Da Boss got word out that he would be at the New Albany ride and I hoped the best of the best would be there to challenge him. Craig was so into the challenge, when I arrived a full hour prior to the start, he was already there with his bike in a trainer and he seated on the bike, pedaling furiously with a towel draped over his head. I was horrified at the scene and so scampered over and convinced him he would not need this extra preparation and besides, it was embarrassing.
Farmer Mike rolled in and I was shocked to see his Civil War era beard was completely gone. I think the summer's heat was taking its toll on him and losing the facial hair made things better. I could not decide if he now looks younger or older but at 68, he remains very strong, for any age.
Early, it appeared few would ride because of rain in the area but slowly they came, including some good A riders like Mick (background) and Dave McConaha (foreground), as well as Tim Tyler, Jeff S, Nate Harner, Dennis, Jon the Dentist, Marty, Colnago Ron, quite a few new guys who looked and dressed the part but you never know. In total, there was a modest group of 45-50 with 18 rolling out with the A group. I felt like riding with the B group but thought I should suffer with the A so I could document the history of Craig's unique visit to New Albany.
Also there were SuperDave, Flyin Tuna, Katherine, Jeff F, Eve, Mark and Karen Rossi (pictured), Roy, Amanda (rolling in late) and others I see all the time but don't know. I need to spread my good cheer to an expanded group so I can ID them at the start.
Jeff came up with a good route through Granville and up the hill on Thresher and back via Stone Quarry, Northridge, etc.. so it was a good route to demonstrate the fine qualities of the area with flat and hilly mixed in. We headed out old 161 at a lively pace and Ron and I noted a black cloud east of us but not to worry, clouds always move west to east except this one did not. It either swung north and hit us or just waited for us because when we reached the intersection at Beech, it began to rain. By then, my glasses were so fogged up I could not see and removed them. As we headed east, the rain picked up in intensity and without my glasses, I again could barely see as water was constantly spraying in my eyes from the bikes in front of me. Whoever was at the front kept a very moderate pace so I spent much of the time not drafting into the rain/tire swarm of water blast. Still, it was kind of dicey and when we reached the turn at 310, Marty, Jon and I bugged out of the group.
We headed back toward New Albany and separated some where as they wanted to add miles. Closing back in on New Albany, I hit dry pavement so thought I would ride the route counterclockwise and pick the A group back up. When I reached Caswell off Miller, I noticed riders emerging from there but that was not on the official route. With the weather and also knowing the A group's propensity for choosing its own route, I gave up on trying to find them and jumped in with a small group and rode back in with 39 miles. As it turned out, Craig had, as expected, led the way up Thresher (cutting a path through water cascading down the hill), hooked up with Nate and rode most of the route back with others strewn behind or having taken weather induced short cuts.
Oh yeah, one of my creative advisers (Dennis) suggested I start a series about tips from different riders about riding or life. He got started with this gem, "When you run out of hair gel, Chamois Butter is a good substitute."