It's nice to review a week where I actually got to ride 3 times. First, Flyin Tuna wanted someone to ride with her to keep the rednecks off her so I volunteered on Tuesday and we did a 35 mile ride during which she dropped back frequently, swore about her lack of fitness frequently and I wondered if she was going to ride with the "C" group this year. Then, on Thursday, Pastor Mark organized a ride from his place with Steve O, Jeff S and Randy Daum. Now, it must be said that Randy was in sorry shape the last couple of years as he fought severe back pain. It was so bad he had to take multiple pain killers, including Percocet or something like that, leaving him kind of loopy during rides. Imagine if you were on some kind of drug that left you completely uninhibited regarding your speech and what you might say. Well, Randy said some goofy things and may have alienated 1-2 cyclists but he had his back operation, is off the meds and has returned to normal so give him another chance. We rode into 20+mph winds but had a fantastic afternoon of sunny skies and temps well over 60 degrees. Rode about 35 miles but with the wind it felt like a 60 mile ride.
Now, we come to Saturday, a cold start at around 33 degrees and again, lots of wind. None but the hearty and brave showed up including Recumbent Dude, Jeff S, Kenda Janet, Franz, Larry the Legend, Kent, Flyin Tuna and the surprise, Suzanne Birk, COP's ride chair, who brought a well needed dose of class, sophistication and beauty to a peloton that is usually sorely lacking in these traits. We headed out via old 161, south on Babbitt, over to Cable and then the nice climb up Col du Alward, to Hollow, etc.. Suzanne dropped off the pace and the opportunistic me leaped at the chance to drop back and suck all the dirt possible from this unsuspecting mind. I grilled her on COP activities, the good and bad of ride leaders, etc.. just as I was getting into the really good stuff the group had stopped to let us catch up and that damn Tuna warned Suzanne not to talk to me!!!! Grrrrrr. We continued on, making a right on York, crossing #16, over to Deeds, left on Gale, right on Grandview and finally into Granville and a stop at the River Road Coffee House after 25 miles..
The place was packed but we found seats and relaxed for a couple of minutes. I wolfed down a chicken salad sandwich and we began discussing the ride back options. Surprisingly, Larry P wanted a direct route back and soon everyone else agreed. To be fair, Larry was riding a real cross bike from Walmart. Not a tricked out cross like Pastor Mark rides with xxx light road wheels or the filed smooth cross tires that Steve rides. Larry's bike was "Bobolink" or some brand from Walmart and it weighed a ton yet he dominated us. The wimpy recumbent dude exclaimed he would ride in whichever direction the dominant female wanted to go so with that, it was settled, we would go back via the #161 bypasses and a straight shot back. That Larry soon whipped us into form by organizing an echelon that everyone seemed to grasp other than Janet. As most of you know, during an echelon, as you pull forward and slide in front of the previously leading rider, you slow a bit to allow the cyclist coming up from behind to pass and pull in. However, Kenda Janet made a habit of pulling over and then speeding up to make the next person work their ass off to get in front. Many of us suggested tips but it was far too complex for Janet and Larry offered to send her the "Echelon Training Manual" to her so she could study. We finally rolled back into New Albany with 43 miles and windblown hair (for those who have hair). Brutal return...just brutal. Oh, get this...in Granville, Suzanne tells Flyin how much COP appreciates all her effort at supporting the roving rides. I was dumbfounded. That's like thanking the guy who cut the tree down that was milled into a broom that was used to sweep out a dirty room for keeping the room clean! I mean what the heck??? Must be a woman thing.