorado River and then on to the confluence where the LCR meets the big kahuna, the Colorado River. That looks like fun.