Jeff F, nervously watching the crowd arrive as Jeff S was once again a no-show but Jeff F was prepared this time with maps and a nice 43 mile route that included the climb up Thresher in Granville. This ride had it all, rain, sun, more rain, kightning, climbs, surges, wreck, etc....what's not to like about this?
Mitch T and Kyle W. Discovered Kyle is a general contractor and very busy.
Is there a more weirdly dressed dude in the parking lot at any cycling event anywhere outside of Malaysia or Singapore? I asked Mark to elaborate on his plans at next year's Mountain Mama ride and he said he is renaming the event the "Crush the Tuna" ride. Sounds serious.
Green Caboose, aka Amanda, picked up a loaner bike from Kayla Starr after discovering her Fuji had a few cracks. Hoping to get a free replacement frame.
The pink color rage continues to work its way through the peloton among the least masculine members. I suspect Steve O will be the next to celebrate pink.
It's a startling scene when at 5:45 there are maybe 25 of us and at 5:50 there are 65+. Yet despite the large turnout, many of the usual suspects were missing like Marty, Dave C, John M, John G, Adele, Jon and Kym Sada, Tym Tyler, Peggy & Gus, Muscle Dude, Christian so not sure how we got to the swollen quantity. Anyway, those that were there were greeted with the usual route out #161, a survival of the fittest stretch that favors the sprinter types. Heading out of the parking lot in the A group was 21-22 of us including Pete, Chris G, Randy Brown, Dennis, Katherine, Kyle W, Mitch T, Canal Steve O, Lisa, Logan Leland, Billy C, Claude, Terry, Rick, etc... The challenge to most routes heading out of New Albany is surviving the no holds barred surges and attacks on 161, the first of which tonight occurred before Kitzmiller! No warm-up for us. Over and over it appeared Logan or Chris G would begin sprinting but this week, there were not the sustained attacks just spurts and soon the speed would return to the low 20's, pause there and then surge, pause, surge, pause...you get the idea. Kyle went to the front and maintained a good steady pace and so too did Mitch T, apparently trying to bring some consistency to the pace. Mitch T drifted back with the cannon fodder people at the back but something agitated him and he yelled something about not pulling through. This left us babbling amongst ourselves if his comment was directed at us or the people in front. As we are simply wheel dwellers all we backyardians can do is follow the wheel in front so probably he was exasperated with the stars of the peloton at the front.
Logan drifted back with us and began falling off the back, following a pattern I have noticed recently where he drills it but does not sustain and falls out of the A group. Maybe there is a wiser strategy out there then just trying to blow apart the group (hello....Coach Todd). I noticed a storm cell was positioned to the east at the start of the ride and damned if we did not catch it, enduring a steady rain as we reached the light at 310. Knowing how sketchy the group can be when it is dry, Dennis, Katherine and I discussed maybe not staying with the group down Jersey Mill and they fell back. I stayed with the front group but back 10 yards so I could react if needed. Fortunately, it appeared Chris G led the group at a reasonable pace given the pavement conditions and rain and we arrived in Alexandria with a 23.6 average. As we made the turn, I could see the town's only light was green and as it stayed green I anticipated it turning red so I slowed a bit but the damned thing stayed green until half the peloton went through. It was solid red when I reached the intersection so I stopped but Claude came through from behind and ran the light. Geez, it's never that important and there was a car entering the intersection from the left. Given the groups M.O., I knew not to expect them to wait and sure enough, they did not. Thus at mile 11, I headed out Raccoon Valley Road alone but wait......soon Dennis and Katherine caught up.
We worked together out Louden, Stone Quarry and up Northridge, now with the rain stopped but lightening to our south. Reaching Sportsman Club Road, we turned left and then left again at Castle. Reaching Concorde, we made the left and quick right and here mixed in with Kyle, Steve O, Logan & a couple others who had dropped off the lead A group. It began to rain again as we reached Duncan Plains, enough to create the irritating "fish tall" spewing from the back tires. We had a group of 7-8 going out Duncan Plains and then turned left on 310 and right on Miller. Chewing on tire sludge had become tiresome so I dropped back and soloed in. Close to New Albany, Terry and Pete passed me, likely all that was left of the lead group after Thresher surely shattered the group and if not that then Stone Quarry. Finished with 40 miles and a 20.6 avg.
The unfortunate aftermath of some rides. Here, Randy Brown submits to me taking an image of the damage to his arm and leg after his front tire touched the back wheel of guy wearing Inferno jersey out on Castle or Sportsman Club Road and down he went.