I love traveling so Thursday evening I took a red eye flight across the pond and arrived in England. Rented a bike and rode around before headng into London and got fairly close to the wedding party. I'll have more on this later, with images but fear not, I will be back in time for the Nelsonville ride on Saturday. I'm typing this from my 1st class seat on a United flight out of Gatwick airport. You won't believe the story I have to tell.
Wow, guess what? Another problematic forecast for an evening ride. That's right, no brilliant sunshine, no partly cloudy, no mostly cloudy....just cloudy with green blobs rolling in from the west at about the start time, 6:00pm. However, what was brilliant was the Style Queen wearing an outfit with pink accents to match his Colnago pink accented bike. Few men could pull this look off and some would argue one of those who can not is Dennis but I admire his courage.
The one, the only, Farmer Mike. Someone said he was a "Kenda whore" overdressing in Kenda gear to appease the Kendiates. I cautioned against using such language, especially against someone who owns half the farming acreage in Licking County.
SuperDave with a very cool custom cut cardboard trunk piece to protect the plush carpet from grease marks. You have to admire the creative thinking of SupeDave. Too bad we see him mostly only on Thursday. If you were lucky enough to know him back in the day, he was awesome on the bike and still is to a certain extent.
What the turnout lacked in quantity it made up for it in quality. Marty, Green Machine, Mick, Tim Tyler, Rich Lewis, Shannon the Tri Dude but also, a guy named "Marco" who was described as the 3rd best sprinter in the nation (I have no idea in what division or age group but I was impressed) and Ryan Risch (a school teacher who spent a season racing in Europe a few years ago and still the real deal), Jon Sada and others. Also there was Jeff S, Dennis, Amanda and a few others. In total around 28 of which 12-14 were very strong "A" cyclists. The A group was called out and I stayed planted to the asphalt. Frankly, as I looked to the west and saw rain streaks descending from the clouds, I began to have doubts. Then the "B" group was called and I coasted out just as it began to rain.....I hesitated....and I thought, "Screw it" and turned around, as did SupeDave. I tossed the bike into the car and drove out to hook up with the B group and let them know I had abandoned. However, as I drove it rained rather hard and the B group had turned around and abandoned too, or so it appeared (help me out someone to confirm this). I drove on following Waltons Parkway to Beech, crossing Jug and approached....Little Diesel who had dropped from the main pack of A's. I pulled alongside and shouted, "Want me to motorpace you back on?" and Jeff yelled, "For heaven's sake yes!" So I pulled in front of Jeff and then gassed it. leaving him behind. Ha, Ha, Ha!!!! Finally dropped you sucka!
I caught up with the main body with Sada and someone else a little ways back and even Rich L appeared to be off the back but they were approaching the turn on Miller so maybe he was allowing for the slowdown. I drove out to #310 and waited and could not believe how quickly the main group arrived but the images I took were of poor quality so I can't post here. Well, that's all I can relay from my perspective. Maybe someone can jump in and comment.
HEY, for Saturday, its the Tom's Trillion Tour out of Nelsonville. See a couple of posts back for directions and info. We are departing the parking lot at 9:00am. That means if you are riding with us on what should be a glorious day of sunshine (finally) you have to arrive prior to that and be on your bike at 9:00 ready to roll out. I hate spending so much time on a bike but I need the 100 miles and will persevere through it.
A long, long time ago, the Canal parking lot was ruled by fearsome beings such as Sarge, Peggster and other formidable types who were if not feared, certainly respected by all. Most of us could not wait to be released from the parking lot and to the open road just to get away from the parking lot Orcs.
Today's ride leader has evolved into a different sort of ride leader for a more civilized parking lot. Here, Hobbit Mitch bravely wearing pajama bottoms and purple shirt asks someone not to refer to the map because he only brought last week's maps.
Yes, Hobbit Mitch agrees that tonight will be a kumbaya night where we will all ride together, honor all traffic signs and even sing songs with tenors at the front and sopranos at the back of the peloton. It will be a joyful occasion of camaraderie.
Others lurking in the parking lot had other ideas. Here, Half Wheel Steve (when you try to pull ahead of him so he can draft for a minute he half wheels you to death) plots a different plan.
Recumbent Dude Nathan, resplendent in his Cat In The Hat jersey and headed to India on Thursday. We welcome the temporary leaving as it means he will be weak upon his return.
Another tough call if you were contemplating joining us for a ride. It appeared the rain would roll through before 6:00 so I made what is becoming an expensive drive to Canal (Yikes..$3.89 for gas!) and it had just quit raining as I rolled into the parking lot at roughly 5:20. Already there were Jeff S, Grand Poobah, Dennis and soon Mitch, Ryan, Steve O, Franz, Mark V, Jeremy, John S, Margarita Rick, Amanda, Keith, Pastor Mark, Bruce, Recumbent Dude....I'm forgetting someone but there was 18 of us. Up to the last minute, I thought of not going, you know, the wind, wet pavement kind of not really into riding and I forgot a water bottle but Dennis loaned me one so I suited up.
Mitch had forgotten the maps so he verbally sketched out a route going SW and off we went. Everyone kept together into Lithopolis and out Winchester but that cross wind coming from the left began to take its toll....on me. I could not get to the right of Mitch's wheel and after a few miles of undraft riding, the alarm bells began to toll but wait, here came Steve drifting off the front and I screamed for him to take my spot and he did and I slid to the right of his wheel as he was forced to the left of Mitch and I recovered. Whew, that was close but others were not so fortunate.
At some point, I began noticing a not unplesant odor that grew stronger and stronger. As we crested a ramp we could see a cyclist approaching and son-of-a-gun if it was not Kevin H, a.k.a. Pepe Lapew. That powerful colonge he wears for the rides carries a far distance. Despite my eyes watering, I'm sure it was him, out training for a return to the Canal ride.
We made a left somewhere and had a nice kind of up hill stretch but at kind of a high speed. Our group was down to Steve, Mark C, Nathan, Mitch, Poobah (or was that Keith and Todd had dropped, hard to tell them apart at a glance), Dennis and maybe Ryan. We reached Cedar Hill at mile 18 and out of the blue, the notion of a short cut appealed to me and I said "see ya later" and was greeted with derision and catcalls, which is to be expected. Dennis, fearing I would make off with his spare water bottle, escorted me in to Canal where we finished with 30 miles and a 20mph average. The long route was 36 miles and don't know the details of the finish.
Assuming the rain does not prevent the Tuesday Canal ride, it will be windy. I have contacted Grand Poobah and he will be at the parking lot at 5:30 to give a brief seminar on the special techniques for drafting in winds of 25mph+. Included in the series of tips are these topics:
1. Barging Into the Draft Line Wherever You Damn Well Please.
2. Riding In the Narrow Strip of Junk to the Right of Asphalt & Left of Grass.
3. Peloton Slowing Techniques
a. "Neutral Zone"
b. ""Is that a Flat"
c. "I Dropped My Water Bottle"
d. "Julia (substitute your significant other) is Calling"
4. Folding your Body Around the Bike Frame.
Todd said note and picture taking are allowed and he will be happy to sign his autograph.
Nathan sent me this one, taken at mile 80 in South Bloomingfield. Interesting facial expressions. Flyin Tuna has her game face on, contemplating the final push to the finish. Mitch preparing to exhale when someone said we still had 20 miles to go.
10 of us gathered at Cyclist Connection and after serious debate, decided on a route west and south so we'd have a tail wind back. At the start there was Jeff S, Steve O, Mark C, Ryan, Nathan, Flyin Tuna, John S, Mitch and Jeremy. It appeared as long as we did not stray too far south we would miss the rain and probably the rain would not move into the Columbus area until 4:00pm. So, off we went for a 100 mile trip. Note, I forgot my camera so I relied on Steve to provide a few images that appear here.
We did not have maps and for the most part, we did not have a clue where we were going as we were following Pastor Mark's turn-by-turn instructions that took us through South Bloomingfield, Grove City, Ashville, Darby, Little Darby Big Darby, Big Little Darby and numerous other burgs. At one stop, Mark was imparting the wisdom of the ages and we all listened intently.
At another stop, we must had ticked off Ryan as he sat alone. You know how these long rides go. Everyone is a friend until fatigue begins to set in and then everyone annoys everyone else.
At another stop, I was rooting around the cycle bag on Ryan's bike and discovered what looked a lot like a sex toy. Ryan tried to convince us it was a mini pump but I'm not sure about that.
I can't begin to describe a turn-by-turn account, just suffice it to say with head winds at 25 and gusting to 50, it was wearisome (but not as tough as last Sunday's epically windy ride). We finally arrived in Point or Mount Pleasant and had a sandwich at a gas station at mile 60. From there, it was an almost continuous route with a tail wind. Eventually, the miles began to take their toll and more and more frequently, we began to break up but still all gathered at South Bloomingfield at mile 80. After that, Mark, Steve and Nate put the hammer down and I just tried to cling to a wheel. Some people dropped back out of fatigue and some dropped to help those in trouble like Jeff S. When someone of Little Diesels caliber drops back you know it is by choice to help the struggling. That is the dilemma I faced. I don't have Jeff's stature so when I drop back it is probably assumed the weakling was suffering too much so I just kept hanging on wanting to drop back but well...you know.... By the time we reached Cedar Hill, there was Nate, Mark, Steve, Ryan and I and we dutifully followed Steve's wheel all the way to the final ramp before the Lithopolis sign where Mark surged around Steve and I shocked Mark with a sprint around him to grab the city sign points, for whatever that's worth. We continued on to Canal where I again surprised the unwitting with a sprint sign win. Seems the heavier I get the better I am at sprinting, if not the other facets of cycling.
We finished with 101 miles and a 19 mph average. It had begun to sprinkle as we headed north on Cedar Hill and by the time we reached the shop, it was raining kind of hard but still, other than that, it was a rain free but not wind free, ride. Forecast does not look good for the next month so who knows when we ride again. Steve is headed south 2 weeks from now for some 10,000', 100 mile tour and if this crummy weather holds, I may go too just to get the heck out of here.
Geez, been out of the loop for a couple of hours and everything has changed. The Trillion tour is cancelled so forget that! Steve, Ryan, Mitch, Jeremy Mark and I and anyone else that is interested are riding out of Cyclist Connection at 9:00am. Hope to see you there.
For those who plan to ride the Tom's Trillion Tour, the start wil be 9:00am. This is a tour about which previous participants rave because of the new roads, great views and, well that's enough isn't it? Below are the details. Looks like some rain will roll through very early morning so the slightly later start time helps and since for many of us it's a 90 minute drive.....
Hocking College, Nelsonville Ohio (Parking and registration in front of Robbin’s Crossing)
A scenic spring bicycle ride with budding dogwoods, redbuds, and wildflowers.
Rolling to hilly terrain, but last 12 miles on flat & scenic Hockhocking -Adena Bikeway.
Budget ride ($3): Bring food, water, cash, and tools. Maps and arrows provided.
Distances: Four to five options between 30 and 100 miles
The coldest 56 degrees I've ever felt was tonight's start out of New Albany. Noticed quite a few people adding a layer or arm warmer and I was no different. From the bottom of a clothing box I keep in the trunk of my car and to which light has rarely penetrated, I pulled a winter-weight, long sleeve jersey and threw it on at the last minute under the short sleeve jersey. Figured I'd regret it later but as it turns out, did not. A very light turn out and up until 10-15 minutes before the start, there could not have been more than 35 in the parking lot.
The old battle axe, Flyin Tuna, told me it would be a late arriving crowd and like that, they began coming in from all directions and by the time Jeff S called us together, there were over 72 people standing astride their bikes. Including Farmer Mike, having finally migrated north from his comfy winter retreat in Florida. The A group had a cast of all-stars like Marty, John M, Dave Chesrown, Rich Lewis, Colnago Ron (he switched to a Trek but crashed it while riding in the trainer???? cracked the frame and is waiting on a replacement), John Sada, Mick, Will (Kenda kit), Grand Poobah, Tim Tyler & Lisa, Todd Mullens, Gus, Mike Rea, some triathlon guy and a few others so our group was 18 and not a slouch in there.
I heard the B group had around 40 at the start and that included Cindy B, Nathan, Dan, Gary, Jeff S (he had to cut the route short to take care of a project), SupeDave, Farmer Mike, Mark R and lots of new people too.
So, out old 161 we went and curiously Marty and 2 others got off the front, a move I have never seen before at the start in New Albany. They stayed out there, pretty impressive with a fairly strong NE wind cutting into them, until the light at Beech. Undoubtedly they panicked a bit when the inexorable mass of the peloton bore down on them and they rode through the red light. This produced some shouts and turmoil at the front but I was too far back to understand and frankly, relieved we had to stop for a red light. We regrouped and hit it hard along the length of 161 and I was grateful for having the luck of being able to keep out of the wind for most of that stretch. My position was not as good as Poobah, who was tucked in nicely on the right about the 5th spot back. If that guy picked stocks with the same skill as he picks drafting positions he'd be a trillionaire.
We reached 310 with a 21.3 average and turned onto the long descent on Jersey Mill. Again, three guys got out in front and Poobah crossed the gap and joined up but we absorbed them by the bottom, cruised through Alexandria and made the illegal left turn onto Raccoon Valley Road. I thought this would be the toughest distance with the cross wind but the pace was not too fast so we all stayed together. As we climbed the modest hill toward the left turn on Loudon, Ron's bike slid into a crevice and his bike tilted left. I thought he was doomed for sure so I and another swerved to avoid but Ron righted the bike and avoided hitting the deck. As we turned onto Louden, a trucked approached us from Raccoon Valley but, knowing the group would not pause, I cut in front and avoided having to stop. Unfortunately, Poobah got caught out and we did not see him again. There was a ragged chase to regroup but once we were together, the pace was still not that high and clearly, the hills of Stone Quarry had an influence on those pulling at the front.
We turned left on Stone Quarry and as usual, I was at the back. I headed up the extreme left side and as I gained momentum and began to pass a few, a guy suddenly swerved left to avoid a hole, rode up onto the grassy hillside and then rejoined while I braked and swerved to avoid the obstacle. Then, I and Ron got caught behind a couple of people and by the time we worked our way through this last impediment, we had lost the lead group. Our average at the bottom of the hill was 21.6mph. When we reached the top of the first hill, Rich Lewis and his 200 pounds had gapped the field and rather significantly so with Marty between he and the group of 7-8, then Ron and I and coming up from behind to join us was Mick, Lisa, Gus and Will. We reached Northridge but Mick had dropped off so we were down to 5 but these guys were driving the pace and our average had dropped only .3 by the end of Stone Q. We hung a left on Castle, crossed #37 and headed on Duncan Plains where we swallowed up Jon Sada so we were back to 6. We hung a left on #310 and a right on Miller and still there was no setting up with these guys, geesh.
We finally rolled into the parking lot with 38 miles, 1200' of climbing and a 22.2mph average. Yes, 22.2 and we couldn't sniff the lead group who finished at 23! Looks like the Tom's Trillion Tour is the place to be on Saturday, weather permitting. The start time is a little up in the air with those of us living in the north wanting a 9:00am start since we have a 90 minute drive. More on that tomorrow.
I received this Makers Mark, 200ml bottle of whiskey about 10 years ago. It has sat on a shelf, unopened ever since. I am cleaning my shelves of nick knacks and thought one of you would like to have this rather than me throw it away. If you want it, free of charge and no strings attached and no material involving the hand-off to appear on the blog, send me an email or comment and it's yours.
At 2:30 with the rain raging I saw no hope for riding. Forecast was typical, 7 out of next 9 days with rain so if there is a chance of riding this evening..... Headed south and horizon improved but alas, only 13 of us at the start, including the 2 Walker Dudes, there behind the car being inconspicuous.
At virtually every ride, there is someone who forgot his bike, her shoes, his water bottle, her front wheel, etc... and today was no different. Nate's brother forgot his shoes and had to watch us depart without him.
Actually, there were 2 Walkers and a Walker wannabe, Ryan on the right who dresses in the Walker green and then attacks relentlessly except he hangs in there for the entire route. He was nominated for the most aggressive rider of the day award. The A route was for 40 miles but with the clouds...the conscience of the peloton wondered aloud if we could get all that in and there was some consideration given to cutting a couple of miles off, which ultimately we did.
Here, Mark V with his Red's jersey. Nathan showed up with the Fruit Loops jersey and also wearing a Fruit Loops T shirt. Wherre one buys these items is anyone's guess.
Steve O, Mark C, Ryan, Mitch (Man in Black), Nathan, Mark V, Keith (guy must be in mid 60's and very strong), John S, Ross, 2 Walkers and Beth S. Ross and Beth started early and soon the rest of us shoved off. As we rode out at a warm up pace out Hill Road, noted Waterloo was under water but we were headed for the #33 overpass and out Basil Western. At the bridge, the Walkers, who had burst out of the gate, were off their bikes examining something and were never seen again.
Wind was light out of the SE and we stayed on BW all the way to a right on Bader and a left at Leonard where sitting water and debris caused a brief slowdown. Walker Ryan attacked out of the water, which was not the first of the night. At the short but steepish hill on Leonard, there was a surge but unusually, it appeared everyone was kind of petered out and unable to press the advantage over those who lagged a bit and we regrouped. Steve O, who could have ridden off on his own whenever he wanted, was being unusually timid and hung with us. Soon, Walker Ryan yanked his bike out of the pack and surged ahead but the attack was covered and we cruised into Baltimore. At that point I think we still had the core group that had left the parking lot except for one who had dropped back.
We took the long stretch on Canal and upon reaching Millersport Road, hung a left rather than continuing to Lake. I began to notice that whenever I took a pull, at the finish of it, Ryan would spring from the pack and it took some effort to catch him so I learned to pull at something significantly less than the max in anticipation of the attack. The long haul back west on Bickel Church was a series of attacks by....you know who. My strategy was to wait for Mark C to react and then jump on his wheel. I knew Mark could never allow Ryan to get away and so I could count on him to carry me up to Ryan. Worked beautifully.
We worked our way over to south on Stoudertown and then back onto Basil Western and in. There were still 6 of us at the end, including Keith. Our average was 20.8-21mph depending on the cycling computer. 800' of climbing so a fairly flat route. There is a lot of talk about doing a tour out of Nelsonville on Saturday, weather permitting. Something called "Tom's Trillion" which is a sort of hilly route with a century option. Forecast doesn't look good.
During our Sunday ride, we speculated to what is riding in a 30mph head wind equivalent? Is it like riding with no head wind on an 8 percent grade? Recumbent Dude sent me the below which gives Sunday's conditions and two other riding conditions power output. Not sure I can agree with riding on a 20% grade over an hour is t
> *(SUNDAY CONDITIONS)*
> speed: 12 mph
> rider weight: 168 lbs
> Bike wt.: 19lbs
> tires: clinchers @ 140psi
> position: drops
> grade: FLAT
> headwind: 32 mph
> temp: 52 F
> Elevation: 900
> *EQUALS: 416 Watts*
> *Alternatively: *
> speed: 28.1 mph
> rider weight: 168 lbs
> Bike wt.: 19lbs
> tires: clinchers @ 140psi
> position: Drops
> grade: FLAT
> headwind: 0 mph
> temp: 52 F
> Elevation: 900
> *EQUALS: 413 Watts*
> speed: 5 mph
> rider weight: 168 lbs
> Bike wt.: 19lbs
> tires: clinchers @ 140psi
> position: Hoods
> grade: 20.5%
> headwind: 0 mph
> temp: 52 F
> Elevation: 900
> EQUALS: 413 Watts
What can one say about a ride that can not be adequately described using my limited vocablary. Why, I'll steal from Agatha Christie to help me.
12 Little Indians standing at the park.
Today's ride was to be anything but a lark.
Surprising how many cars were in the parking lot but with the planned 9:00am start, we were one of the last groups to leave. Our group comprised of Steve O, Recumbent Dude, Kenda's Janet, Paul, Dave, Mario and Kent R (I think he was wearing Kenda gear), Jeff S, Dan, Mark V, Tri Andrew and yours truly. Steve asked for a show of hands for those that were doing 100 miles and my arm involuntarily shot skyward. The morning forecast was for winds in the low 20's, down a bit from Saturday's forecast. There were a couple of surprises, Flyin Tuna sent an email to Janet and told her the wind was too strong for her (sissy). Someone of low class stated, "Good, now we'll go faster" and I think Green Caboose was to come but she too was absent. Off we went with a stretch south into the wind to give us an idea of what we would be facing later in the day. We worked our way east and then south of the lake. Suddenly, we came up on the 35/67 mile shortcut.
12 little Indians pondered an early quit
5 said that's enough and spit the bit.
Then there were 7 little Indians
And so, our group took a huge hit with all the Kendas abandoning the route. OK, Mario is understandable since a new job has kept him off the bike and Paul is understandable since the life of a tax accountant is busy this time of the year but Dave, Kent and Janet????? I stared longingly after them and wished I too was a Kenda spitting the bit. We turned north and mostly enjoyed a nice tailwind. After a loop around a lake, we stopped at Kilborne and entertained the counter help while we warmed up inside.
From there it was practically a straight shot NE and down wind and each of us took pulls and produced amazing speeds for out of shape old people. We cruised into Cardington and stopped there for sanwiches and beverages and speculated by how much our average speed would drop with what lay ahead. At this point we were at 18.3mph avg. We ran into Dentist Brad and Scott but not too many others were this far north. We headed west on some kind of road that was probably considered in good shape if driving a conastoga wagon or chariot but for a bike.....brutal. Jeff S had checked the weather and we were at sustained winds of 31mph with gusts at 40. I tried pinching myself to see if this was a nightmare from which I may wake but all that produced were red welts on my leg.
7 little Indians were still in the mix
Dan said "Shortcut" and then there were six
On that "road" out of Cardington and into the wind, I looked back and had the chain in the 26 and while drafting, going 9mph. Some gusts brought us to a virtual standstill. We had ventured fairly far south when a road marking indicated a short cut and Dan took it. Oh how I wanted to follow but my stellar reputation was on the line so I kept going.
We arrived at a "T" and arrows pointed us west but a gust of wind arose and I could not turn into it, instead ending up across the road and unclipped. I sprinted to catch up and I was just about done but after hunching down for awhile, I recovered a bit.
6 Little Indians rode only 15 miles to Waldo and that ain't no jive
Andrew rode on and then there were five.
Although Waldo was only 15 miles away, the vicious head and cross wind convinced us to stop but Andrew kept going. Nathan was so out of it, he rode up against this barrier just to get out of the wind for awhile. I drank a Monster and Fig Newton. We speculated how many calories we were going to burn (around 5000), we talked about Flyin Tuna, we discussed the head winds and whether it would abate, we contemplated mass suicide. We rode on to Prospect but did not stop and turned south. Ohhhhhh the cross wind.....but finally at around mile 90, the route turned east and we had mostly a tailwind.
Five little Indians prayed for no more.
Mark V dropped and then there were four.
Steve was relentless in the tailwind stretch and we clung to his wheel but finally Mark dropped off a bit, probably just to soft pedal in. We finished with 101 miles, a 16.7mph average and 3700' of climbing. My legs felt pretty good but clearly the effect of being in that wind left me feeling very fatigued.
Four litte Indians arrived at the park.
One was lucky to finish and his name was Mark (me).
Oh yeah, Mark V picked up this Reds jersey and wears it under his cycling gear. When asked why, he said, "At least I don't wear Fruit Loops jerseys (Nathan)"
Many of you know that I am headed to Boston this weekend and asked how to track my progress during the marathon. Here are the details……
Boston Marathon Monday April 18th. 10:00 AM start If you wish to track my progress in real time or see how I do, see the below.
The B.A.A. will broadcast every five kilometer split to its website so family and friends can track a runners progress by logging in and entering the runner’s name or bib number.
My Bib number is 6913
If you go to the site now, this function is not yet visible, but the "face" of the Boston Marathon website will change on race day and the process on how to enter the search will be clear.
It took 8 years, 10 marathons, many half marathons, dozens of pairs of shoes, and, just in the last 12 weeks, 891.2 (and counting) training miles to get ready. I qualified last June in Michigan with a 3:16 qualifying time, which is 4 minutes under the required time for old guys like me.
My goal(s) is to first, have fun. Who knows when or if I get in again since they just lowered the standards to get in for next year by 5 minutes. Second, perhaps run another qualifying time (if the weather is cool and I have 20mph tail wind). Third, make sure my wife Tammi and Daughter, Hanna, have some fun while in Boston. Without their support and allowing me to train at very odd hours at the expense or in conjunction with other family activities, I would not have made it.
I am leaving Friday morning and will be back to work on Wednesday the 20th.
Coming back from Cali I thought I was in pretty good shape but then the weather and another trip has left me in familiar territory....I SUCK!!!! On Wednesday evening I rode up Thresher and Thornwood in Granville 16 times to try to regain some form and then headed to the Thursday COP ride out of New Albany to build on that. Arriving in the parking lot, I noticed a somewhat familiar car......could it be........
.....yes, Crazy George is back....sort of.....maybe a shadow of his former self but that's ok, one of the great characters of the peloton is back. I gave the greeting a cinematic kick of the leg to add to the image. Geez, my legs are really skinny. Maybe that helps explain my weakness.
Flyin Tuna was there too, along with 52+ others for a great evening for cycling. What's this???? Flyin Tuna found a T-shirt that says "Tuna" on it. I like the fact that she has embraced her nickname so lovingly. What's next, maybe Farmer Mike dragging a plow behind him.
Steve O drove up from Canal to see if he could hang with the A group while riding his cross bike in tennis shoes. As many have observed, he rides this machine faster than his road bike, or so it seems. Alas, as strong as he is, he could not keep up but more on that later.
Good turnout of A's and B's and even C's. The Little Diesel came up with a good route of 36 miles. I intended to ride with the B's but was goaded into starting with the A's that was comprised of Mick, John Morgan, Jon the dentist, Marty, Steve O, Style King (see the pink tires with pink bike), Tim Tyler & Lisa, Jeff S, Doug M, and 5-7 others who I did not recognize but appeared to be the real deal. Also there were Recumbent Dude, Mark V, SuperDave, Gary, Green Caboose, etc...
We headed out old #161 and soon the speed picked up but it appeared the head wind quickly took the starch out of anyone who put their nose into it to pull. Meanwhile, I drafted comfortably and when we reached #310 with a 21.6 average, I was in good shape but of course, so too were the 12+ others in the A group. We headed down Jersey Mill and I was having major problems. The wind was coming out of the NE and I could not get behind anyone to avoid it. The guy in front of me assiduously avoided going left of the white line and I was left exposed...damn him...that's my spot!
I had to work too hard to hang on but we finally arrived in Alexandria with a 22mph average. I anticipated a drop in the pace going through Alexandria but damn, they kept riding hard....I anticipated turning left into the one-way turn onto Raccoon Valley Road while the group went slightly farther before making the official turn but damn....they too broke the law and turned into the one-way turn. My last card to play was drifting back through the peloton, recovering slightly and catching on to the last cyclist, which I did but damn.....gaps started developing and I was done. Dennis too was there and soon we hooked up with Jeff S. I could see ahead that Steve O had dropped back with someone and other gaps appeared. Someone was driving a hard pace up there.
We reached the left onto Hardscrabble and caught up with another dropee and now had a decent working group to...... work behind Jeff, who rode strongly up the hill. He allowed me to take a small pull toward the end but quickly banished me to the rear. At the foot of that long series of ramps and false flats I could see Steve O and Lisa maybe 100 yards ahead but we had no success closing the gap. We finally reached Northridge and continued on to Concorde where I pleaded with Jeff to cut the route short but he insisted on hanging a right onto Castle and following the route. We completed the north loop by making a left on Northridge, a left on Nicols Lane and then back to Concorde and in to Johnstown. Here we caught up with another dropee and our group was five as we rambled down a fairly uneven Caswell. Here, I took advantage of the moderate pace to go to the front and put in another ceremonial pull.
Our average was down to 20mph but now we had a bit of a tail wind and we hit Green Chapel and Clover Valley at a good clip and then turning right on Jug, picked up the pace a little more and rolled into the parking lot with a 21mph average, 36 miles and 1100' of climbing. The parking lot was the usual mix of checking out what time to ride MOC on Sunday (9:00am) with most of us doing the 100 route, helping George figure out what alternative sport he ought to pick up (curling) and finding out where everyone dropped or hammered the helpless.
As many of her legions of fans knew, Tuesday was Amanda's birthday. Not sure exact age but think she is closing on 40 rapidly. To celebrate, we all planned an Amanda O/Green Caboose birthday ride + party at Shades afterward. Only problem....no Amanda. Nope, only the toughest of cyclists showed tonight, Jeff S, Steve O, Pastor Mark, Mitch and Recumbent Dude. Knowing Amanda likes Merlot there were several bottles brought too as gifts but those disappeared back into the gift givers car when the Lioness of the Peloton failed to show. It rained most of the way down to Canal. I called Steve and he said, "No, not raining here" but of course, it was and at times kind of hard. Mitch, Jeff and I huddled in Jeff's van telling war stories while Mark and Steve huddled in Mark's car listening to Rap. Their car was really jumping around from the rhythm as they shook that car and the base was deafening. We talked ourselves into not riding and instead headed into Shades. Shortly, this stunningly gorgeous waitress approached and while Mitch oggled, Recumbent Dude admitted she was his sister. Not since my childhood when Darth Vader told Luke that Princess Lia was really his sister have I been so surprised. Clearly the beauty gene was not fairly distributed in that family! Anyway, we hung around and ate (except for Steve who drank water and had a few Ritz crackers) and after an hour, headed home. Things are looking good for the Thursday ride but this is Ohio and this is Spring so it may snow. Thanks to Steve for sending this image.
The second annual Granville Climbing Challenge is on for May 28th. This is not a race, however, the first to arrive in the parking lot after this grueling 65 miles, 90,000' of climbing (small exaggeration) will receive a stuffed animal to be cherished forever. Here, Woody holds the animal and certificate from having won the 1st GCC. This ride is on COP's Roving Ride series and again, not a race but an opportunity to spend meaninful miles climbing up hills and enjoying each others company. More to come later.
One of the stars of the Tuesday COP rides, Jeremy Kidd, has voluntarily left his current job to decide what he wants to do with the next phase of his life. As he and his wife plot the next course, Jeremy has some free time on his hands and rather than spend it all on a bike, he is looking for other things to fill the time. He is multi-skilled and can do just about any home improvement or other task that overwhelms you as you try to plan your next bike ride. Oh, he is happy to volunteer his time too in order to stay busy. If you need help with something, feel free to contact Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A ride is being planned for Saturday, probably starting out of Zanesville, weather permitting. We also need to plan riding the secret "Frank" route pioneered by that furtive group known as "The Others". This is the training route they use to prepare them for Mountains of Misery, CFC, Tour de France, etc...
So, our son turned 18 during the trip and to celebrate, we turned him loose on a half marathon in San Francisco. He prepared by hardly doing any running and drinking Cokes all day before the race....argghhhhh....!!!!! Actually, he did "OK" with a finish at 2:21 on a very hilly route. I cheered their efforts and got them back to the hotel and then went out to run a portion of the course so I could say I too ran on the Golden Gate Bridge. Here, at mile 5 I took this image to prove I actually got here. Better yet....check out this vidio clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTmG-otYybM. One heck of a view from the middle of the bridge with Alcatraz, the bridge and the bay. Then, stopped at a bar, saw Tiger had re-entered the Masters, ran to the hotel, showered, grabbed the little woman, ran to a restaurant, watched the Masters (Tiger is such a hacker!!!!), went back to hotel, grabbed son, went to steak house and found out we could not be seated because of casual wear, walked 2 miles back to Fisherman's Wharf (I ain't paying for another cab ride), stopped at a good seafood place and ate steak (don't ask) and back to the hotel. Now, it is midnight here and I am updating a stupi
Muir Woods, just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Images don't do justice to the aswsome size of the Redwood trees. You think I'm old, Google Muir Woods and check out how long these have been around.
Gee, Napa Valley is only an hour northeast of San Francisco so what the heck, left Muir Woods, drove back into the city to pick up the official race packets (yes, another half marathon for my wife and son this time too). Got kind of lost east of the Presidio, finally found the shoe store where the packets were being handed out and then on to Napa. While I love the Santa Ynez Valley primarily for the cycling environment, I readily admit it hardly holds a candle to Napa for wineries. Looking at the map, there is one famous winery after another, such as "Two Buck Chuck, Lambrusco, Little Penguin, etc..." AMAZING!!!!. Unfortunately, my wife and son are not wine drinkers so it was hard to enjoy the experience after 20-25 winery visits and tastings. I don't remember much about the trip but made it back to San Fran. Hey, the Half Marathon is Sunday.
Not only does this area have great chocolate sundaes and wine, it also does not have many round eyes, at least in this neighborhood.
It does have some sand and lots of seagulls. Much more to come tomorrow. Really missed riding with everyone today.
Well, I have arrived. Here is the first kind of vague clue as to where I am. I am somewhere where my evening meal of chocolate sundae and wine is available. This says a lot about my slowness on a bike and the marsupial pouch I am now carrying around my waste. Later, I'll have more obvious clues. I see the temp in Ohio is 80 and sunny. Figures.
Ride Report – First Thursday Night Ride
There were great expectations mounting as I pulled into the parking lot for the first Official Thursday-Night ride out of New Albany. At this point of the year, the Thursday-Night ride hasn't dealt you any blows to your psyche or body, you've long since started remembering last year's rides with rose colored glasses and you are pumped and ready for a new season, on top of being ready to get rid of that February fat that is still hanging on.
The turnout was excellent along with the weather. A start temp in the 60's brought out about 65 people with many of the usuals present: The Flying Tuna, Dennis the Style Queen, Satan Mick, The Schleupenator (Little Diesel), Super Dave along with myself (recumbent dude / upright dude – Man do I need a new nickname. Something flexible.). Anyway, also present were a broad gamut of the A riders in their new 2011 kit keeping to themselves in the other parking lot as usual, another group that looked like they spent the entire winter in the gym working only on upper body, and a bunch of people that I see there semi-frequently but as I write this realize I don't know. I'll have to make a better effort of moving around the parking lot and learning more about them this year.
The parking lot was subdued in anticipation of the first ride and biking test of the year pending, with little antics taking place. The usual discussion about the map commenced and Cindy decided that we would ride the undocumented 35 mile route. As the dominant female overriding all others, all B riders fell into line and accepted Cindy's benevolent command.
Word got around that the Little Diesel was going to grace the B riders with his presence this evening with plans to bring down the hammer around mile 17 and a sudden bout of religious fervor ensued with prayer sessions breaking out spontaneously, pleading that he would be merciful. (see below)
It wasn't long before the order for the A riders to leave. They were apparently having a meeting in the other parking lot that hadn't completed it's business, because not a single one moved. They continued to stand with their bikes in a circle. So … the B riders were sent.
About 35 B riders made toward the exit, timing it perfectly with the end of the cycling meeting taking place in the other parking lot and 50+ people swept out of the parking lot at the same time. The usual gaggle took placing making its way through downtown and out on to old 161 into a front quartering headwind out of the north east. At this point things organized and a group of about 30-35 B's headed up 161 together at a moderate pace.
We made the right onto Babbit (definitely, Babbit... yeah Babbit definitely) and The Schlupenator headed toward the front. There was much cowering and I thought I heard someone vomit toward the back, but he thankfully allowed the warm-up to continue, despite the switch to a tail wind, through the left on Clark State and the general winding down toward that lovely excuse for a road known as Cable Rd. Now many of you might not know this, but the state of Ohio actually disassembled this road from its original location in Iraq and have kept it in this same, bombed out state for posterity.
The peloton wound it's way around the craters, boulders, unexploded ordinance and death pits taking it all the way to Headlys Mill Rd for the left turn. Thankfully we were spared the climb up Alward, instead continuing all the way up to Patterson, but it was on Headly's Mill that the first bit of pressure was applied. The pace quickened into the wind and up the steady incline and the lead changed out a couple times and those fresh legs caused the first casualties. Patterson was little different, and the moderate pressure continued, and with the February fat still clinging to the sides of many a few more teetered and then fell of the back.
The culling was light however and the group still stood around 30-ish for the right turn on to 161, 310 and finally on to Jersey Mill Rd for the long downhill. A few sprinted off the front on Jersey Mill but the group showed some maturity and let them go and by the end of the downhill the peloton had reeled them back in handily.
We made the right turn toward Alexandria and the left up Northridge into the wind, and it's here that the pressure began in earnest. The Little Diesel took to the lead up the steady Northridge climb, applying the pressure of those massive calves. As soon as he waned a new leader took the front keeping the pressure on. A careful listen revealed groans and ragged breathing as many riders were on the rivet and about 10 fell off before making the left onto Sadie Thomas and a tailwind.
The tailwind brought no relief however. The pace quickened and then quickened again with frequent lead changes always re-energizing the pace. The turns onto castle, duncan plains, 310 and finally onto Miller allowed brief respites but they were always followed by a steady climb up to speed. All along Miller, the casualties continued. Several A's were swepts up and then dropped back off as the well organized and strong B leaders flexed their well rested spring muscles and the group was down to between 5 and 8 as a few bounced painfully on an off the back.
The turn onto Beach was rapid with little slowing and then we were headed into town on a road whose name I can't remember. But it was here that the breakaway sign sprint occurred with Satan Mick snapping authoritatively away followed by the Style Queen Dennis (who was riding his Colnago with the new addition of pink tires. He indicated that this was an anti-theft maneuver.) Anyway. One of the best sign sprint battles I have ever seen took place with each pushing the other, but our darling Style Queen prevailed, edging out Satan Mick at the last by a wheel.
The final mile held the pressure so that no trailers were able to re-join and we rolled into the parking lot with a 19.8 average just as the last of the light was failing. Not bad for a moderate paced first half into the wind.
The after ride party ensued, congratulating Dennis the Style Queen of the first Thursday sign sprint victory of the year and The Little Diesel for the incredible amount of turns he managed up front.
This Saturday is the annual SPOT ride out of Cyclist Connection in Canal. There is a largish group of us starting at 8am. The weather forecast is for starting temps in the 60's and day temps in the 70s.