I felt like taking a day off to allow my toasted legs to recover and normally after 2-3 days of riding out here I do but the itinerary called for a shortish 62 miles with the Harris Grade and dreaded Drum Canyon climbs. So, hooked up with the Planet Ultra group, a group that continues to attrite as today, Friday, we were down to 9 of the original 17. Some people did not show up after Monday's spin around the valley or after the shock of climbing the Fig on Tuesday. I hear these people are still in the area but doing short rides or hanging out at the wineries. Speaking of which, I've not been to one yet and running out of time. Headed out #246, hung a left at Avenue of the Flags Road, turns into Santa Rosa Road and passed this field.
Eventually, after going through Lompoc, we hit the Harris Grade climb. 300+ feet of elevation gain but not steep and a chance to spin to the top with great views to the west.
The views going down the other side towards #135 are good too!
Followed the tandem couple and the two Planet Ultra guides for 12 miles into Los Alamos. The tandem couple are from Argentina, now living in Seattle. Today, they were informed the body of her brother, who had died 4 years ago in a white water rafting ride, was recovered while officials were using sonar to search for some else who had drowned last week. Most of the group stopped to sit in a cafe to eat but I wanted to get the ride over with and headed, gulp, up Drum Canyon and down the bumpy butt side. the climbing is great out here of course but the descents can be good too, here on #246 close to Buellton. Finished with 62 miles and 3125' of climbing. Conflicted about tomorrow's (Saturday"s) ride as it is a 100 miles that includes Foxen Canyon and Tepusquet. The conflict is the Buckeyes tip off out here at 5:45 and I've got to find a seat somewhere in time to watch. What do do, what to do....
I take a lot of images while I'm out here, some that have nothing to do with the ride so here's one, a strange looking tree.
Recall I thought the saloon at the Union Hotel in Los Alamos would be a neat place to visit? I know many of you think of me as a Quiche eating foo-foo wine drinker and normally you are correct but I am also comfortable walking into this place and sitting with the locals, biker gang members and talking and drinking a glass of Figueroa Pale Ale while....
...asking if this is a real moose head or a fake one. It's real. Some guy said it would be small for an Alaskan moose, large for a Canadian, ot the other way around...I can't remember. I sat next to a guy who is an independent welder making $80 an hour and has more work then he can handle. His father planted the first grape vines in the Santa Ynez Valley back in 1973 and when you reach the cattle guard at the top of Drum Canyon Road, the 38 acres to the south are his....or his dad's...I can't remember.
Cindy B, aka Flyin Tuna, is leading a ride on Saturday and asked me to post the below.
Leaving from the Y in Newark at 9:00 on
Saturday; going to Bladensburg, route to be around 60 miles with longer options
available. Maps will be available.
Get out there and support the Tuna so she does not ride alon.
While it was a foggy start, the forecast called for sunny skies and warm temps, a perfect mix for one of the area's classic routes out to Jalama Beach. While there are 17 cyclists in the Planet Ultra group, they come and go and people I saw on Tuesday I have not seen again...guess they had their fill of this Ohioan? When I looked at the roster prior to the start of the tour, showing a little age bias here, I wondered if some of them knew what they were getting themselves into. Got to give Gerd from Berkley, the guy on the trike, a lot of credit. He's 74 and made it up the Fig, pushing in places where his machine bottomed out on the ruts in the dirt section, having one flat tire he fixed himself and another that the guy in the Trek Travel van stopped and fixed for him. Yet, he made it.
A women I had not seen on any of the previous ride showed up today and had a cable problem. We all stared at it, Planet Ultra Brian said he could fix it and....
.....Martin, Tim and I headed off into the fog but check out the hillside where the sun was beaming through. Tim, on the right is an amazing endurance athlete. He is a retired firefighter so he rides all the time. 64 years old and freakin incredible sprinter and climber. Grand Poobah could only dream of this guys sprinting speed. Gives me hope. We headed out Santa Rosa Road and had some intense competitions for KOM points at the various summits along this road. By the way, Martin's mountain bike ride I described yesterday (11,500 feet of climbing in 55 miles) is called Vision Quest and you can Google it to find out how difficult is the challenge.
Some regrouping occurred and we reached Jalama Road, guarded by this sentinel of the road, a 200+ year old oak. The image does not do justice to the size of this monster. The 14 miles from this point out to Jalama Beach is just indescribeable. Climbs, flats, valleys, hundreds of old oaks, farm lands, wind, sun, looming ridges, and then....
.....round a corner and here is the payoff, after 39 miles. So, I consumed a Jalama burger and fries. Lots of other cyclists milling around, including a couple of racing teams from Seattle, who escaped the rain up there. Then we headed back. Riding up those climbs with the burger in the belly is not such a good sensation. We reached hwy#1, 5 of us regrouped, a debate ensued about taking the 1 and 101 for 16 miles which was the printed route or heading back via Santa Rosa Road. We took SR Road instead as riding on the highway, despite the wide berm, is somewhat risky with the truck and car traffic going by at 65+mph. My only criticism of the tour is an over reliance on riding the #1 when there are lonely country road alternatives. I don't get it..
Above, the start of the ride back from Jalama Beach. We hooked up with a tandem on SR Road and they blazed the route, think of Mark and Karen Rossi on steroids. I put my drafting excellence on display for all to see. Finished with 77 miles and 5200' of climbing.
Wow, yesterday there were 472 unique visitors to the blog and so far today, 492 page views but only 97 unique visitors so some of you are quite anxious for the report from Wednesday and here it is. "Winter" out here was colder than normal so plants seem to be a little behind with not so many blooming. Still, I passed a vast field of strawberries that were being harvested. Today's weather was cloudy at the start, then light rain moved in for 2 hours, then cloudy skies, then partly cloudy and windy and then glorious sunshine.
Today's route was out past Casmalia, a remote part of the region. We headed out Santa Rosa Road and were soft pedaling so someone could catch back after a nature break. Suddenly 13 cyclists swooshed by followed by two follow vehicles. This was the Chris Carmichael training group headed out to Jalama Beach. We regrouped and picked up speed.
Appears these three are the top dogs of our group, Martin, Brian and Rob. Martin is racing in a mountain bike event this weekend or next. I asked how much climbing and he said around 12,000' so I assumed a 100 mile route, right? No, the course is less than 60 miles with a 2 mile "hike-a-bike" which is a section so steep it can't be ridden. Rob owns a nutrition bar business while Brian is with Planet Ultra.
We caught up with Gerd, riding is trike and who had started early. I slowed and rode with him for awhile, thinking we would regroup at the 30 mile SAG stop. Good guy and enjoyed talking to him but on a climb got ahead of him and kept going. Pulled into the SAG stop and the front 4 were leaving without regrouping, nice. I had to stop to refill fluids and eat and didn't really mind missing the group. Other than, this put me out on the ride for a solo odyssey with a lot of time on Highway 1, past Vandenberg Air Force Base, onto San Antonio Road through a very remote area, back onto 1, then east on 135 and pulled into Los Alamos for a Monster at this market. Los Alamos has an old west kind of feel to it with the old Union Hotel and a saloon or two...hey, might have to check that out!
So, at mile 65, the route took us up Drum Canyon Road, a road I have previously stated is the roughest paved road I've ever ridden and nothing has changed for this year except it is marginally rougher. Geez, so beat after descending off this 800' brute and damn glad I'm riding a carbon frame and fork. Hung a left on #246 and eventually, back into Solvang with 85 miles and 4800' of climbing. Ahhh, today is the classic route out to Jalama Beach and the famous Jalama burger. I hope it is as good as I remember, I hope, I hope.
I stopped in at Dave Lettieri's Fastrack Bicycles shop in Santa Barbara. I hit this spot each year because it is a cool bike shop with a great selection of clothing, memorabilia on the walls and bikes. Normally, it is a bit unkempt which adds to the charm as they run a lot of business through here. However, 3 months ago the place was reorganized and now its a wellkempt bike shop doing a lot of business so will be interesting to see if it remains neat and tidy. The guy working in the back, Luke, is a heck of a sales person. He almost had me buying bibbed shorts to go with the jersey I picked out and tried to sell me a bike. He was undeterred that A; I already had a good bike and B; I was visiting from Ohio.
Great selection of Scott & Trek bikes, along with other brands.
Dave was Lance Armstrong's personal mechanic during one of his Tour wins and prior to that competed on numerous national teams, including the Olympic team, a team at the Goodwill Games and World championship teams. Note his jerseys hanging on the wall.....
....signed jerseys from Armstrong....
....and other jerseys signed by cyclists. Very cool place and Dave seems to always be there, working and not the least bit pretentious.
Today's scheduled ride was up Figueroa Mountain (the one in the background not the fore ground). Normally, I do this route 1-2 times at the end of my visits to gauge my fitness. Doing it the first day???? However, this is the schedule I must follow as a part of the Planet Ultra tour group. There are 17 of us in this group, another 13 with Trek Travel and two other tour groups in the valley this week. Both us and Trek were doing "The Fig" today.
After 12 miles or so and 1000' of climbing, we reached the base of Fig. Here, I stopped to redress, hydrate and consume a GU. The guy on the left is Mark from MN. Good guy but being in MN, no matter how mild the winter, you're not going to be in good shape. The guy on the right, Gerd from Berkley, had a very, very long day climbing this monster. These climbs run together in my mind and I had forgotten how long it is but the Trek Travel van driver said from this spot, it is exactly 12 miles to the top. So, as I shoved off, I had roughly 30 cyclists in front of me, a very mediocre cyclist from the plains of Ohio.
On the opening slopes, I passed quite a few of the infirmed, disabled and weak. After 3 miles of climbing, I hit the packed dirt/rock/gravel section that is about 3/4 of a mile and then reached the apex of a saddle and had a long glorious descent into an area with multiple stream crossings and campgrounds. Then the real climbing began. It is friggin steep. Some people had stopped to rest at one of the stream crossings but I had a schedule to keep so I kept plodding along. One of our group passed me, I said, "Lookin Good" and he said nothing. Odd. At the 6 and slightly+ point I looked at my computer and it was at exactly 45 minutes. Normally if I'm in decent shape I break the 1:30 mark so I was doing ok but knew with 6 steep miles to go, things did not look good for me to break the 1:30 mark. This climb is odd in that you never see the summit until you are at the summit. At some point, the Planet Ultra van had stopped but I yelled over I had a time to beat and was going to keep going. The guy who had previously passed me had stopped but I kept turning the crank and at times, actually felt good and picked up the pace.
While you can not see where the road twists and turns above you, as you look back down, a broad expanse of the road opens and the views are of course, spectacular. In the above image, this is going down the other side but gives you an idea of the view. At mile 8, I looked at the computer and thought #@#%^&# it, I'm not going to make my time with still 4 freakin miles to go and in my weakened state, became rather despondent. then....what's this.....I recognize this section and it is close to the top......crossed a cattle guard, hit a steep slope where someone had chalked, "u're almost there", and WOW, reached the top, hit the stop button on the computer and had smashed my previous best time. That felt really good. I concluded that upon my return to Ohio, Flyin T will not drop me for at least a month or two.
As others reached the top, a guy from Norway took my image that shows how I looked.....
.....then he took an image of how I felt.
On the ride down, came around a corner and almost hit one of these beasts. They were happy to pose for a picture. So, the climb was not 12 but 9.82 miles, a 3560'elevation gain ridden at an average of 7.4mh and did it in 1:19. the ride total was 48 miles, 5200' of elevation gain and rewarded myself with a stop at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe. However, I discovered I reward myself with a great restaurant and food no matter what I did out here. Tomorrow, it's out to wild California through Casmalia.
If you have driven practically anywhere in the southwest, you have seen a billboard promoting "The Thing". Hey, I happened to have finally driven by the exit for it and stopped. Nothing more than a large gift shop with a Dairy Queen and a large door advising that you pay $1 to go into a room and see what is "the Thing". I passed.
So, drove from Tucson to Solvang, Ca on Monday. took me just less than 9 hours and loved the 70-75mph speed limit signs, which meant there was plenty of opportunity to draft off someone going 90+.Skills I have learned at cycling transfer nicely to driving. Driving on I10, just north of Palm Springs, there is a pass through the mountains through which winds roar, turning the turbines on wind farms.
Arrived in Solvang, unpacked the bike, put it together, rode it to Dr. J's bike shop and they checked that I had secured all the bolts, nails and screws securely and so I bought a jersey. Went to Hitching Post II restaurant and had a great meal and one and I mean only one, glass of wine.... Tomorrow is the ride up Figueroa Mountain. I am certain that while yes, I arrived from the off season as just an ordinary overweight schlep on a bike, at some point, I entered the mediocre stage where I normally reside. However, if I ride as much as I intend and at the intensity I plan....not much will change because I'll hit the burnout stage and begin the long slide back to a schlep on a bike by October. Great views out here, this along Ballard Canyon Road.
Greetings from sunny and warm Arizona. Well, I did not make the Saturday Shhotout ride. It starts at 7:00am, is in south Tuscon so I'd have to get up at 5:30,....anyway, the ole legs were still toasted from the mountain climb the day before. Rode Sunday up to Oracle and then hiked up Beckets Ridge in Sabino Canyon so that was good. On Monday, it's off to California where the real cycling will begin. Meantime, the below image was sent by Steve O and the story below is from Nathan, all about the Sunday ride out of Cyclist Connection. Enjoy the superior reporting from one of my cub reporters.
Title: Summer to Spring
Well the unseasonably warm weather came to a halt today as 80 degree temps earlier in the week gave way to highs in the low 60s with threatening looking skies and winds from the North at 5-15mph. This was the scene as those who rode gathered in the parking lot at Cyclist Connection in Canal for the weekly Sunday ride. Present were many of those you would expect: Corvair, The OX, Grand Poobah, 3 new guys with "D" names, Little Diesel, Kenda Janet, Richard (who I propose we call "Dirty Ole' Dick"), not because he has a smell or is potty mouthed, he quite personable actually, but because he's 72, and still a solid rider and it would be funny.... anyway, Horse Satchel Bob, the Rossi Train......
There were many, roughly 25, and they gathered around our brave ride leader, Randeneur Dave, as if he were going to say something really smart or funny.... it was as expected, and I paraphrase; "Don't get killed and if you do make sure you've signed the liability release form.... oh! and were headed East so that you can suffer terribly in a solid, peloton-killing cross-wind both there and back and be gutter-ridden if you get stuck in the line behind Grand Poobah!" ... or something like that. I'm sure that's not it EXACTLY but that was the jist of it. ...and to the snickity snick of riders snapping into their pedal systems, we shoved off for places eastward.
Now I want to take a short break hear and remind those reading this, that I am somewhat map challenged in that I don't like to read them and as a result I am unable to quote all of the roads we traveled other than to say we went first toward Millersport via the nomal-ish route utilizing Bickel Church Road, Deepcut and that road that enters town. Aside completed, I'd also like to say that I've been having a somewhat successful sprinting record of late and as a result, I decided to try my luck at the Millersport sign sprint... I hung back and pounced with about 300 yards to go... there was a heated battle and victory was snatched from my grasp by the width of the finest hair by Grand-Poobah, who slyly allowed me to lead out into the headwind and... well.... it still hurts to think about it. He is as wiley and cunning as they say. I'll have to keep that in mind going forward.
I felt somewhat consoled by the idea of a food stop only moments away. There were other sprints ahead, shurly one would be mine! My eyes gleamed with the thought of some scrumptious delight at the upper deck coffee shop.... and maybe something to eat and drink too, but NO! I've yet again been foiled by another ride leader promising tea and cake at some stop, only to find out they were CLOSED!!!! BTW... I still haven't forgotten that last unfulfilled pancake promise....! You know who you are!
There was discussion among the leaders and Grand Poobah shortly shooed the lead group out of town with promise of a stop in Pleasantville.... a mere 15 miles away! We rode... climbing the increasingly hilly route, getting lost only once and soon the water tower lay in the distance and I once again hatched an evil plan to take the sign-sprint. This time, i would allow the OX to cover GP and I would cover him, to swoop in and grab the golden glory of the win at the last moment. The trap set, GP sprinted off the front with only 150 yards to go and as expected the Ox replied but was unable to close the gap and allow my snatchy, grabby, trickeration to become fulfilled. Sigh.... OK.... OK... There are more ahead. Surly the cruelty could not continue. I was soon treated to a Valero gas station, mountain dew and a glorious selection of power bars. There was a brief sit-and-feast out on the picnic bench and before you knew it, we were all freezing to death. So, motivated by the thermal craziness that is central ohio in spring, we rolled... I made my way to the front to find Poobah lazily pedaling at a solid 14, wisely gathering his flock. He struck up a friendly conversation and 30 seconds later the Grand Poobah takes his hands of the handlebars, raises both into the air in victory and exclaimed loudly "I AM the KING OF CYCLING!!!! YES! YES! YES! TRIFECTA!!!! HAT TRICK!!!! TRIPLE CROWN!!!! YEEEEESSS!" I have never seen a more horrific burst of enthusiasm and I turned to look at him only to realize... We had just ridden past the "Welcome to Pleasentville" sign-sprint sign and he had taken his third sign sprint of the day. Clever..... ...and at under 14 MPH.... Not very sporting, but clever. The ride turned westward and it was a straight shot via carol eastern nearly all the way back. I didn't try the sign sprint leading into Carol, hoping that GP would tire as he attempted another grab at a sprint... winning his fourth... One to go and you only remember the last anyway... that's the one that counts... BTW Steve. I thought you were turning of Kauffman, so that's where I turned only to find out after spending the next 3 miles catching back up to the leaders that you had turned a street earlier... OK... Returning to the warm and accurate write-up; The run up into town quickened as we approached Canal. GP began whipping the front of the draft line for more speed like a demented chariot rider. I knew his plan and I countered by refusing the front, staying firmly behind in the draft, awaiting the sprint. We turned onto the final straight-away, the sign loomed in the distance awaiting to declare the ultimate victor of the day.... He knew he was in trouble... glancing over his shoulder in the knowledge of my superior position behind him... HE JUMPED!!! Off like the rabbit from the wolf... legs pumping furiously and I covered him easily... a little too easily, but my desire to crush his warrior spirit overwhelmed me and I began my slingshot around only to find out that he'd been sandbagging!!! Side by side we traversed the final 40 yards as no other two men have ever raced in the history of cycling, in the history of racing! IN THE HISTORY OF MEN!!!!! 40 yards.... 30.... 20..... 10...... here it is...... Now you may be wondering... who won that glorious battle of the titans? I will not say... I CANNOT say! For those that witnessed it have perished from over exposure to awesomeness. I will only say, I was proud to be a part of this amazing and dramatic event... signing off... Cub Reporter: Nathan (Recumbent Dude) --- END STORY ---
I've well documented my several previous failures attempting the Mount Lemmon climb in Tucson. If it wasn't running out of water it was running out of daylight or not having appropriate clothing for the colder temps up top. This time I planned to shove off late morning with temps in the 70's in the valley and ride while the temps rose so, assuming I reached the top, it would be in the low 60's. It just so happened, this tour group pulled into the parking lot at the same time I did. Nice people who were happy to let me use their pump to top off my tire pressure. Much more on this group coming up.
Walked into "La Buzz" a popular coffee shop while wearing an OSU jersey and immediately, these people yelled, "O.H.". Turns out they are from Columbus and ride out of Plain City with the Dutch Kitchen gang.
Shoved off at around 11:30am and after 4-5 miles, began the 26 mile climb. Recently came across the below that lists the 10 most difficult climbs in the US and see Lemmon is at #9. I was oblivious about the existence of #8, which is not far away and something I will do in the future. Early on, I noted my legs felt great, benefitting from the 200+ mile block I did last weekend. Cyclists were streaming off the mountain and I stopped counting at #60. About a 1/3 of the way up, I was passed by a guy from the Lizard Head Cycling Tour and later learned he has wintered in Tucson, training for tri's. Passed a couple of guys and then......
.....this guy caught me, John Humphries. He asked what was a Buckeye doing on the slopes of Mt. Lemmon and we began talking. A small world moment ensued when he asked, since I was from central Ohio, did I know a guy named John Sada? Why yes, he lives a couple of miles from me. He asked if I knew John Marten, Steve P, Todd and others. Some I knew, some I did not but each of the aforementioned cyclists participate in a Colorado tour that Lizard Head hosts. The Lizard van was parked along the side of the road and John was nice enough to ask if I wanted anything to eat or drink but I was good, although I did need to tighten my seat which had dropped a bit. Good guy and you can view his site at www.lizardheadcyclingguides.com. They put on 16 tours, mostly in Colorado and Utah but have stretched out to AZ. John specifically asked that I let Sada know that he is training every day and is more than ready for him!
At long last, I reached the point above the Pallisades gift shop which is perpetually closed, climbed a little farther and at last, enjoyed a one mile descent, climbed another mile or so, descended again and reached the point above Summerhaven (a massive fire moved through the area a few years ago and wiped out the entire village save for 2 buildings).. Do I drop down to that town and enjoy a cookie at the Cookie Barn or stop at the general store or should I turn right and ascend to the Mt. Lemmon ski station where there is a restaurant? What has happened to me, I turned right and headed up another 2+ steep miles. I had no idea how far I had to go but after rounding a curve and seeing yet another long straightaway, I said to myself, "one more of those and I'm turning around", came around a curve and shazam, there was the restaurant. So, after 26 miles and 6300' of climbing, I collapsed into a chair and ordered food, lots of it. Coasted back down a glorious down hill with wide berms and turns and after a total of 61 miles, reached the parking lot with 7000' of climbing. Tomorrow, probably participate in Tucson's Saturday Shootout.
Yep, by the time most of you are reading this I will be crammed into a too small seat on a plane that is flying too slow. The machine is in the care of Fed Ex and scheduled to arrive on time in fabulous Solvang, CA, where I will pick up on Monday and begin a grueling schedule of riding, eating and drinking, not necessarily in that order. Thanks to our great weather, I'm as ready as I need to be, if not as ready as I can be....or something like that with close to 600 miles for the month and likely my first ever 1000+ mile month when March ends. First, a stop in Tucson where I will dust off bike #2 and not just ride up Mount Lemmon but make it to the top and have a giant cookie at the Cookie Barn. Read a list of the top 50 rides in the US and the Lemmon climb was slotted at #9. Then I'll probably participate in the Saturday "Shootout" ride, help my wife run her half marathon on Sunday and then, drive to California. I am really jacked and kind of looking forward to the drive as I have never been between Phoenix and Palm Springs and looking forward to what is out there....yeah, probably typical southwest scenery but that's ok, I love it. Check back often for some great images of the beautiful scenery. Meantime.....
My good buddy Ryan Roe sent me the above image from the action on Tuesday's ride. Nathan had a flat and the chickens watched him fix it...really...check out the chickens in the upper right corner. Only 5-6 cyclists showed up for the unoffical 5:30pm ride but quite a few more headed out at 6:00pm.
Jon Morgan sent an email out that the unofficial New Albany ride will start at 6:00pm on Thursday but this is not the COP sanctioned event. That one starts in April but it sounds like a large crowd will show up this week for a 35 mile route. Can't wait to rejoin my New Albany buddies and get pounded into sand. Oh yeah, being pounded into sand is a heck of an experience, right up there with sharp sticks plunging into eyes.
OK, that's it cycling partners. Talk to you soon, hopefully Thursday.
Ryan R called me and took me to the woodshed for not posting that the Tuesday Canal ride is on at 5:30pm. This is not the COP ride as that one begins the first week in April at 6:00. Ryan tells me this week and next week they'll start at 5:30.
Many of our friends and competitors competed at the Deer Creek Road Race on Saturday. My on site cub reporter, Steve Oxley, positioned himself at a nasty section of road with pot holes, anticipating carnage and he was rewarded. Lots of pile-ups that directly involved our friends or impacted on their finish. Below is a report from Marty Sedluk. Marty has gotten around this winter, traveling the breadth of the equator on whatever island or country has paved roads, hills and daily high temps in the 80s. Lisa Tyler said she and Tim were riding in the mountains above Santa Monica in January and there they found Marty! Another friend told me he was down in Puerto Rico and there was Marty! Next winter, we'll do a "Where in the World is Marty Waldo" to try to keep track of him. Anyway, here's Marty's experience: I know what you're thinking, did Marty gain 50 lbs over the winter while on a Caribbean beach drinking rum punch? No, I am riding fine and things are going well. But believe me that at times during the race I was just hoping to finish without road rash.
I am a Cat 4 and this was only my 3rd licensed race. They had 100 registered racers for the Cat 3/4. I could have signed up for the Cat 4/5 and presumably done better, but I am more interested in the experience. We had 100 registered racers and then they added about 30 women racers to our field. I never got an exact count but they sent out an e-mail before the race saying they have never seen anything like this before. The first crash happened within the first 100 yards. I heard there were several more crashes / flat tires ect.. It was a zoo. It was very difficult to move up in the field. They strictly enforced the yellow line rule so that you typically had 2-3 riders across and there was simply nowhere to go. The course was very flat with only two gently rises that did very little to break up the group. Unfortunately it was crashes that broke the peloton and reduced the size.
At 45 miles into the 55 mile race we probably had a peloton of 65 riders. I was literally in the back of the peloton with a 125 heart rate just pedaling along happy to not have any road rash. The first 45 miles were surging but nothing that was going to break things up. I worked my way up to probably 20th place by advancing when the riders would shift to one side or the other while trying to tuck in because of the somewhat brisk cross wind. If it was not windy I would not have had any chance of advancing unless I was willing to risk my life. Looking back I should have moved further up when the opportunity arose.
In the final turn I found that I had fallen back a few more spots, a few guys did a great job of advancing when the group started to narrow to the outside before the turn. The last stretch had a brisk cross wind, I used it to my advantage and moved up several places but as soon as I tucked in behind a rider I was getting passed. I had my elbows out a little and one guy hit me pretty good on my left elbow, I now remember reading that you never have your elbows out. That it can really destabilize you when you get side swiped.
I thought that I gained some ground as we started to sprint. There was a rise before the finish, that helped me some but things were still pretty tight. I passed numerous guys and no one passed me. But in front of me was a wall of riders taking the whole lane. At 200 meters before the finish they finally let you use the whole width of the road. But to be fair most of the guys in front of me had strong sprints.
From Mark--I looked up other cyclist results and found Billy Campbell finished at 24th, Chris Grisvard 25th (he's the guy that kills us out old 161 on Thursdays), Blair Fraley at 26th, Isaiah Wallake at 31st who just downgraded from Cat 2, Rick Lewis was at 40th, Pete Czerwinski at 48th, Young Phenom Logan Leland finished 49th, Doug McConaha was at 55th, Dave Chesrown was at 58th, Kayla Starr was at 5th in Women's 1/2/3 but I know she also crashed, Tim Tyler was 19th in the Cat 1/2/3, Kevin W of Olympus crashed out of the 3/4. I know Younger Phenom Nic raced too but could not find his result. Sorry if I missed someone but the above explains why our Thursday group ride has become so fast.
Yes, after a lot of hard work by people in high places, twisting arms, consulting, bribing, threatening and cajoling, an esteemed member of the cycling community has stepped forward and volunteered to take charge of the infamous New Albany Thursday COP rides (above is a reminder of what he is getting in to but now is not the time to discourage him). This man among men (I know, you think I am about to name myself but no) who will some day have his face in granite on Mount Rushmore for this selfless act officially takes over on April 5th. In the mean time, some people will begin showing up this Thursday at 6:00pm but it is not an official COP ride until the 5th. Probably I should not identify the new ride leader, who some of us will want to refer to as "Dear Leader" for a few days, just to be safe.
News alert!!!!!!!!!!!! Incredible news to report later this day. Am fact checking and getting at least part of my story accurate before going to print but this is big Central Ohio and I mean big. How big you ask? Very big mabe even very, very big. Beyond that I can not say more other than it is big and you will be happy. How happy you ask? very happy and perhaps even very, very happy. I am bursting to tell you but it will be a couple of hours as I check and double check my sources and spies. However, you'll be glad. How glad you ask........
John Sada informed me today that Retro George, one of the great characters of central Ohio cycling, is going in this week for that long awaited procedure. As many of you know, George was experiencing periods either on the bike or simply by walking, when his heart rate would increase dramatically and stay at a high rate even while resting. This has kept him off the bike for a long time but approximately 5 days after having the procedure, George will be able to return to cycling.
Dave Miller's COP ride had scheduled distances of approximately 30, 62 and 74. Previously, I had wormed my way onto Steve O & Mark C's very select century invite list and it was decided we would start with the COP group and then in Laurelville, head farther afield to gain the needed miles. Geez, what a turnout at Cyclist Connection, the starting point, Dave says 44 but there are always a few who don't bother to sign up so the actual quantity was probably closer to 50. By the way, someone asked if being a member of COP was a requirement for participating in the rides and no, all are welcome but you ought to join up anyway.
We headed south and in our group, I was tagging along in the #12 spot when after awhile I yelled back to Nathan, inquiring as to how many additional cyclists were in our group behind me, "25" he yelled. But then, after chugging through the hills of Cedar Hill, things slimmed down a bit and as we passed west of Amanda, it appeared to me, as I infrequently popped my head in the airstream to look, Steve O, Mike Rea, Stefano, Blair S and Steve H were taking most of the pulls with Mark C, Kevin H, Nathan, Kenda Janet, Jeff S, Ginger, Grand Poobah, Mark V and me hanging in there along with Corvair and Flyin T who were popping on and off. As we approached Tarleton, I regret having to report an event that at least will result in someone's man card being pulled and surprisingly it did not involve Poobah.
As most are aware, the road entering Tarleton is mostly a broken surface of holes and so, the village sign is not contested with a sprint.....except Nathan, aka Recumbent Dude, yanked his upright bike out of the line, DROPPED INTO THE AERO BARS and began pumping for the village sign. He was pursued by Ginger, using classic, respectable sprinting skills that have been honed for years. She had almost overtaken Mr Aero when he was saved by the arrival of the sign. Those who witnessed the scene began letting out guffaws and wisecracks and we laughed about it all the way to Laurelville, except when the pace picked up , dampening the good mood. Some where in there I took a token pull..
We swarmed the gas station/market, which has the foulest restrooms I've seen in a long time. Here, those of us with energy stood around and talked and those who were beaten and battered, sat.
At this point, the short cutters began making comments about being on a short leash, having to get home to mow the grass, and so here they depart, heading back on the 62 mile loop. I put in a serious recruiting effort and got Ginger to join the century club and so she, Mark C, Steve O and Jeff S headed out of town via the long climb up Thompson's Ridge. Those taking the 74 mile loop would be on a flat route west and then north through Circleville and then on to Canal W. About half way up the climb, I began thinking about what an interesting route the 74 milers were on but I plodded on. Some where in there, the route got changed so we could include riding by Wildcat Hollow so after turning right on 374, we made a left on 678, going through Gibisonville and then a right on Starr and a left took us down a very neat descent on Wild Cat Road. We made a right at the deadend and rode a gravel road for quite awhile to Big Pine, making a right and following that a long way to 56 and then back to Laurelville.
Somewhere along there Ginger asked me if anyone in California ever says they are impressed that someone from Ohio could ride the mountains so well. To that I replied, "Ginger, I've never done anything on a bike that ever impressed anyone." and we had a good laugh with that line. At Laurelville, we had 65 miles and after noting the time, realized I could still catch the last half of the Buckeye game and I headed north. Many people were out and the countryside was filled with activity, trees producing flowers, forsythia ablaze, flowers blooming, warm air...what a great day for cycling and to be a Buckeye fan too.I finished with 98 miles, the other 4 would have finished with 107.
Rick Miller put my bike through the wringer and out popped a rejuvenated cycling machine, ready for a pro, unfortunately for this bike, it's being ridden by something less than a pro. Too bad, the luck of the draw I guess. Rick installed new bright YELLOW brake pads and said they had better braking grab and boy do they! Practically got thrown over the handlebars a couple of times. He replaced the cable housings with BRIGHT WHITE and wow do they stand out now. Replaced the tires with black Continentals, maybe they would have looked better with yellow or white sidewalls but overall, a new looking bike.
I felt like riding the damn thing so at around 2:00pm, headed out and wound my way to Utica......what the? Then headed further east via Bell Church and hung a right at Purity and experienced that up and down grinder and then arrived at Houdeshell, where last year, 1-2 of our more inept riders fell while riding through a gravel patch on that 20%+ grade section. Hah, I need to check this out as the road is still on the Granville Climbing Challenge route coming up in late May. Kind of choppy pavement but after riding a few of John Gorrilla's routes last year, not bad. Then I approached the wall, then I saw the gravel section, then I thought about falling, then I unclipped and then I pushed my bike up the wall...... OK, need to create an alternative.
Got onto Route 79 but did not take the Pinewood loop, instead heading straight to the market at 79/Purity. Lots of people entering the market and coming out with cases of beer. It being late on a Friday, I began to wonder about the wisdom of riding at this time and sure enough, after heading north on Purity, someone in a rush tried to go around me approaching the crest of a hill and there was a squeal of brakes and burning rubber but the two cars managed to avoid each other. Turned left on Loches, eventually got onto St Joseph and finally back into Granville with 57 miles and 3900' of climbing. Now, you may wonder, dude, you're planning to do a century tomorrow. Yes but did you see the start time of the Buckeye game? Anyway, still plan to do the 100, slowly.
Dave Miller has a ride out of Canal Winchester at Cyclist Connection on Saturday at 9:00am with the following options:
30 mile route, Canal-Amanda-Canal
60 mile route, Canal-Tarlton-Laurelville-Tarlton-Canal
75 mile route, Canal-Tarlton-Laurelville-Kingston-Circleville-Canal
There's been some discussion of starting with Dave's group and then in Laurelville or somewhere thereafter, some of us will break off to add enough miles to get in 100. PLEASE NOTE: Cyclist Connection is conducting their "Garage Sale" so park at the abandoned Wendys next door to CC.
Sounds like quite a large crowd will be there because A: It is a Saturday, always a good sign. B: The forecast is like a tranquil day in June. C: It is St Patrick's Day and we will have a post ride beverage.
Soooooo, on Tuesday my option was to take the drive to Canal and ride with the fellas or do the Blue Jay route. I thought it would be in my best interests to slog my way through the climbing route, this time going counterclockwise or south on Brownsville Rd after emerging from Blue Jay. This put me with the tailwind going northeast on Coopermill and that was nice. The downside was the head wind of 15mph+ coming back on the northern route and then, tackling Blue Jay Road again with the wind against me. That is distinctly unfun. Anyway, finished with 65 miles and lots of climbing.
Meantime, down in Canal, 11-12 showed up for a 35 mile route to Amanda and back, including Steve O, Mark C, Ryan R, Trevor, Mark V, Nathan, Kevin H, Jeff S and here, Grand Poobah as close to the front of the group as he would probably get all evening. Also at the start were several Jenis' guys but they took off on their own route and were not seen again.
Today, 5 of us showed up for a recovery paced ride out of Mark C's church on Coonpath. Mark's weight continues on a downward trajectory and he is at 160, beginning to enter the "man's head on woman's body" look. That would worry me because just last Saturday, Todd patted my rear end during the ride and soon after, Mark V did the same. If I lost another 10 pounds I too would be in the women's body with man head look and be so desirable to some of these guys that I'd fear for my safety. We ride in a weird crowd. Got in 51 recovery miles today.
The long range forecast out west keeps changing but seems to be solidifying into glorious sun and warmth during the cycling trip while here in Ohio it will also be glorious sun and warmth, mostly. If you have followed my CA ride reports over the years the copy tends to be somewhat redundant but I'll be checking out a couple of new climbs and of course, the images never get old. Tomorrow, I think I'll ride the "Granville Climbing Challenge" route and see how bad are the roads.
The COP Canal Winchester ride does not officially start until April but it sounds like quite a few people are thinking about riding out of Canal, from behind Shades Restaurant, on Tuesday. I've heard start times from 4:30-5:30pm but in the interests of the working class, I'm guessing 5:30pm is probably the "official" time. Important: This is not a COP sanctioned ride, there will be no sign-up sheets and probably no maps. Everyone is responsible for choosing a route that gets them back to the parking lot prior to sunset, safely and I doubt there will be anyone who hangs back acting as a "sweeper". Names I have heard who are attending are Ryan R, Steve O, Nathan, maybe Amanda and others. If you plan to attend you may want to post a comment so others can see with whom they might be riding as an evaluation for the speed of the group or groups.
1) The Westerville Cycling Club Wednesday ride begins this week out of Hoover Dam parking lot at 6:00pm.
2) There is a group ride out of Gloryland Nazarene Church on Coonpath Road at 9:00am. Scheduled to appear are Kenda Janet, Mark C, Steve O, Nathan, Flyin Tuna & others. Planning on a socially paced 60 mile ride. Everybody welcome to join in the fun.
Do you have an extra refrigerator that you want to give away or sell? One of the loyal readers of the blog is moving in a couple of weeks and needs one so if you have one, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or drop a comment and let me know. I'll hook you up with the person in need.
Although an invitation was not extended to me by Kenda Janet, organizer of the Sunday recovery ride, I was tipped off by someone about the start and crashed her ride. Jan didn't seem to mind too much so she, Franz, Recumbent Dude Nathan, Kenda Dave, Kenda Rick, Corvair, Flyin Tuna and I started out of New Albany at 10:00am into brilliant sunshine and 46 degrees. We took the northern route into Granville, arriving with 25 miles, ate and chatted at the coffee house on River Road, returned via the southern route and finished with 49 miles, more than enough for me after yesterday's 85 mile March Death March. Then I began thinking I had not burned enough calories so went trail running.
I'm thinking about doing the Blue Jay route a couple of times this week to expedite my recovery from a winter of overeating and over couch sitting. I guess I should not have been surprised when Grand Poohbah asked on Saturday if I had really ridden the route last week and then on Sunday, Cindy told me Kenda Janet had asked the same! What the..... Is my credibility so shot that even a detailed ride report is not to be believed? Don't answer that please.