Forecasting for the Midwest must be very challenging for the meteorologists and today was typical. At 7:30am, forecast was cloudy for the morning with partly cloudy skies for later. Jumped into my car and immediately noticed it was raining lightly, all the way to New Albany. Wondered how many cyclists would come but surprised by the time I arrived there were already a few and then they kept coming and coming and coming. The group was enhanced by Jon Morgan suggesting to his normal Saturday gang that they jump in with us and there was another group that heard about the ride and they came and so, well over 40 cyclists at the start. And also, befitting their modus operandi, "The Others" (see "The Characters" on right margin for explanation) were there but leaving at 9:30 and going elsewhere so they were not added to the total.
Amanda Orr, aka "Corvair" (because she is as reliable as one) was one of the last to arrive and we patiently waited and then, rolled out of the parking lot at 9:20am into a chilly mist. While doing so, passed Dave Chesrown disembarking from his car, too late to hop in but later caught us, demonstrating what riding 9500 miles this year does for one's cycling fitness. I led the group out with Rich Lewis and soon after turning on to 161, Billy Campbell pulled alongside and the 3 of us rode rather briskly out to Kitzmiller where I thought, "What the heck am I doing up here with these two?" and rotated to the back of a group of 17+/- who had already separated from the rest of the group. With us were Billy and Rich, Steve O, Doug Maconaha, Mark C, Flyin Tuna, Mike of Westerville, Jon M, Dave C eventually, John S, Jeff S and others. We eventually got on to Cable, a road that is in dire need of repaving, and upon reaching the last stop sign, I dropped back to be a good host and see if everyone knew where they were going. Eventually, I formed up with a group of 8-9 people and finally cruised in to the River Road Coffee House with a 19.1 average. Infuriately, Recumbent Dude, threw up once or twice and looked very green around the gills so hope he recovers.
Steve O camped out at a table in the back and soon I joined him with Jeff, Dustin, Nathan, Mark C, John S with others close by. I noticed Dustin stood the entire time and was consumed by an avalanche of nervous tics and twitches. I thought it odd watching Dustin battle abrupt twitches of the nose, ear, shoulder, etc...but it began to make sense when suddenly, he said he was going to head out with Jon Morgan and a couple of his gang. I leaped at this opening and said, "Oh, so you're going to abandon your usual clique to ride with the big boys!" He seemed uncomfortable with this and so he hemmed and hawed around and then.... too late, Jon and a couple others were gone. Seems that Dustin has big goals for 2012 and riding with the Milwaukee Brewer riffraff is not helpful to his cause. Actually, I know well his goals but am sworn to secrecy. Above, Dustin on the left, Nate on the right.
Our bikes wait for us, dirty, wet but rarin to go when we finally emerge from the warmth of the Coffee House.
Then there was a debate about whether to take the short or long route and for once, I elected to go with the long route folks and rolled out with Steve O, Dustin, Jeff S, Flyin Tuna, Mark C, Mike from Westerville, Brent, Mitch and a few others. Our group broke up during the climbs on Stone Quarry and the group was down to 5-6 when Dustin set a remorseless pace, well remorseless for me but not for him, into Johnstown, down Caswell, out Green Chapel, south on Clover Valley, west on Jug, and thankfully and finally, onto old 161 and back in to the parking lot.....whew! Finished with 52 miles, 1650' of climbing and 18mph average. I was beat but I managed to open the bottle of Champagne and soon began pouring it into cups before giving up the bottle to someone who upended half the bottle into their cup....greedy bastard!!!! Now what??? Well, jump into the heated car and get the heck out of New Albany.
Well, that was fun despite fairly constant drizzle/mist/rain and this closes another year of fun with odd-ball people like...well....I am determined to turn over a new leaf and not call out all the oddballs....until the start of the new year, January 1, 2012 when I will return to my usual self! Well, it is time to take a step back, reconnoiter the situation and admit, gosh, I enjoy cycling with you all. Is it as much fun as when I was a mediocre golfer of the Zanesville golfing scene back in the 80's and 90's? No. Is it as much fun as I had playing in the dirt pile behind my house with Tonka trucks and earth movers when I was a kid? No. Is it as much fun as my back packing adventures through the Grand Canyon? No again but it is better then a sharp stick in the eye and I look forward to more of the same in 2012! Happy New Year everybody.
This is the post ride scene as my lone bottle of very inexpensive Champagne was consumed, rapidly. My mistake was permitting the short cutters to have a drink as they clearly had not earned it. Not surprisingly, they drank more than their share too! As part of my move toward civility, I will not mention any names.....however......an image should do nicely (see below).