If you could manage the cold start, you would have been treated to a great route, rapidly warming temps, new roads, strong tail winds on the back end of the route and great scenery on Saturday's COP Roving Ride. Now, about that start. It put some of us in a quandary, it being the first "cold" temperature start of the off season and our memory of what to wear for such starts, long gone. I chose poorly and left the parking lot with one too many layers. Out of the roughly 35 people who came out for the ride, maybe 15-18 departed with us, including some guys rarely seen on Saturday rides such as Joe G, Kevin S, Greg D, Rich R and Bob S. It was good to have them in the mix but I suspect the off season pace may have been too slow for that crew.
I overuse descriptions such as "Mother of...", Son of...., Brother of....." to describe how one climb or route compares to a standard bearer but it is fair to say this route was at least a distant cousin of a CFC route. I thought by now we'd be doing loops through the flat plains around Buckeye Lake but no, yet another knee buckler route. We departed the church via Coonpath and got on to Rainbow and took that in to Lancaster with the climb on Stringtown included. The route through the city was a little confusing and I immediately wondered how the route challenged Kendas would manage it as they missed the start.
We cruised through Sugar Grove and I gave silent thanks as we passed Savage and Bauman roads, before crossing 33, eventually reacquiring it and then climbing Opossum Hollow, down to 374, making a left and then a quick right up another climb, back to 33 through a cemetery (seemed fitting), through and up Wild Cat Road, Starr Route, Kreashbuam, another climb before gasping with relief as we stopped.....
at this classic stop, Grandma Fayes, where we had some fun with the bear.
We lost Dan Farley to the 78 mile shortcut but those that remained, Mark C, Jeff S, Mitch O, Flyin Tuna, Corvair, Mark V, Maya, Reynoldsburg Dan, plodded on via the 98 mile route. George too was there, sometimes not, flitting in and out of the group. From Grandma Fayes, we go onto some unfamiliar roads ( Pretty Run, Macedonia, Narrows, etc..) that included a climb with a patch of heavy gravel. So thick was the gravel, Flyin T unclipped, forcing other to do as well and we began pushing our bikes. I suddenly realized what a great pic opportunity this was and grabbed for my camera. In so doing, I dumped the camera, cash and coins on the ground. Mitch offered to hold my bike while I gathered stuff and I suggested he make himself especially helpful by also pushing it, while at the same time doing it to his own bike. Now I had the perfect opportunity, Tuna pushing a bike up a hill and Mitch O pushing two bikes! Unfortunately, the camera's charge had run out. We eventually took a stop in Laurelville before moving on, finishing with 96 miles and 4600' of climbing