I do not have huge news but it is also not insignificant news. I should be able to post by the end of the week but first need to vet my sources, double check all the bases, run it through the NSA, etc...
For several years, I celebrate the day when the average day time high stops its downward trend, pauses and then....get this....begins to march higher!!!! How bout that!!!! So, on January 22nd, a Sunday, the average went from 35 to 36 DEGREES!!!!! And, wait for it.....two days from now, Wednesday, the average skips up another degree to 37 degrees!!!!!!!! Of course, you are oblivious to the change because rarely does the actual temperature reach the average (setting aside a few days we have been higher during this relatively mild winter). I mean if the actual temp equaled the averages, each day we'd be riding but looking at the forecast, few will be the days we can ride. Anyway, things are looking up on the weather front so have a drink or two and celebrate this day.
Flyin Tuna organized a Saturday hike. There were 5 of us and a dog. A dog that seemed intent on wrapping it's leash around my legs whenever the opportunity arose. It succeeded in bringing me down once, and almost did so several other times.
Zaleski State Park, just west of Nelsonville, has two good loops, a north loop and a south loop. We, Cindy, Mark C, Frank S, Jeff S and Eva, headed out on the south loop. My intent was to spread my good cheer for a couple of miles and then do some running.
It being the off-season, some of us have had some difficulty outrunning our spoons and forks. With the bulky clothing it is hard to say for sure but it appears Mark C and Cindy B have been overtaken way too many times by utensils and that, that is carried in them.
We reached an overlook that had magnificent views of....well....a distant hill lined with dormant trees. Just beyond this point, at about mile 4, I bid farewell to the group and began running....well, more like trotting or maybe fast feet shuffling but anyway, I left them behind.
I came to a lake that the trail skirted briefly and then headed.....
...into mile after mile of tree lined trail. One of our group had observed that she thought this exciting stuff. I thought it exceedingly boring but grateful for the opportunity to burn some calories as I too have been caught by the spoon and fork way too many times.
OK, there were a couple of neat places along the way. The trail is marked by letters, "A", "B", etc but when I reached "K", I headed west and ......
..reached the parking lot, across from the very interesting Hope Furnace. Finished with 9.5 miles while the remainder of the group went off trail to the Moonville Tunnel and then rejoined the route to finish with around 13 miles.
Not this time, not the usual way to the marvelous Flat Iron and above it Peak 5024, a hike I have completed probably 10 times. A real classic and each day dozens of people drive from Phoenix to attempt it. No, this time.....
.....having heard of a "back way" an off trail way, I downloaded a gpx file and headed to a dirt road and shortly, the trail head. Above, in red, I show the rough route I followed. The first couple of miles is via a trail to the "Canyon of the Waterfalls" but above that...wow.
The Sonoran desert is alive with a carpet of green and many wild flowers in bloom. In the distance, "4 Peaks" mountain.
Soon I arrive at this slick rock section and the way to go is just left of the obstruction on the right but...
...why do the easy way when up the middle of that right rock is this cool climb. Just enough hand holds that a dork from Ohio can make it!
Through the channel I climbed and then ascended some more. I think that the Goldfield Mountains in the distance. I continued to follow the trail and then upon hitting a rock face, looked around it and....
...the Canyon of the Waterfalls. Such a cool place.
One of many obstacles to navigate through. Is that hoodoo giving me a big "F You" from the mountain? At times, later it seemed like it.
Now I was in uncharted territory. Probably looks like you could climb straight up but not a chance. However. there was a way high to the right. If I fell here, they would not find my cell phone, or me, for many days.
Looking back from where I had come, wow.
Having gotten through the waterfall section, I had no idea what was Peak 5024 & the Flat Iron but the gpx route indicated I should go left. This became hard to believe when I climbed into a hoodoo, rock slab area that thwarted my progress. I kept running into dead ends, house sized boulders but eventually.....
...I sprang free into the open!!! How about that? A ridge ahead.
Just then, I found a cairn (circled in red) to indicate I was on a previously traveled route and was that a boost of confidence. I wasn't lost after al!!!
Then I headed toward the obstacle in the middle, bore right around it and higher, always freakin higher.
I regret not taking images of my way slogging through that hoodoo section (above in the middle) but then I would have been disappointed by the inadequacy of it. Looking back, I also wondered why the route did not circle around that but probably there was a cliff out or something.
At last, I reach the top.
Now I head counterclockwise, skirting the above wall. After awhile and having decided I was not going to slog my way back the way I had come, I found the Flat Iron trail, descend it and...
....find the "Jacob's Crosscut Trail" that will take me around the edge of the Superstitions and back to the parking lot. Finished with 9 miles, quite rugged and then....
....enjoyed the drive home. Above, closing on the Catalinas. Hot day, 93 degrees and I had used almost all of my fluids.
This looks like a good time. The FOB (Friend of Blog) Shannon Kurek, aka HFP Racing Man, has 6 spots open in the 30 person training camp in Helen, GA. While each of the 3 disciplines are part of the camp, it appears cycling is the biggest part of the agenda and gives you the opportunity to climb Brasstown Bald. Whoa. The cost of the camp seems like a great deal too. For more info, click the below link.
I had kept the crowd waiting. Never a good thing. At 9:45am, my bike out and all good to go I reached for the arm warmers and .....dang, not there. I drove to get them and was back and on the bike by 10:10. Twenty-one had gathered.....
...quite a few Team Audis in last year's kits although I think Ken B was wearing the 2017 version.
Luke R staying fit and preparing for the Birkebeiner, a 50k, cross country event in WI. Note the absence of snow makes it a challenge to train for said event.
We head for the Jones Road climb that was certain to split us so probably now I should identify all who come because who knows when next I would have the chance (apologies to those I forgot). Andrew Hall, Eric the Dispatch Photographer, Steve Oxley, Luke & Lori, Danny A, Ken B, Travis I, Cindy B, Brandon W, Frank Seebode, Larry P, Jeff S, Mike M, Kyle Z, Pete P,.....
....new guy Brad in the middle. Later, someone said he looked a lot like Craig Butler and since Brad competes in 50+ mile trail runs and rarely rides less than 75 miles, we began to call him Craig. Brad is going to try to make it out for the Thursday New Albany rides this season. The group frequently paused to wait for we stragglers but that is not necessary. It's more important that you make the rides and ride at the pace at which you want to ride and don't worry about the caboose. We stragglers eventually form up, ride easy while talking about eating and watching reality TV shows. It's not as bad as it sounds.
Around mile 16, we reached St Louisville. About 10 people had ridden from New Albany so this was their turnaround point while a group of us, including....
...Larry van Gogh....
...headed toward Martinsburg. Reaching Martinsburg Road and heading north we passed....
...an auction at which at least 30 buggies were present. Then we...
...arrived at the market and took a break, This time of the year, it is striking how vast is the difference in fitness. I was so far back, so quickly, I can't say who was leading the way but certainly Steve O, Eric seems really fit, Frank, Mike M hmmmm I'll stop here cause otherwise I'd call out every name but my own. We lingered for only a few minutes and when reaching the 57 mile turnoff, we stayed on the 52 mile route. The last 15 miles was agony.
Some have grown weary of the first 10 miles into and out of New Albany so let's start elsewhere. Flyin Tuna has come up with two routes, one of 52 and one of 57 miles going to Martinsburg while passing through St. Louisville. 10:00am start from Granville's Wildwood Park which is on the south side of West Broadway. While Cindy will hammer with the stallions, I will travel the 52 mile route at an off season pace. Come out and at least start with the group and then move on at whatever pace you prefer.
Let the word get out that, at 11:50am, despite the rain, I was undeterred. I got the bike out and rode to the front of Starbucks but no cyclists and upon the return to the parking lot, still no one of interest so then and only then, I decided to pack it in. Then, suddenly and without warning....
...Isaac emerged from a car and began to prepare. He was decidedly unenthusiastic about riding. We chatted a bit and then....
....Luke, stylish dressed as always and in Italian garb, showed up and then Frank S swooped in. Each of us had arrived via a different direction and each of us had encountered rain. Luke checked radar and passed the screen around so we could all see....it don't look good folks. I had no option, considering I am creating a "Man Cave" in my son's house while being burdened with a crushing regular work load at home but to move on to more important things.
Naturally, the remaining 4 were bummed that the life of the party was moving on. But, what happened? Were they simply spewing pessimism so the weak minded among us (me) would move on and they could then ride happily? Entirely possible but they retreated for coffee, reemerged at 12:45 and got in a 44 mile ride. Meantime, I got busy as a carpenter. I managed to fire a nail into my hand, saw a portion of a not so important finger, accidently apply "Liquid Nails" between fingers and misread a Level, thinking it showed horizontal when instead it was vertical. This will be a very creative Man Cave.
Noon, 12:00, at New Albany Starbucks in New Albany, a group will form and then ride the below route. I will be there to lead an off season pace while Luke and Isaac, among others, will be there to lead an A/Rivet pace.
I profusely apologize for the lack of content this week. It must have been awful to check in on the blog and continue to see an image of me on a high school golf team. Analogous to walking in and catching your parents, no probably grandparents, having sex.
I have a good excuse though. I came down with an ugly cocktail of symptoms that ranged from blood flow from every orifice, ear ache, sore throat, cold spells, hot spells, vaginal discharge, loss of memory, dizziness, runny nose, anxiety, yellow skin and those are just from the first day. Things got worse thereafter!!!! I was conflicted because a team of doctors diagnosed Black Death while my wife said it was a cold virus. I was walking around with a head that felt like a swollen pumpkin.
My body finally shrugged off the unhealthy chains this morning and I went for a short trail run. How about that! I felt pretty good although I still have a pumpkin head. I hope that will pass in time.
844 of you visited the blog this week. I can never shake the awe that generates with me. Can there be that many cubicle dwellers that are so bored they come to a site like this? Apparently yes. With site restrictions at work removing porn sites, I guess that gives this site an advantage. Well, time to get back at it. There is a hike on Sunday but details are sketchy still yet a bike ride on Monday so.....more on that later.
Today, as I struggle for content during the lull of winter, I watched a guy by the name of Justin Thomas win the PGA Tour's Tournament of Champions. His grandfather, Paul was the head pro at Zanesville Country Club where I worked for a season as an assistant, his father Mike was on the ZHS team with me!!!! There I am, top row to the far left. I was the token guy from the poor section of Zanesville and with Title IV, I got on the team!!! This was before you had to have a minimum GPA of 1.5 too. Note the sytlish white belt. I still wear it often. I post this only to establish some cred with you cyclists. While you pass me rapidly on the hills and, truth be, on the flats and down hills too, know I could kick your ass, if I practiced a bunch, on the golf course. Many years later, after a failed attempt to turn pro, I won the....get this....the Licking County Amateur. That plaque hangs on my office wall and I polish it every feakin day.
From Cindy B: A few of us are planning to hike on Saturday at 10:00, starting at Boch
Hollow State Nature Preserve, 7000 Beach Camp Road, Bremen. None of us have
been to this preserve; it looks like there could be around 6 miles of
All are welcome. We hike at a fairly fast pace but can form two groups if needed. Too cold to ride so if you want to get outside, come join us.
Yes, the sidewalk and parking lots were filled with cyclists in a gleeful mood as demonstrated by Todd Larson, who photobombed the image but that's ok as it added much to the image. I walked into the Veloscience shop and....
...the place is packed with new bikes. Some where in here is Scott Billman's new ride which I am told has a motor in the frame but it was in a roped off area and I could not get close to it. Later, somehow, lots of people carmmed in here for Mellow Mushroom Pizza and Kristie's cookies.
I wandered out to a filling parking lot and hey, there is Dirty Dan, Flyin Tuna and Steve Oxley, ready to roll.
The Cookie Lady, Kristie on the left with Don N and others with whom I would end up riding the 40 mile route.
The odd thing about today, other than a one in eleven billion weather day of sun and warmth (sort of) was I did not recognize very many cyclists. Some who I thought would be here were not but on the other hand, you could be my brother or sista and with all that clothing, I would not recognize you
The crowd mounted and I counted a bit over 80! Amazing! Some Riveters were here like Philippe, Doug M, Travis, Ken Buddell, Danny A, Kyle, Sergej, ...Riveters disguised as A's; Scott Billman and Paul Djupe, etc... It got to be about 10 after the official start time when suddenly a guy wearing a Veloscience kit (maybe Geoff?) rode through and....
...we started to ride except for the dude in summer clothing who crashed but quickly remounted and was good to go.
Steve Fields on the left and others got stopped at #62 and already the large group was split and slit many times at various stop signs and intersections. I got in with the Kristie and Don show with Allen, Andres, Michael, Cindy and a couple others. Good group and we motored around with....
...a few stops to regroup. A great day for a ride and we finished with a bit under an 18mph average. Others on the long route finished with a 20.5 so no one was killing it and watching the Strava Fly-bys, looked like other groups regrouped too.