What can one say about a ride that can not be adequately described using my limited vocablary. Why, I'll steal from Agatha Christie to help me.
12 Little Indians standing at the park.
Today's ride was to be anything but a lark.
Surprising how many cars were in the parking lot but with the planned 9:00am start, we were one of the last groups to leave. Our group comprised of Steve O, Recumbent Dude, Kenda's Janet, Paul, Dave, Mario and Kent R (I think he was wearing Kenda gear), Jeff S, Dan, Mark V, Tri Andrew and yours truly. Steve asked for a show of hands for those that were doing 100 miles and my arm involuntarily shot skyward. The morning forecast was for winds in the low 20's, down a bit from Saturday's forecast. There were a couple of surprises, Flyin Tuna sent an email to Janet and told her the wind was too strong for her (sissy). Someone of low class stated, "Good, now we'll go faster" and I think Green Caboose was to come but she too was absent. Off we went with a stretch south into the wind to give us an idea of what we would be facing later in the day. We worked our way east and then south of the lake. Suddenly, we came up on the 35/67 mile shortcut.
12 little Indians pondered an early quit
5 said that's enough and spit the bit.
Then there were 7 little Indians
And so, our group took a huge hit with all the Kendas abandoning the route. OK, Mario is understandable since a new job has kept him off the bike and Paul is understandable since the life of a tax accountant is busy this time of the year but Dave, Kent and Janet????? I stared longingly after them and wished I too was a Kenda spitting the bit. We turned north and mostly enjoyed a nice tailwind. After a loop around a lake, we stopped at Kilborne and entertained the counter help while we warmed up inside.
From there it was practically a straight shot NE and down wind and each of us took pulls and produced amazing speeds for out of shape old people. We cruised into Cardington and stopped there for sanwiches and beverages and speculated by how much our average speed would drop with what lay ahead. At this point we were at 18.3mph avg. We ran into Dentist Brad and Scott but not too many others were this far north. We headed west on some kind of road that was probably considered in good shape if driving a conastoga wagon or chariot but for a bike.....brutal. Jeff S had checked the weather and we were at sustained winds of 31mph with gusts at 40. I tried pinching myself to see if this was a nightmare from which I may wake but all that produced were red welts on my leg.
7 little Indians were still in the mix
Dan said "Shortcut" and then there were six
On that "road" out of Cardington and into the wind, I looked back and had the chain in the 26 and while drafting, going 9mph. Some gusts brought us to a virtual standstill. We had ventured fairly far south when a road marking indicated a short cut and Dan took it. Oh how I wanted to follow but my stellar reputation was on the line so I kept going.
We arrived at a "T" and arrows pointed us west but a gust of wind arose and I could not turn into it, instead ending up across the road and unclipped. I sprinted to catch up and I was just about done but after hunching down for awhile, I recovered a bit.
6 Little Indians rode only 15 miles to Waldo and that ain't no jive
Andrew rode on and then there were five.
Although Waldo was only 15 miles away, the vicious head and cross wind convinced us to stop but Andrew kept going. Nathan was so out of it, he rode up against this barrier just to get out of the wind for awhile. I drank a Monster and Fig Newton. We speculated how many calories we were going to burn (around 5000), we talked about Flyin Tuna, we discussed the head winds and whether it would abate, we contemplated mass suicide. We rode on to Prospect but did not stop and turned south. Ohhhhhh the cross wind.....but finally at around mile 90, the route turned east and we had mostly a tailwind.
Five little Indians prayed for no more.
Mark V dropped and then there were four.
Steve was relentless in the tailwind stretch and we clung to his wheel but finally Mark dropped off a bit, probably just to soft pedal in. We finished with 101 miles, a 16.7mph average and 3700' of climbing. My legs felt pretty good but clearly the effect of being in that wind left me feeling very fatigued.
Four litte Indians arrived at the park.
One was lucky to finish and his name was Mark (me).
Oh yeah, Mark V picked up this Reds jersey and wears it under his cycling gear. When asked why, he said, "At least I don't wear Fruit Loops jerseys (Nathan)"