Weather radar did not look good but I made the drive to New Albany anyway and by 5:30 there were maybe 10-12 other forlorn looking people looking at the gathering gloom to the southwest. Jeff S, so alarmed by radar and a tornado watch, announced this was no longer a COP official ride and we were on our own, although Jeff dressed for a ride. To Jimmy's credit, he insisted the green and yellow blobs were dissipating but Jeff's interpretation was they were mushrooming. Dennis, observing the weaklings who had so far gathered (Tuna, Group Itcher/Jamie, Catherine and hubby, Jeff F, Radio Shack Dude, me & 2-3 others, appeared in an unusually chipper mood. I could tell he was relishing the rare opportunity to be the King of the Peloton.
Group Itcher, Jamie, describing to me his plan for vanquishing me and others in his long slog back to the top, where he will reclaim his role as GROUP KILLER!!!!! Ugh, can't wait. Jamie's running regimen has left him with two strained achilles tendons, runner's knee and tennis elbow. The guy is hurtin and needs to spend more time on a bike for sure and appears to be embracing the challenge of regaining his place in the peloton. I can only hope he maintains his sense of humility as he tramples over me...but not yet...not yet.
Who would have the audacity to install flaming tire nipple covers......
.....Hunt, it's the same guy that matches an orange color water bottle to the orange portion of the bike frame and a yellow color water bottle to the yellow portion of the bike frame.
Then, a funny thing happened, the parking lot was swarming with late arrivals like SuperDave, Ron on the new black/white Madone, Terry, 3 Walker dudes, 2 Peletonia guys, one of whom trains tri-athletes and our ranks swelled to 30! Jeff sketched out a route to Alexandria and back for a short 30 miles because we anticipated storm activity, maybe even a freakin TORNADO (which would be ok with me as long as the winds were behind me). The group exited the parking lot and went right, except Terry who went left...kind of odd.
One thing of note was the first Radio Shack jersey I have seen.
Anyway, we headed east and south on Babbit where Group Itcher took a long pull and I, barely hung alongside him. We worked our way to Cable and there and along the way elsewhere, the Peletonia and Walker guys kept jumping from the pack and accelerating the pace. The pavement on Cable is in really bad shape and the Peletonia and Walker guys had retreated to the back for a moment as we were half way through this rough stretch. Suddenly, to my left they emerged and prepared to put the hammer down when I yelled, "Neutral Zone". Damn if that didn't work. They slowed and said, "Really?" and I assured them because of the road condition, this stretch was in a neutral zone and we all soft pedaled. Note to Self: Try this trick on Pickerington or Slough on the Tuesday rides.
We hit the hill on Patterson and I rode comfortably in front (well, ok, in front but behind the P & W guys) to the top and then went east on 16 and then hit the downhill stretch on Jersey Mill. I spun out about halfway down (compact crank don't you know), and then made a hard left onto Jug and that long uphill section. I passed Jamie and eventually caught up with Dennis, Ron (black/white Madone) and another guy I had not seen before tonight. The wind was howling out of the SW and the combination of that and the hills whittled our group down to Ron and I. We had gotten to within 50 yards of the P & W group but could not close the gap. Eventually, Dennis and a small group caught us and we all rode into the parking lot with 29 miles and 900' of climbing with a 20.3mph average. The winds remained strong all the way around but the skies had cleared.
Seems like most are riding Mark V's COP roving ride on Saturday out of Pataskala, including Jamie, Dennis, SuperDave and Flyin Tuna.