The one, the only, Grand Poobah (on the left, not right). Yes, Todd agreed to a phone interview and below is the transcript, as best I could record it. Coming next, an interview with Kenda Janet!!!!
Blog: How did you acquire your nickname, Grand Poobah?
GP: Well, I asked for it. I wanted a name that reflected my esteemed standing in the local, errr.... regional, errr....national cycling community. Actually, I wanted "Grandest Grand Poobah" but decided that was too much. I also do not like it when some refer to me as "Grandpa Poobah".
Blog: So how did your cycling career get started?
GP: My dad liked to tell me I was conceived on the back of a tandem.
Blog: Hmmmm, I'm having a hard time visualizing that and really don't want to think about it so let's move on.
GP: Wait, I want to tell you about a race I did a few years ago and how I attacked...
Blog: Wait, we'll get to that later. First, what is the best bike you've owned?
GP: I've never truly owned a bike. I've always been given bikes by various sponsors, most recently the good folks
at Kenda. Now, let me tell you about the time I attacked out of a group of 12...
Blog: Hold on dude, the readers want to know more about you first. You have a reputation as a bit of a ladies' man, correct?
GP: Ladies, men it doesn't much matter to me but there was a time when I attacked out of a group of 15.....
Blog: Yeah, but what about you posing for all those images of you groping women in the parking lots prior to rides?
GP: Geesh, get over this "lounge lizard" act you are trying to portray me. Yes, I am a serial groper but about that time I rode away from a group training for Pelotonia.....
Blog: You have a bit of a reputation as guttering the cyclists behind you, true?
GP: What? It's called superior bike handling skills, just like I showed the time I attacked out of the group riding TOSRV. Man, I just jumped on the schoolhouse hill and no one over the age of 60 could catch me.
Blog: You seem to relish the challenge of winning sign sprints.
GP: Well sure, I draft for 50 miles and then emerge fresh to capture the sign sprint. I am just very crafty, just like the time I took off on the Tour of Ohio and cruised to a 5th place win in the citizens division.
Blog: Todd, thank you for taking the time to give the readers some insight into the Grand Poobah of central Ohio cycling. Long live the Poobah!
GP: Wait, I thought we could talk about the time I.......to be continued.....
The scene above, the sleepy village of Laurelville, Tuesday's destination with Steve O and Mark C. Mark C's road bike is on extended repair and convalescence so it may be another couple of weeks before it finally emerges from the lab at Cyclist Connection. Standing in for the road bike is a mountain bike with slicks so not the resistence of knobby tires but still, a very heavy machine.
We headed toward Tarleton into a very strong wind and bountiful sunshine. The good thing about a strong head wind, in fact the only good thing about a strong head wind, is it drowned out Mark's cries for us to slow down or to wait up. After awhile, it became a running joke between Steve and I...well mostly Steve, to announce "Cindy just dropped again" or "Amanda just got popped again" or "Janet caught back up so we can go" and on and on, eventually running out of women's names to describe the fun Steve was having at Mark's expense. That Steve, always one to dig into the ribs of his cycling buddies.
I have major news to report. The restroom at the above gas station is no longer rated E-. Instead, a cleaning took place some time in the last couple of months and it is now a solid D, according to Mark. I did not have the guts to walk in there and look for myself, instead wanting to keep the contents of my stomach in place. We finished with 51 miles, putting Steve over 200 for the month while I finished at 306. Probably the first and last time I ride more in a month then either Steve or Mark. Forcast not looking good for anything other than a hike/trail run so probably that is the plan but I'll put up more once it becomes known.
One of the most momentous days of the year is today, or maybe yesterday. Yes, the average daytime high begins to go up!!!!! We now have the law of averages working for us as each day from here on out, the average daytime temperature begins its long climb from the temperature abyss. Take comfort that while there will still be cold days ahead, we've got history on our side and I predict.....IT IS GOING TO GET WARMER, OVER TIME!
From Flyin Tuna:
We're planning to hike from Clear Creek at 10:00 on Saturday; parking lot
near Starner Rd. If roads are bad, use your best judgment on whether to come or
not, or my cell is 740 644-6697. Bring your own food,
I'm spending 4 days in Orlando at the PGA Show. "Demo Day" was Wednesday, at which all the OEMs have their new equipment available for hitting at a huge driving range. All of TaylorMade, Nike, Callaway, etc... clubs were available and despite spending 5 hours there, I never hit a golf ball. It would be too painful to watch. My golf game is some where between the rank of a dub and a hack so it's no fun to hit a golf ball anymore. On a bike too I rank about th
Many of golf's stars come out, including Natalie Gulbis.
On a stage, a version of "Family Fued" was played. Later in the evening, I attended a party put on by TaylorMade, which included a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling. A gymnast performed within the chandelier but would lower frequently to fill drinks. Interesting and I kicked myself for not having my camera. I did take a few images on my phone and forwarded to a few people who are wondering what
So, the final day in Clermont. A wonderful day for a bike ride so I took off mid-morning, passing one of the many lakes in the area, on my way to a new area.
First though, the route I picked up at a bike shop went through Sugarloaf Mountain and even for a Monday morning, there was a gathering of cyclists at the free water spot.
Departing from the water spot, this images gives a decent impression of the descent ahead. From here, I hit more hills and then, escaped into the flat lands.
I went way into the countryside. Lots of massive old trees on quiet country roads. Eventually, I ended uo
.....Center Hill. Returned to Clermont with 65 miles and an enjoyable cycling experience in Florida, yes Florida.
Well, the wonderful revelation of cycling in central Florida's "mountain" range continues. I rolled into Windemere, about 15 miles east of Clermont, to hook up with a group ride on Sunday. I had no idea what to expect but with a publicized start time of 8:00am, at 7:50 there were about 10 of us there and I thought, "Oh well," but then, talk about a late arriving crowd, they came in waves and waves and within 10 minutes, there were 70-80. Of course, being a typical midwestern shlep, I could not find anyone I thought to be kind of parallel with my fitness level. Everyone fit the mold of "Euro tour/Columbian pro cyclist on vacation/Cat 1 domestic" type cyclist and you know why? Because everyone was a Euro tour/Columbian pro cyclist on vacation/Cat 1 domestic type cyclist. It was as if I had wandered into the start line of the Tour de France and getting the strange sense I did not belong. I'm not kidding! I heard more people speaking foreign languages then I did hear speak the "Queen's English". About 10 rolled in with of course matching jerseys and shorts but get this...they had matching helmets, shoes, bikes and gloves! I saw Tem Compass, AVD or ADV or something like that, lots of cycling teams.
Scanning the crowd, I saw one guy who appeared to be over the age of 30 and so I befriended "Bill". A nice guy who proved to be very helpful. He told me the speeds were, "fast hills or fast flat and that's it". What to do, what to do????? Bill told me when the group got to Hancock, the fast hills group would turn right and the others would stay straight. We rolled out, picking up others along the way and I have no idea how many were eventually in the group other than rounding turns, I needed glasses to make out the front of this enormous peloton. Cars in the rear just stacked up and made no attempt to pass us. We owned the road.
So, the mass of cyclists hit the first hill and a couple of guys dropped but we rolled inexorably on, a swarming mass of superfit (with one exception) headed toward Hancock Road. I was conflicted until the group hit Hancock and 40-50 went right and normal looking humans went straight and so I too went straight. Later, someone well versed in the area's cycling scene told me the right turning group was comprised solely of international pros, Cat 1 and Cat 2 racers. They would travel 27 on the flats, 27 up the hills and 27 on the downhills. Soon I was introduced to "Two women who race in Europe" and many others. Unfortunately or fortunately, there were a couple of mechanicals that slowed the group but eventually, we arrived at a 7-11 at mile 33 and took a break.
Some split for a flat return and others, including my buddy Bill, went for the hill return. We hit Scrubjay Road and others with nice hills and then the infamous Buckhill. I led over the first hill, saw there was another and led over that, saw there was another and...oh well.....the lady pros kicked my ass on that last one. then we hit Sugarloaf Mountain Road, grinded up that and stopped at that nice guy's house with the free water.
Motorcyclists parking at the overlook of Lake Apoketa or some name like that. We continued on and ended with 70 miles and a 20+mph average. To be frank, I held up well and was pleased. I noted that while the group kills the flats, on the real climbs, they don't have a lot of experience and I led up most of the climbs. One guy told me I was a hell of a climber and all I could do was think of the multitudes in Ohio who would laugh at that comment. Nice day, temps in low 70's and looking forward to Monday.
One way to measure the health of an area for cycling is the quantity of bike shops (lots and lots around here) and the quantity of bannana peels on the road (lots and lots of those too) so this area is the real deal.
If you, like me, has had previous experience riding in Florida, you know it to be flat, boring and swarming with "bluehairs" who run cyclists over in their oversize Caddies. East coast, west coast...ugh.... but in central Florida there is a giant sanddune that runs across part of the state and lots of lonely country roads crisscross the dune and provide a nice environment for cyclists, of which there are many around here. Above, the approach to Buckhill, a multiple hill road, think of it as "Blue Jay Junior".
So, Grand Poobah, was a nice guy and falling back on his vast experience from riding around here, sent me a route to follow that would include some of the climbs. I headed out into strong winds and a forecast of low 70's. Within a couple of miles I got off the route but ran into lots of people who offered me help. Usually, they would look at the "Poobah Route" and say, "Oh I know a better way to get you to Sugarloaf Mountain" but I was doggedly determined to follow the great one's route and plodded on, eventually getting back on the route. Amazingly hilly is the area and after reaching the summit of Sugarloaf, was greated with this great veiw of Apoka lake, the 2nd largest in Florida.
An old retired Air Force guy puts this water out each day for cyclists. He puts a large block of ice in each container, with cups and keeps the area in front of the fence mowed so motorcyclists can stop and take in the view.
The area is not densely populated like other parts of Florida and with the hills, the great roads and light traffic, a great destination for cyclists. OK, it's not southern California with real mountains and it's not as good as Tucson with great hiking and cycling but for anyone enduring the winters of the midwest, it is a great alternative and my report tomorrow about a group ride, will demonstrate there are lots of lots of cyclists around here.
I ended my first day with 63 miles and 3600' of climbing......yes....in Florida!!!!!!!
Amanda O,over time establishing she is roughly as reliable as a Corvair car and thus acquiring the deserved nickname, sent me this image of her standing next to a real Corvair.
Rolled out of the great state of Ohio this morning. The rain began in WV, turned to snow and sleet through the mountains, evolved into a hard rain in VA and NC, rained harder in SC but south of Columbia the rained stopped and saw a nice rainbow. Stopped across the border in GA. Felt good and could have kept going to Clermont, FL, probably arriving around 12:30am but then what, so stopped at a Hampton Inn for the night. Watching the Oprah interview with Lance now. Tomorrow, will arrive in FL and cycle in the tire tracks of the great one, yes, Grand Poobah was down here a couple of weeks ago and he shared with me one of his training routes that helped make him great. While driving, I decided an expose on Todd would be an appropriate next project for the blog. Watch out.
It was touch and go but after weeks of negotiating and a payment or two under the table, Shannon Kurek was convinced to again lead the COP, New Albany Thursday evening ride. You remember, the one with a 60 mile route one evening, the one where the stars of Central Ohio gather, the domain of the New Albany Yankee-like cyclists, the taker oners of all who show....yes, that ride. Now for the bad news. Shannon will have to miss a few Thursdays to manage his tri events, maybe as many as 8. However, here is the worse news, I will be there as a poorly equipped sub but with the same maps that Shannon would have put out so all is mostly good. See you out there in a couple of months.
Ultimately, this is where Ryan wants to be. Won't that be fun to draft behind? Just reach up and grab the beard and be pulled while also drafting. I can't wait.
How it started, after a few days, Ryan resembled his boy-hood idol.
About where Ryan is now but all of Ryan's grey has been dyed.
Where he is going. On the mornings when he has the time, he'll get creative.
And so it begins again, another start to a cycling season with the first group ride out of Cyclist Connection on Saturday. We gathered under cloudy skies, wet roads and an unusually moderate temperature for any day in January.
Grand Poobah was so excited to renew friendships that he hugged first all the women in the parking lot and then....
....began working on all of the men, including Lincoln. Yes, Ryan Roe, after watching the movie "Lincoln" was so inspired that he began growing a beard. He bought himself a stovepipe hat, long coat and when not wearing cycling gear, could double for Abraham. The physical similarities are remarkable and Ryan says he is joining a Civil War re-enactment group.
There were 30+ at the start and it had the feel of a reunion as people renewed cycling friendships. Brad the Dentist, David Smith (winner of last year's Granville Climbing Challenge), Silent Dave, Jeff S, Kenda Janet and Kenda Dave, Flyin Tuna, aka Honey Boo Boo, Steve O, Dustin, Eric the Dispatch Photographer, Chuck L, Beth, Engineer Mitch, the Rossi tandem, Mark C, Poobah, Brent, Pete, etc....
We shoved off on a 60 mile route to/from Somerset. The pace was friendly at the start but of course, the usual suspects went to the front and began to pick up the pace. I, like probably most, wonder how I rank with my peers on the fitness scale after so many weeks off the bike. Apparently the month hiking in AZ was good cross training and I held up OK. The group was whittled down to 15, then 12, then 9, we hit some hills a few miles from Somerset and Pete (on the left) got away followed by Dustin (on the right) with me drafting behind him and then Eric (middle) and others. Dustin flatted and then I got passed by Eric before we reached the gas station.
Soon, Poobah arrived after giving up the chase on the way in. His two weeks spent climbing the sand dune in central Florida has given him a leg up on most of us, coming in 4th. Todd was nice enough to give me one of his training routes from FL and I'll be down there this weekend for a few days prior to working a golf trade show.
Although a few people had taken the short route to Thornville the Kendas made it to Somerset but soon whipped out the map, plotting a short-cut. Alas, the shortest way back was to follow the route. All of us were a mess with mud splatted jerseys and bottoms but the air was drying and the way back we found the roads to be almost dry.
Mark C, with his road bike in the shop, had to ride this mountain bike with slicks. The extra weight didn't seem to slow him much, suggesting he is in great shape once the road bike returns. Steve O also hobbled his performance by riding his cross bike but he too seems close to midseason form.
I was beat and chose to ride back with a group that shared my interest in easing up a little. Word circulated at some point that Flyin Tuna had stopped for a mechanical so Mitch and Jeff turned around to see if they could help, finding her finishing a flat fix and escorted her back to Canal.
Mark C did most of the work on the way back and eventually we overtook......what's this.....Dustin???? Yes and so I asked him of Poobah was still in the front group. His reply, "It's bad enough that you caught me but asking if Todd is ahead of me is too much!" But, he was and at the end, I yelled to Dustin to practice up before he comes back out to ride with us. Yuk, yuk. Anyway, finished with 60 miles and an average just north of 18mph. It was great to get out, see everybody and find out how much our fitness level has deteriorated.
We continue with the expose series, which began last year with Mitch Tallen and proved to be very ahhhh, popular. This time, instead of allowing annoymous comments to drive the report, we went right to the source to interview one of the more interesting cyclists in our midst. What follows is the actual transcripts of the interview done over the phone, recently.
BLOG: First off, how did you acquire the nickname, "Flyin Tuna"?
CB: Well, I watch a lot of TV, mostly reality show type stuff but also Rod and I enjoy watching nature programs. We were watching Discovery Channel and they had a show about fishes. Which were the largest, smallest, most dangerous, fastest, you know. So, I was riding with someone and describing for them this fish show and how much I admired the Tuna as it swam in large groups, quickly with lots of drafting opportunity, just like me in a group of cyclists. We began descending a hill and as I was going down, I screamed, "Look at me, I'm a flyin tuna." I guess that's how I got the nickname. However, I'm comfortable with it and even buy T-shirts that have a reference to Tuna. I guess I have embraced the name.
BLOG: What are some of your favorite reality shows?
CB: I am jacked about this new one, called "Wild Tuna" of course but we also like "Duck Dynasty", "Amish Mafia", "Celebrity Wife Swap" just lots and lots of them but also the nature shows on Discovery.
BLOG: Who are your favorite TV personalities?
CB: Snookie and Honey Boo Boo.
BLOG: Moving on to cycling, who are your favorite cycling partners"
CB: I always enjoy riding with Amanda or Corvair as you call her. She is like the little sister I never had. I took her under my wing long ago and taught her everytning I know about cycling, group riding, how to shop in the gas station markets, etc...
BLOG: What about all the guys you ride with?
CB: It's dreamy to ride with Kevin H because he smells so good but don't put that in this interview because that would be uncomfortable for me.
BLOG: OK, I wont. Now, where are your favorite places to ride?
CB: Well, I've been west of Dayton only once when I rode in California but that was a shock to my senses. I prefer the browns and greys of Ohio I guess.
BLOG: OK, then where in Ohio do you like to ride?
CB: Whenever I'm in Marietta it brings a chill to my spine because of flashbacks to when I enter the city at the end of the COP, CFC ride. I also like Thornville and Bladensburg.
BLOG: What is it about the latter two towns that you like?
CB: The restaurants that are there. I like to eat. I ride to eat or eat to ride, whatever.
BLOG: What are your favorite foods at the food stops?
CB: When in Bladensburg, a double decker serving of pancakes with all the trimmings. Hamburgers elsewhere.
BLOG: We want to thank you for taking the time to allow the readers to get to know you a little better.
CB: Is that all you are going to ask? I'd like to say a lot more
BLOG: Well, that's all I have time for but your welcome to jump to the comments section and keep going if you want. Anyway, thank you for your time.
CB: Oh, you're welcome. I love the attention I get from being on the blog. It's made me something of a star among central Ohio cyclists.
The forecast is holding to a cloudy Saturday with perhaps some rain late afternoon. Silent Dave's Winter Wonder Ride is officially starting at 9:00am from Cyclist Connection in Canal Winchester. The route will go to Somerset for 60 miles with a 30 mile option going through Baltimore. Some of us, so hyped by a forecast of 66 degrees, will go longer, or not.
Three of us showed up at Canal for a 50-60 mile ride, Jeff S, who is now fully retired, Mark C who works half days on Sundays and me, who is a full-time working stiff and lucky to get out for a couple of hours. Jeff especially is taking advantage of all his free time to ride, run and hike, Dude has lost so much weight he looks like Justin Bieber but with huge calf muscles. We headed toward Lithopolis but I noted Mark C was huffing and puffing more than normal and even fell back a bit. Soon, he began the, "Oh, my pedal is about to come off" excuse. Yeah, that one. It works every time and some think better than the "heart palpatation" excuse. Note the lack of snow in the area.
I did not notice anything wrong with the pedal and even took this image as proof. Here, does this pedal look loose to you? I thought not. Each down stroke brought forth an update, "It just became looser". Up hills, down hills, city sign sprints, flats, it didn't matter, our ears were worn out with pedal updates. At what point does, "It just got even more loose" turn into a break? Finally, after 10 miles, Mark decided to turn around. He told us we could go on without him, kind of with, "It's ok if you guys abandon me." So, what were we to do but escort him to his house, where upon entering the driveway the pedal did break from the crank arm so I guess he wasn't making it up. He grabbed his mountain bike and we rode back to Canal, finishing with 30 miles.
Hey, looks like Silent Dave's Winter Roving Ride is the place to be this Saturday. He promises it won't be an out and back to Baltimore but an interesting, not too flat and not too hilly route of 60 and 30 miles. 9:00am start out of Cyclist Connection. I'll try to get a firm destination out of him before Saturday. Also, Grand Poobah is back in Ohio after a warm break in FL. Kenda Janet is in Vegas and will be attending a private Alicia Keyes concert so I have asked for images. Marty S and friends are in Santa Monica, CA for a training session and I am hoping to get a summary ride report.
A good day for a hike. Abundant sunshine, moderating temps, err......well I think low 30's, Mitch O carrying a backpack full of food and a bunch of good people with whom to hike. All the competitive urges get left on the bikes, the gapping, the elbowing, the head butting, the steering into the gutter, etc.... all absent from our hikes but then Grand Poobah has not been to one yet so we'll see. Steve O, Mitch, Flyin Tuna, Jeff S & Mary Louise, Butch and Peggy so 7 of us shoved off on trails that were surprisingly clear of snow in many places. Later, we ran into "Tony" a mountain bike rider who lives on Cedar Hill Road out of Canal Winchester and had a good chat with him.
I hiked with the group and then began jogging at some point, which made Steve think of the character from the movie, "A Man Called Horse" who ran without swinging his arms. At the time, I was navigating down a kind of steep and icy slope so had kept my arms down and I don't normally run stiff armed. I arrived at the shelter house after 4.6 miles and found a small group, headed by a park ranger, surveying the birds. They anticipated seeing around 40+ types throughout the day and had earlier heard a Hoot, Barn and Screech owl.
Oh my. Mitch produced lots of fresh food including two kinds of cheeses, sausage, chocolate bars, oranges, bread, crackers even a bottle of wine! Unfortunately, the aforementioned park ranger came over and told us to put it away, no alcohol in the park. We spent maybe 15 minutes here before packing up and heading back. I began running again and got in an extra loop, finishing with 10.3 miles and 2100' of climbing. As I said earlier, the trails were remarkably free of snow and what was there was thin, except in areas of shade. Probably by now most of the snow is gone. Fortunately, since it would be my turn to bring the snacks on the next hike, which may be out of Great Seal or Tar Hollow, it looks like the temps will warm for the weekend and we'll be back on the bikes.
I sent an email out to a group of people, inquiring about Saturday activity ideas. I got back a range of responses from "I sound desperate" (which I am), to a note that WBC is having a ride out of Hoover Dam parking lot at noon for 32 miles, to an offer to sell me a mountain bike (I'm thinking about it) to a question about if a dog can come on a hike if that's what we do, etc... So, after sifting through all the disparate ideas, we are going too......
Hike Clearcreek again! Yes, because it is a hilly hike with lots of distance options. The snow will be packed so you'd be fine with running shoes but if you have waterproof hiking shoes then you can strike off into the wilderness whenever you want. Some of us will be running or doing a combo of running and walking or just walking. We will have food too! Mitch O is bring fresh food in a back pack and I am bringing stale food as a back-up. Flyin Tuna is coming but she long ago drank the champagne so none of that will be available. 9:00am at Clearcreek Metro Park, just south of Lancaster off #33 via Clearcreek Road. We'll meet at the parking lot at the foot of Starner Road. Come on out and discover winter hiking through cavernous canyons, past ancient barns, leap over babbling brooks, it's great fun.
I hit Granville Golf Course and later Infirmary Mound Park for more cross country sking today. Lacking a mountain bike, I was unable to participate in John Gorrilia's 9:00am ride around Granville but as luck would have it, I ran into John and two others as they cut through the golf course. John is training for the Arrowhead 135, a bike race across northern MN later this month. Typical temperature at that time of the year is 30-40 below 0! John will join 135 other participants as they ride, run or ski the 135 mile route. You owe it to yourself to check out the website, http://www.arrowheadultra.com/index.php and read the race rules and check out the available information. Interesting.