Mitch's Rocky ride out of Circleville attracted only 13 but it was a good option for someone who needed to build back a base of desperately needed miles, like me. Also there was Da Boss, Jeremy, Younger Phenom Nick, Father of Nick, Beth H, Evie, Kevin K, Peggy, Butch and another couple who arrived late, rode with us for a couple of miles and disappeared. The 10:00am start guaranteed a ride in the heat but after what we've been through, I relished the heat, humidity and Hell wind out of the southwest......until I didn't relish it any more.
We worked our way over to Tar Hollow and went up and then down and hit the "store" on #327. What is keeping that place open is beyond my comprehension because it can't be the sale of cold drinks or snacks, of which there were few. I stared longingly at the cold, cold beer and almost bought one. At mile #26 we left the store and immediately climbed back up Tar Hollow and the strain began to show on some of us. Kevin K began talking about a short cut and I began listening about a short cut but in a rare moment of will power, I shut off that option. After the climb up the friggin steep Thorton Sprung, Kevin headed off on the 50 mile short cut while our group was now down to Mitch, Craig, Jeremy, Beth and Evie. I was going through water at an alarming rate and began to whine to Mitch if we might be seeing a store any time soon....not until Kingston at mile 60....."Is that before or after the Rocky climb?"......."After"......NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That's 30+ miles between stops. There is nothing quite like riding up Rocky in blazing sun and 90+ degrees.
I reached the top of Rocky out of water and began scanning front porches and driveways for humans and eventually screeched to a stop and asked someone if I could use their hose. Topped off, I coasted down the balance of Rocky and reached a "T" intersection but the others were gone. Long gone. I grabbed the que sheet and tried to figure out what was my next turn and promptly made the wrong turn. Anyway, thanks to some helpful civilians, I eentually got routed to Kingston where I found the group. I encouraged them to not wait and no surprise, they did not. After a suitable break, I got back on the bike and finished the 70 mile route with 72 miles and 3800' of climbing (sure seemed like more than that). Arriving in the parking lot, Kevin's car was still there and we began to worry. He eventually made it back after having spent some time off the bike sitting by the side of the road and turning down several offers of assistance. And now, Nathan's ride report. When someone asks me years from now where I was when Tressel was fired, I'll be able to recall standing in front of a gas station in Somerset and watching Nate dance a jig. Disgusting.
Today’s ride can be summed up in two words, “Que Sheet” (or is that one compound word?) There was a light turnout for the inaugural “Nate’s Ninety” which ended up being a blessing as it turns out. Beautiful maps and que sheets were provided and their worth was quickly discovered. They didn’t have any. We were lost at the first intersection. It was maddening.
There I was with Wilson’s crooked smirk pinning me down and pictures of piles of flaming full-color maps and que sheets burning in an apocalyptic blaze going through my mind. If it weren’t for the fact that Mark was passed Saturday by Cindy twice on the GCC I might have died from shame right there in the middle of the first intersection... Oh the calamity!!!
Fortunately for everyone, Flying Tuna was there and quickly whipped out a real map with real roads on it and provided the group read directions to a real town. It was joked that the ride should be renamed The Cindy Century... I never argue with facts folks. It appears that my policy of just doing what the Dominant Female in the group says really paid off today.
Out of this mishap I can provide one piece of advice: “Do NOT trust mapmyride.com to provide good maps or que sheets no matter how carefully you map out a route.”
Moving on... The group proceeded to the first planned stop of the ride (Somerset) by what I am sure is a different route than originally planned. After the grand rollers and final climb into town were were met with a 21 gun salute and a parade with the entire town present. It was awesome. At least something was going right. We rolled over to our stop and it was at this time that all the ills of the day were healed. A gentleman coming out of the store delivered the news that Michigan Fans around the world have been waiting for for years now.... “Tressel has resigned “
I thought I mis-heard... could it be possible?!?! I was surrounded by a glorious nimbus of light and heard angles singing. I actually levitated in elation !!! I even think I heard a voice coming out of the north like a 20 million people speaking together in one voice saying “Bring back Cooper!”
*(Side note: I received my masters is from OSU but I have been a long time Michigan fan having spent much of my youth in that state)
Nothing could ruin this day, not the oppressive heat, not the bad cue sheets or maps. In fact, as was witnessed by those present, I actually broke out in dance !!! Oh it was a site to behold.
After being asked to repeat my dance (I complied) the group broke into those taking the shorter route (Thankfully provided by Cindy) and those continuing on. Those that decided to go longer, continued onward to the south, and eventually made our way over to Chicken Coop where the decent was quickly followed by a climb up Savage Hill. That hill is steep! We eventually got to our second stop in Lancaster where Kevin managed to depart the store with what could only be described as “groceries” due to the volume. The rest of us got a quick refill of bottles and a light snack. We proceeded to the climb out Stringtown road followed by a fairly direct, relatively hill free route back to Baltimore.
We ended the day with 66 very hot, very hilly miles and 4200’ of climbing. Fortunately the cooler full of very icey beverages was there to greet us. Life is good.....
I vowed to mark the route next year and never to use mapmyride.com again. Now if you’ll excuse me.... I must dance again!!!!
Ryan Roe, Steve O and John S started the Mountains of Misery ride out of Blacksburg, VA on Sunday. Steve O was not returning my calls after the ride, instead texting me with odd comments such as, "What do you want?" (as if he didn't know) or "It would be rude for me to call during dinner." However, Ryan was happy to give me the details and after hearing his description, I think I know why Steve is keeping a low profile. Ryan said the first 75 miles was a blast with a lot of good group riding but that the final 25 miles which include a jog into the foothills of the mountain and is dibilitating, then up a Cat 2 climb before the final ascent up the Cat 1 Mountain Lake climb. Ryan told me he thought I had been full of it when I described the climb but after completing the climb, he observed it was worse then I described. He had to get off 4 times to rest and somewhere, he got caught up with the cheering people, lost his focus and rode off the side of the road but stayed upright. Anyway, he finished with a fine time of 7:01 overall.
Meanwhile, Steve had somehow made a mistake when filling in the registration form. The ride organizers group you at the start according to what time you put down as your likely finishing time and apparently this is where Steve erred. He ended up being placed in the 5th wave, which meant he was stuck in a group of shleps like me so he had no one with whom to ride at his desired pace. He started 15 minutes behind Ryan and passed him towards the end of the final climb, having ridden virtually the entire ride alone. Very curious.
Considering the ride description probably kept a few away, the turnout was great with 50-55 at the start. Lots of new faces so that's always good. Here, Flyin Tuna, last year's winner of the slowest cyclist, gathers who she thinks will be in the running for this year's title to give them tips on where not to attack, where to get lost, how to slide back and disappear around a corner...all the skills necessary to contend for the turkey award.
Paul Stock arrived with the polka dot climbers jersey. Unfortunately, the first winner of the GCC, Woody, was not able to make it.
A good turnout of between 50-55 with many "elite" climber types. The Kenda's especially were out in full force and Kenda Janet asked me if I liked the fact she was able to get them all out....then 2 minutes later Kenda Dave asked me if I liked the fact he was able to get them all out. Anyway, besides Kenda J and Dave there was Paul, Stepfano (just back from working Tour of California), Mario and "CT" fresh from a 2 week training camp in Spain. I took the immediate climb up Thornewood out of the route and instead did a work around the hill that took us by the middle school on Burg and then out New Burg up and over the hill down to Dry Creek where we made a right. The pace had been moderate with Rob Rhodes and an Olympus guy setting the pace. We reached #661 and did the jog over to Chatham and then the pace picked up through the ramps and hills and by the time we reached the top we had a nice group of 2 Olympus, Paul Stock, Rhodes, one other guy and me and I thought, let's not let the others catch on let's go.....except as we crossed Chestnut Hills Road and hit the down hill, I suddenly went from feeling good to horrible. Great, 16 miles and I'm toast already.
I couldn't keep the pace and as we approached Marion/657, Dennis, Nathan, Mark C and others caught up. We headed out Weaver and I struggled to stay with this group and frankly was distraught over my pitiful endurance. The lead group of 5-7 got away but in what became the theme for the day, they missed the left turn at the bottom of the hill to stay on Weaver and kept going. We made the turn and approached the hill on Reynolds. I struggled up the hill while being passed by everyone with a heart beat. I mean, there were people passing me that I haven't seen pass me in years but the worse was yet to come. Mean time, the lead group, realizing their mistake, had turned around and caught us and a large group arrived in Utica together. Some of us hit the gas station on the left, some on the right. I was alarmed over my performance and thought the only way I was going to stay in contact with the front group (so I could give the prizes to the winner at the end) was to grab a snack quickly from the station and then take off to try to get a sizeable head start so out Blacksnake I headed. Unfortunately, my early exit gave me hardly any advantage and the herd soon approached. I was swarmed for a moment and quickly it moved on up the road and all I could do was gasp. Others began arriving, some I had not seen since the parking lot including Mitch and......Flyin Tuna.
Prior to today, my most humiliating experiences associated with cycling were 1) receiving a swirly from a couple of Walker dudes at the Port-o-John at New Albany and 2) having my a** kicked by Grand Poobah in the parking lot at Canal Winchester. Normally, these are things from which one would never recover but I persevered and hardly think of these moments. To this list I can now add, getting freakin dropped by Cindy B. She pulled away from me up Blacksnake and there was nothing my sad sack legs could do about it. I just about tossed my bike into the ditch and called my wife to come pick me up. I know, I know, no one will have any sympathy for me and in fact, most of you are grinning just reading this. The group made a left on Cooksey but I stayed straight, making a left on Hull which would save me a few hundred yards and in fact I got out onto Bell Church just behind the lead group. Soon, dozens approached and passed me including, yes you guessed it, Flyin Tuna for the second time thus welcome to the 2nd most humiliating experience of my cycling life. I reached the intersection of Martinsburg road and everyone had stopped there but no one bothered to look at the que sheet or the map. They were just looking at each other and blinking their eyes with the expectation someone knew where to go but until I came through, going straight, only then did they start up again.
I was at the back of this group by the time Purity Road was reached and after a couple of the super rollers, not only had I lost contact but I came to the realization I was going to have to take the short route if I was also going to be at the end to award the prizes so I did the 46 mile short cut route with 3200' of climbing. Soon, may others began streaming in, having also taken the short cut. I changed, ate a doughnut and retraced the route to see where everyone was. I quickly came upon Mark C and Bruce. Unfortunately, while Mark was in the restroom in Utica, the group left and he emerged to find himself alone. He tried to catch on but got off the route so had to pack it in. Soon there after, I came across the 2 Olympus guys.......
.......followed them back in and awarded them the prizes for finishing first with a 17mph average and a total ride time of 4:10 for the 65 mile route.
I went back out and found Mitch and Tuna. They were a little exasperated with what they had witnessed out on the road by the leading group who could not or would not look at the que sheet or map. The group stopped frequently at intersections, immobile until someone came along and told them what direction to go. At the rest stop at Wilkens Corner they were told to make sure they turned left at Loches and upon reaching it stayed straight on Purity going who knows where. I guess if I do this ride again I'll go out and mark the route. Also understand the big climb on Houdeshell had a gravel section in the steepest portion of the climb and here, Dennis fell while trying to stand and pedal. Most just got off their bikes and pushed them up....sorry about that.
One guy ended up with 74 miles for the 65 mile route and while waiting for the last person to come in, some of us gathered and decided to give the turkey award to the last finisher of the short route rather than the long route and so, Eve was awarded the slowest cyclist award. Well, that's about it. I have the story from Mountains of Misery with Ryan and Steve and the Rocky death march in 90+ degree temp is on the agenda to report later.
And so, the final leg if the 3-day cycling event is now complete. Saturday is the GCC, Sunday is a relaxed pace Rocky Road ride (details below) and now, Nathan has come through with details for Monday's event.
Mark. I have the Memorial Day - Nate's Ninety all mapped out. It will start in Baltimore, Ohio at Liberty Union HS. Let's start at 8am.
The route is relatively flat: It's 89.59 miles with only about 2000 ft of climb. It will have stops in Somerset and Lancaster and will feature a ride down chicken coop and a run up savage, but that's the extent of the real hills until the climb out of Lancaster.
a preview of the route can be seen here:
I'll have maps and queue sheet available at the start.
Last notes regarding Saturday's ride, I've had a few requests for providing the que sheet so I'm typing it out. If you want it ahead of time shoot me an email. Lastly, I will have doughnuts at the start so if you're running behind, you can grab a nice doughy doughnut.
I went shopping at Kohls, Target, WalMart, K-Mart and Toys-R-Us and found the perfect prizes. Here, to provide inspiration, I have positioned the Tiger next to an image of Armstrong. The Tiger will be given to the first person who arrives back in the parking lot at the finish. This is not a race so don't do anything stupid out on the road just to get this prize.
For the person arriving last at the parking lot, you get this cute turkey. If you have previously won this prize (Flyin Tuna) you are not eligible to win a 2nd. After Tuna won the last place prize (a Rhino) from the last GCC, she sent me images of it being squeezed in a vise and cutting off its limbs. I do not abide cruelty to stuffed animals.
Well, well, well. Everyone's been asking about him but Da One, Da Only, yes Da Boss showed up for his first Tuesday ride. Training for another marathon in a couple of weeks has kept him off the bike but no worries, he hasn't fallen too far off the beam.
Ty Jordan, the largest, fastest cyclist in the history of the Canal ride. Are there faster cyclists? Yes, they are legion. Are there larger cyclists? Maybe but there are none who are larger and faster. Find yourself behind this guy on the flat or downhill and just enjoy the ride. Marriage and a subsequent change to his diet did in the previous "svelte" form so the current version maybe is a little larger then what he once was.
They were coming out of the wood work. Here, Donn, a.k.a. Tall Dude emerges from a busy spring of soccer games to try to find the pieces of his cycling fitness. Sadly, he has only 300 miles for the year but it won't be long, probably no later than October, that he will regain his fitness and form.
The Rossi's arrive wearing matching jerseys. In the background is Younger Phenom Nick on the left and Mitch on the right. Pre-ride announcements and route description were mercifully brief although Mitch has begun using the term "vectoring" a lot and none of us had a clue what that meant. Still, we were impressed with the depth of his vocabulary as well as his choice of winter weight, calf length, socks to go with shorts and jersey.
Forty of us at the start but when the A's were called out, only 9-10 went including Mark C, Da Boss, Steve O, Nick, Randy Brown, John S, Little Diesel, Ted M and Ryan R. More on them later. Then the B group was called out but I'm not sure how many went, maybe 12-15. I wanted to keep it out of the red and save myself for the Thursday ride where I'll get a better measure of just how much I suck compared to a couple of weeks ago. Slough arrived early on the route and that cut us up a bit and then a right onto Amanda Northern and what came next was an interesting series of hills and rollers with lot of turns, too numerous to call out here. Eventually, this leg crunching route yielded to.....more hills as we topped out on Ridge and rather than turning right on Cedar we kept straight. By now. Keith, TriAndrew and Nathan had worked to get ahead and were by themselves with Mitch, Mark V and I trailing.
We arrived back in the parking lot with a 19mph avg, 43 miles and 2100' of climbing. Now...BREAKING NEWS.......Ryan R has just sent this excellent report from the A group:
Members: Randy B., Craig B., 14yr old Nick, Ted, Lil Diesel, Ryan R, Steve O., Mark C. Miles: 43 Average speed: 20.8mph Over the 1-2 combo of Slough & Amanda Hill, our group of 8 rode away from the remainder of the A's. Randy and Craig took turns pulling us around the 43 mile course. Occasionally, Steve would ride next to Randy, just to mess with him. Steve wouldn't pass, he would just ride next to Randy without saying a word. If Randy dropped back, as any normal person riding in a paceline would do when some idiot insisted on riding along side and shooting goofy looks, Steve would do a 5-second sprint, then put on the brakes and coast back to the 3rd or 4th spot in line. He would repeat this maneuver nearly every time Randy was finishing a (long) pull. I think Steve still has a lot of pent-up aggression from the abuse he used to take from Lawyer Mitch... I guess he feels it is now his turn to be the passive aggressive rider. Aside from surge-master-Steve, our ride was fairly uneventful, with one exception. Steve and Mark like to coast up hills. I was caught by surprise and nearly rear-ended Mark on Royalton. We made the first decent and then about half way up the 2nd, I was quickly approaching Mark and was expecting him to start pedaling at any second, so I didn't adjust my speed accordingly. It was too late when I realized that Mark and Steve were going to see if they could coast all the way to the top of the 2nd hill (slowing to about 10mph) and I was forced to jam my brakes to avoid slamming into Mark's rear wheel. My abrupt braking kicked off a chain reaction of panic braking and swerving behind me (and shouting). I owe those guys an apology. Sorry guys, I really screwed that one up... just thankful everyone stayed up. Craig was impressive as usual. This was his first ride of a distance over 20 miles this year and he seemed to be able to effortlessly cruise along with us, taking more than his share of pulls as well. A very strong and handsome fella managed to stay in the draft the entire route, only sticking his nose in the wind to take a few (2) token pulls. He then shot out of the peleton and put down a monster sprint at the end and blew away any contenders to take the Official Lithopolis Sign Sprint. Nick might just be the best 14yr old rider in the Midwest. He is plenty fast, but also very smooth and easy to ride with in a paceline (unlike myself and surge-master-Steve). He rides as if he has 20 years of experience... well done!
The 2nd Annual Granville Cycling Challenge is this Saturday at 8:00am starting from Granville's Wildwood Park. More information is on the COP website. I will be investing in suitable stuffed animals to give to the fastest and slowest finisher. This is not a race but if someone wants to sprint ahead on the final climb and claim the highly desirable, supper plush, stuffed animal then good. I have examined the route to make sure Nathan will approve the spacing of the food stops. There will be HUGE maps that everyone can read. More to come, including images of the gifts. Oh yes, there is also a cash prize! I have hired a PR firm to promote this so much for ads on 10TV
Steve O, Mark C and John S traveled to WV to participate in the"Ride for a Reason" century ride, originating out of Wheeling. For Mark, it was a chance to show his two buddies his roots so he forced them to drive with him early Friday morning so he would have plenty of time to show off his old stoomping grounds. Here was the house in which it all started for our beloved Mark C.
Early in his childhood, the family won a small lottery and moved to a place overlooking the river. Because it was in a flood plain, they wisely put the abode on stilts.
Then, when Mark was 16, his father stumbled upon a corn mash making operation in the woods at exactly the same time the Feds raided the place and Mark's father was accidently shot in the leg. As part of the settlement process, Mark and his family made enough they were able to buy a nicer house. Anyway, I turn it over to Steve to describe the rest of the journey.
On friday Mark took me for a ride from his parents past his boyhood homes and his sisters house. We rode about 67 miles total and there is not a flat area around the area his parents live but we took it easy. The worst part was that his mom had a feast prepared for us just before and it took the whole ride for me to digest it! (but her cooking is beyond outstanding!) Here is a pic of the home Mark lived in from the time he was 16 (he can tell you some stories about all his antics in the neighborhood!)
We continued on and we got to his sisters house. Now I understand Mark a little better and where he gets his competitive spirit. His sisters "stage name" is Jillian Michaels and she will kick your butt at anything!!!
Here is a pic of the results of Mark C. stop sign jumping at it's finest! We left an hour after most of the other century riders and Mark had heard we were catching them. Of course he set forth with new resolve after he heard that and at one point blew through a stop sign ignoring the "wide load" truck that would put the fear of God in any sane man! Mark didn't flich but the trucker did!!! We heard that it delayed everyone behind us the rest of the day...
When we came to the second to the last aid station, we learned that the lead groups were only about 10 minutes ahead. We left with a new determination that we may be able to catch them. Going down a descent Mark was once again going with reckless abandon. John and I were much more cautious and as we all know the more cautious one is, the greater chance of something happening and John hit something that made him flat immediately. The attached pic shows how many it takes to change a flat (when I had mine a few weeks ago it only took Mitch and I).
I have to credit Jeff S with the title, after an old rock song from Three Dog Night. Instead of waking up every 2 hours as I have done for the last 2 days, I slept like a hibernating raccoon all night and when the alarm rang, I felt ok and decided to head to Canal. As a demonstration to Nathan, my cub reporter, I am going to give him a lesson in concision so will not do 2 things, blather endlessly and make vicious, personal attacks against one of the most venerable and respected members of the group, as Nathan so callously did while describing Mr. Allens pre-ride ramblings...errr.....I mean concise and very articulate route description. Cut him some slack Nathan, while it is true he usually does not send the group off on time, rarely does he send us off any later than 30 minutes after the official start time either! Bob, I've got your back.
While putting on my helmet and gloves, the ground began to rumble and at first I thought, "Earthquake!" but turned to see Mark and Karen's tandem had fallen over. That thing is heavy.
Amanda, showing off her guns but what I noticed was the farmer's tan. She rode a 200k yesterday without sunscreen.
As the group scold, I have to call out Amanda for ignoring another venerable member's (Steve) instructions to ride single file out of town. This flagrant disregard for the orders of the wise and learned men, as well as making fun of them, should not be encouraged.
We rode east, well past Lancaster, made a right on Lake and a right on Duffy and arrived in Lancaster. I was doing ok until just before the turn onto Duffy when I began to falter so I dropped off and soft pedaled into the 4 Reasons. There, the conversation was about bicycle bags and their size. Jeff S volunteered that when he first joined the group he rode with a rack on the back and a pair of saddlebags. Someone else noted that Cindy B used to ride with a large piece of Samsonite luggage on the front and an equally heavy piece under her seat. She claimed the large bag up front was a good thing to draft behind?!?!? I was reminded that she also had planned for all eventualities when planning the packing of the bags and was prepared for a snow storm even in July. She is somewhat wiser now.
We had a great time at lunch and then someone ruined it by suggesting we head back. I was a basket case on the ride back even though Jeff kept the pace low. My endurance and small strength has taken a serious hit. Probably too was a shock of going from lying around for over a week because of rain. cold and illness and then riding at 80+ degrees and high humidity. Anyway, we made it back to Cyclist Connection with 56 miles and 2700' of climbing. I staggered to my car, threw everything in, declined an invite to dine at Dairy Queen and drove home where I staggered into the house and gave strong consideration to picking up fishing.
Hey All, I had to miss the ride as my doped out body was still chillin and heatin and generally miserable. My joint ache has gone and my light headed/foggy sense is gone and by late this afternoon, the heat and cold flashes mostly subsided. Been a very long three days but it appears it was the flu. If things continue on their current trajectory, I'll now contract a cold to add to the misery index for 5 more days but keeping my fingers crossed. Anyway, I've set the alarm clock to participate in the Sunday ride and hope there is a "C" group that forms. The below was provided by the ink stained wretch
By: Nathan Wolfe; Cub reporter
Canal Wincester, Ohio -
At 6:30am this morning the alarm sounded as planned and the normal Saturday ride routine began. Coffee, Waffles, speak like a zombie, round up clothes, shuffle like a zombie, find keys, wallet, the usual. A quick weather check to determine the number of clothing layers to wear indicated temps right at 60 already... hmmm odd. My phone must be getting weather updates from California still. Grab rain coat, a couple extra layers, water bottles and out the door we go.
A quick drive over to the start got me there at about 7:15 and I was the first there... again strange. Normally the peloton begins to form an hour before... I have time to run and get another cup of Joe...
Back in the parking lot at 7:30 there were only a few and I figured for a light turnout. Probably from the cold or something. I parked, got out of the car and an I had an odd feeling that I’d forgotten something. Sure I’d remember it in a minute, I continued my readiness.
At about 7:40 cars began to flood the parking lot and the lot quickly filled and spilled over into the abandoned lot next door. WOW!!! What a turnout!! By the time the ride started there we too many to count. Many of the usuals: Flying Tuna, The Little Diesel, Style Queen, Satan Mick (who I proposed should be renamed to Eco-Mick as I discovered that he is a Wetlands Ecologist! It was shot down... I tried...) the Rossi Train, Kenda Janet and an entourage of Kendaites, Nathan/ Recumbent Dude (me), Mark V, Kevin, Dan and a TON of others.
There was a discussion about some of the missing usual folks like Pasor Mark and the Ox, but most of the conversation was about Mark, who, according to various accounts, stayed home due to either early onset of menopause or fear of Lyme disease depending on who you listened to. Nobody is sure, but the predominant belief was to just go with Oxley’s story of Menopause. Hope your feeling better Mark.
Bob did his usual rambling ride briefing, talking about how flat the ride was going to be and just as I began to zone out, either Flying Tuna or Dennis leaned over to me and said, “Is it me or does Bob’s bag keep getting bigger...?” Mother of Perl! Were they right! The bag hanging off the seat of Bob’s bike was large enough to put a litter of great dane puppies in and have room left over for a couple large boxes of milk bones and a gallon of milk! I think he stopped by a horse farm on the way to the ride and beat up a small girl riding a horse and stole her saddle bag or something. You can’t make this up. Real life is just too good.
The briefing finally ended and again a wave of worry crossed my mind that I was forgetting something... but we were commanded to leave the parking lot and the tide of people leaving the parking lot was as large as the flood of words that you will no doubt hear when you ride with Crazy George. Just not as funny. (Where have you been Crazy George?_)
Now, I forgot to get my ride map so no detail will be given other than to say we rode toward Hocking Hills at what was a plesant pace knowing what was ahead and it wasn’t too long before the climbing began. We went up, then down, up, then down, up then down, rinse, repeat....
About 20 miles in I had a strange feeling and began to discuss it with those around me. No not that kind of feeling, the kind of strange feeling where your body get all sweaty and you don’t need a lot of clothing... you know... HOT! I was HOT!!!! I realized that we had all left the parking lot with zero discussion of what to wear! It was unambiguously, short and jersey weather ONLY when we left the parking lot at 8am !! Imagine that!! Not having to wear 3 layers of clothing and shoe covers...
There was one noted exception. Kenda Janet. The sole person who left wearing arm warmers, but before 3 miles passed they were pushed down to her elbows. An inquiry as to why they were ever put on indicated that it was all about fashion and that she liked wearing them that way as they looked like those long gloves that gals wear to the prom. As Janet is one of the ranking females in the group, I accepted what she said as gold and moved on. As you know I don’t question the ranking females of the group. I just do what I’m told.
So we continued to climb and descend and about 35 miles in I was at the front, again zoning out, when the largest deer in central Ohio (a Thirty-Pointer!!) leaps out of the woods on my right side, flys by, missing the front of my bike by mere inches. I subsequently soiled myself and watched, stunned as this enormous deer hits the pavement and proceeds to slide around like it’s covered in ice. It falls to the road, scrambles back to it’s hooves and bounds off into the woods to the left. It it weren’t for all that time spent studying Mark W. display excellent bike handling skills by weaving through the peloton to get to the front at a red light I’d probably have never survived.
At 45 miles we rolled into Laurelville. You read that right, 45 freaking hilly miles until the first stop!!! Now I’m not one to whine, but I’d like to propose a new ride leader rule.
<whine> If you put together a hilly route that is more than 2 hours before the stop, at least indicate this on the schedule so that folks can take a 3rd bottle of water. I don’t think there was a cup of water to be put together between the 20 people I was riding with by the time we pulled into Laurelville... </whine>
On the other side of the coin, the ride was beautiful today. Sunny, green, quiet rodes, no Pastor Mark or Ox to wield the beat-down stick.
Laurelville was a hopping metropolis when we arrived and the Sunoco did a brisk business as many biking groups converged. The usual banter took place with lies being swapped and continued amazement expressed at the warm disk of the sun that climbed the sky.
Before too long, motions were made back toward the bikes and the sweaty cyclist of the Canal ride shoved off figuring for a 35Mph head wind, pop-up thunderstorm, tornado, golf-ball-sized hail or other weather calamity to arise. I am happy to say the very light and variable wind continued, the sun shone and the temps rose to about 80. The ride flattened out, the peloton decided not to hammer and a nice pace around 18-19 set in and people got a chance to actually look around at the beautiful scenery that makes up the hocking hills area. The ride back was less hilly than the ride out, punctuated only by occasional climbs and after 75 miles we were back in the parking lot with 4500’ of climbing, a bit weary but feeling good in the heat of the day. Plenty of time left to go home and cut the lawn for the first time in just over a week.
There was quite a lot of talk about the 8am ride leaving from Cyclist connection in Canal tomorrow. I expect a good turnout if the weather holds. Right now the weather man is saying 85 and very little chance of rain. Come out and join everyone.
Sorry for the lack of pictures on this one folks. I didn’t know I’d be filling in for Mark. I’ll bring a camera tomorrow just in case he is feeling under the weather
So, as of mid November, an Aortic Oscillation (movement of the cold air mass over the Aortic) occurred that sent the cold air headed south where it drifted over Ohio. Likely a volcanic eruption precipitated this event but other factors were involved too, including La Nina (or is it El Nino). Anyway, that was the primary driver of the ultra cold pattern over Ohio. Then I go to California for the annual training camp and am plagued by crappy weather there. Then I come back to Ohio and we have our wettest April ever followed by a fairly miserable May. On Wednesday, my joints began aching, chills, heat flashes, light headedness so while I went to the Thursday ride, because it was raining lightly, I did not ride. Eight people left with the A group including Logan, Doug M, Trek.HVCC guys, etc... Nathan forgot his cycling shoes so he was out, Jeff decided not to ride and Amanda, as I was leaving, appeared to pack it in too.
On Friday, my symptoms worsened with a temp of 102, along with everything else so I canceled the drive to WV. Steve O diagnosed it as menopause but I thought it could be Lyme Disease as I had found a couple of ticks on me recently and had a red mark, but not a bulls eye pattern signaling an infected tick bite, on my arm. Doctor visit diagnosed it as likely just the flu. Hoping for a recovery by Saturday so I can get out.
I think, after my grousing, whining, moaning and complaining about my eldest daughter's wedding cost, most of you who lived through that concluded I am a complete cheapskate. While that is mostly true, I have another side of me to demonstrate. The middle child approached us about spending 6 weeks in Rome as part of an educational opportunity through her college. To that I said, yes, what a great opportunity for a college kid who is minoring in Italian. And so, Olivia, someone who is as full of life as anyone I have ever met (you probably can get that from reading the below) sent me the below which I am sharing because there was no group ride today and I took the unusual step of running in the rain just to do something. Anyway, from my daughter on her 1st and 2nd email after arriving in Rome last Saturday:
Good Evening/Good Afternoon! :)
We made it to Rome yesterday around 10:30am. My flight was late taking off due to some mechanical error that was fixed after about an hour. When we arrived I went through customs which took a ridiculously long time but made it through, found my luggage (yay! nobody in our large group had their luggage lost!) and found our professor. There are 8 people in the program from BGSU, 5 of us our in one apartment, the other 3 are in an apartment about 10 minutes walk down the street. There are 2 boys and 6 girls. There is also a girl from another part of Italy that moved in today and will be here for 2 weeks. She seems really nice :). It was beautiful outside yesterday, today it is raining but still fairly nice out. Yesterday my flatmates and I went and got food from this little pizza place. I had pizza with cheese (formaggio) and ham (proscuitto). NO SAUCE! they make pizza here often with no sauce!!!! I was super excited to find that out, and if you want no sauce just spezzo (without) and pomodoro (tomato) and it comes without tomato sauce :). Then gelato which was delicious. Today our professor took us out to lunch and I had a panini with chicken, lettuce, mayo, and asparagus, which was really good also and drank sparkling water which was not good haha. Anyways we are headed into center Rome today (about 20 minutes from out apartment) to explore and see the school! I will keep emailing and updating you on everything! Miss you tons!!!
And then today this came:
I absolutely love it here! The people are all really nice and helpful, my friend and I walked into a gelato store and the guy stood there and helped us with our italian as we attempted to order our gelato and then afterwards was talking to us for a good 10 minutes, getting us to respond in italian. I already feel like I know more! Me and 3 other people here have gotten really close already which is good and helpful. We go everywhere together pretty much. But us 4 explored center or historical Rome as it is called together after seeing the school on Sunday and it was incredible. I have already taken almost 200 pictures, loaded them up on facebook. Another plus i have internet in my apartment! Which we were told we wouldnt so yay! I can skype you all after Brett's graduation, just give me an estimated time because we are 6 hours ahead here and I have to plan my day :) Today was my first day of classes but it was more orientation, still fun. My Italian class was all in Italian and we cannot respond in english!!! It was nerve wracking having to talk in Italian and feeling silly when I messed up but that is the best way to learn I guess :) anyways I am off to bed to get up at 7am for class tomorrow :) more details to follow in a couple days! All about where I have been, and my classes and stuff! Love you a lot and miss you tons!!! Hope everything stateside is good :)
Ryan Roe, surging onward with his preparations for his personal assault at Mountains of Misery in two weeks, claimed another monumental achievement. Saturday, on the final climb of a monstrous hilly route, attacked at the foot of Col du Stump Hollow and gapped Steve O. Further, just as Ryan had pulled his hands from the handlebar to celebrate the summit win with an arms clenched in victory over his head, he looked back to see Steve not only gapped but also......get this.......traversing the slope just to keep from unclipping.
Ryan punctuated this dramatic revelation by "shooting" his hands and acting like a pistolero. Wish I had the video of this. Trying to get the total elevation gain from someone in the group.
If the forecast on Friday night was to be believed we would not be able to ride. Set the alarm, woke and checked radar and looked like we'd miss the rain until noon-1:00pm so headed to Alley Park for a ride we will one day tell our grandchildren about. Well,,,maybe not. There were 8 of us at the start but even before leaving the parking lot, plans were being made to short cut either out of concern about getting wet or the need to be somewhere at sometime. Anyway, Dennis, Little Diesel, Mark C, Steve O, John S, Flyin Tuna, Ryan and me headed out.
We skipped going up Tarkiln because reports were of heavy cinders at that steep pitch at the top and instead took the climb up Ross, left at 752, down Blue Valley, up McGuery, left at Revenge, up Snortin Ridge and then at Rich Hollow, we paused. The 80 milers were to go down that while Mark C needed something shorter. I wanted to do the long route and hills but the weakest of us went with Mark and no one going with Ryan shared my passion for riding easy so I went with Mark, Dennis and Cindy. We went down Jack Run and then up to some park....let's see, that's 4 good climbs so far.
I began to regret my decision to go with the shortcutters who were going to go to Logan and back to Alley so I bugged out. I went back and climbed Jack Run, that's nasty....down Snortin Ridge and up Revenge, down McGuery and up Beck....down Ross and up Tarkiln (cinders were not bad at all), right on 752 and then hit Stump Hollow and finished with 56 miles and 4700' of climbing. That pales in comparison to what Ryan's group had so I hope one of them post here what I missed. By the way, some of us are planning to ride something in WV next weekend called "Ride for a Reason".
A hot and humid late afternoon was a shock, although a welcome one, to the system. Let's see, where did I put the sun screen from when last I had to use it, September I think. Smallish turnout early but noticed there were lots of people riding on the main drag, warming up for what was certainly to be a fast paced ride. Young Phenom, Logan, wearing his Savage Hill kit. Later, I asked him if it was true that he was merely toying with Steve O and Mark C on Tuesday's ride and could have ridden away from them whenever he wanted. Logan grinned, nodded yes and said he could have done just that. I laughed and told him to show humility but told him not to worry, his statement would never see the light of day............
The turnout among the A's gets larger and larger and more intimidating every week. In addition to Logan's arrival, Garth Prosser was also there with the usual suspects of Marty, John Morgan, Dave Chesrown, John Gorilla, couple of Trek/NHCC cyclists, Mick, Little Diesel, Lisa T, Trek Ron, Muscle Dude, Jason from "The Others", Craig from Cyclist Connection, Shannon the tri guy, Claude, Jon Sada....around 22 in total.
Here, Garth and Marty talk while Muscle Dude, who dwarfs those of us having men's heads on women's bodies but is great to draft behind, rolls up.
Out of the blue, Jamie Roberts, the old Group Killer drove in to say hello. When last we saw Jamie he had a shaved head but since October 1 he's let his hair grow out, Makes him look younger and Tuna said she thought she ought to let her hair grow too to see if it had a smililar effect. Jamie ran the Cap City Half last weekend and will be in WV for another half marathon this weekend. Doesn't sound like he's returning to cycling anytime soon.
Overall, we hard around 60 people show up and Jeff F announced the B group would get split in two with SuperDave leading the B+ group out. I turned to see Dave with a deer in the head light look and eyelids blinking like a gattling gun in action. Joining him were Dennis, Flyin Tuna, Mark R (pictured in the middle here), Mark V (finally not wearing a Reds jersey), Dan (didn't have a good time at 3 State/3 Mountain last Saturday), Farmer Mike & others.
The A's were called out and off we went. I kind of suspected my legs would be in good shape after having not ridden too hard on Tuesday and I was glad to discover I was correct. A slight tailwind out of the SW aided us as we swooped out old #161 and the group stayed together despite a few surges. By the time we reached the light at #310, only 2-3 had dropped off. It's a long light so I drifted through it and rode easily to the turn on Jersey Mill. After the turn onto Jersey Mill I looked back to see a freight train bearing down on me. I tried to time my entry into it but failed completely and rode off the back end all the way to Alexandria where I caught back on, worrying about my limited energy stores being depleted. At the Jersey Mill turn our average was 23.8, into Alexandria it was 24.9 and after coasting through town, we turned left onto Raccoon Valley. The pace was high but not too stressful as I guessed most knew about the upcoming climb. We arrived in Granville at 25.2mph avg and our numbers had dwindled a little.
Ahhhh, the climb up Thresher. Purely out of a sense of journalistic curiosity I had planned to take the Thornwood hill before Thresher to see who came out 1st at the top of the hill and so drifted to the back of the pack. Unfortunately we went by the turn at Thornwood and I somehow missed it. Damn it!!! Now, at the back of the pack we hit Thresher. Immediately, someone to my right exclaimed, while looking up, "Geez, what sh*t have you guys got me into now!?" I worked my way through a few riders and at the top was slotted in at #8 next to John G. Though cross-eyed from the effort, I remember seeing in front of me, Logan, John M, Marty, a Trek NHCC dude, Nic, Dave C & one other guy. Although the grade backs off after the left turn, it's a debilitating rise to the top. A gap had formed between Logan, Marty, John M, Trek guy and Dave C, Nic, #7 and I and then a gap developed between #7 guy and me and it was a big one. Oh well. rode out to New Burg past the school and waited for a rear guard to form up. First Jason went by but he appeared to be too serious about working hard so I stayed patient. Then Muscle Dude came by but he too seemed intent on riding hard. I got to the top of the hill on New Burg and while coasting down...oh yeah....Little Diesel, Mick and Craig of Cyclist Connection caught me. Now that's more like it and we worked together to Stone Quarry.
Mick and I got in front of the other two at the top of the Stone Quarry climb and I convinced him to ease up as LD's pulls would be needed. Craig must have eased up as we eased up and we lost him and were down to 3 of us but added Jason for a new 4. After working through the hills of Stone Quarry, we turned right onto Northridge with more hills and I remember thinking how much I'd like to stick a lighted firecracker up the rear end of the guy who designed this medieval route. Lacking a match and firecracker, I could not follow through even though Jeff was right there. Suddenly, we were overwhelmed by a largish group of Garth, 2nd Trek NHCC guy and others and soon we swallowed up Muscle Dude and there must have been 8-9 of us. At the top of Northridge, we were down to 6 and then Garth and Trek guy just kept taking turns drilling it. I wondered how long they could keep it up and how long I could keep it up and they just kept keeping it up. Unreal. We arrived in Johnstown and made a wrong turn to the right. Somehow, Dave C was with us now too. Out of Johnstown we got onto Edwards, worked our way over to Green Chapel and finally reclaimed the official route at Jug, where Logan, Marty and John M streaked by. Garth and Trek guy must have wanted to catch those 3 so they took turns punishing me but we did catch up and rolled into New Albany with a 22.2 avg, 1450' of climbing (a lot for a NA ride) and 41.5 miles.
UPDATE: I know, some of you are thinking, Geez, the pace will be too high for me and Mark is being dishonest about setting an easy pace. Fear not! Here is a partial list of those who say they are coming. Cindy B (it don't get much slower than that), Mark V, Dennis, me, Little Diesel, Steve O, Mark C, Todd Lee..... Trust me. After tonights New Albany hammerfest, not onlRyan R, has put together an 80 mile route with lots and lots of hills as he tries to ready himself for the "Mountains of Misery" ride in a couple of weeks. Plan for an 8am start from Alley Park located just south of Lancaster. Due to road closures on US33 take the bypass and take the Tarkiln exit, then head north on Old Logan Road to reach the park.
There will likely be two groups, those who are training to prepare for upcoming mountainous century events and those of us who need the miles but don't want to push the pace too hard (me). So, come on out and have a good time or, ride with the first group.
Another Tuesday, another problematic weather forecast. At 4:30pm, a radar-based, large green blob approaching from the NW but looks like it may slide south of Canal so I jump in the car and head south. At the parking lot, Nathan, Little Diesel and Poobah have their phones out showing radar and have concluded we are about to get hit. Others must have concluded the same and so it was a desultory group of 26 who were there. Or, maybe the Tuesday Canal ride has lost its juice. Be nice to have our first good Tuesday weather day to find out and hey....where the heck is Da Boss????
Grand Poobah and Kayla took off on a flatter ride then what we were to do so then we were down to 24 and I missed out on all of Todd's on road antics to report.
The Young Phenom and the Younger Phenom, Logan and Nick, were at the ride for the first time, on the right. Mark V in the Reds jersey was also there. It has become obvious to me that he wears the Brandon P Reds jersey to every ride because he has run out of cycling jerseys (what other reason could it be?). Therefore, I want to hold a jersey drive. If you have any medium sized somewhat worn cycling jerseys that you were prepared to throw away, please give to me and I'll make sure Brandon gets it. Also, in anticipation he is on his last pair of cycling shorts and likely to begin wearing boxers or briefs, perhaps we should start a cycling shorts drive too.
Other newcomers were Claude on the right, who was a Thursday New Albany regular last year and is just emerging from his basement trainer (he shares my intolerance for the cold) and on the left, Pepe Lapew a.k.a. Kevin Hollingshead.
Having done nothing but sling mulch around every available minute since Saturday's TN ride, I decided to ride with the B group and bid the A's farewell as they headed out with Steve O, Mark C, Logan, Nick, Recumbent Dude, Claude, Jeff S, John S, Jeremy and probably 3-4 others. Speaking of Jeremy, beginning today, he becomes gainfully employed with a nasty schedule of 12 hour work days. He also may do some painting for Flyin Tuna but I warned him as a government apparatchik, she'll offer to help him out of some future possible IRS audit in exchange for the work, rather than actual cash for his efforts.
A very hilly route that would be a challenge for my fellow B's. Among us were Mitch, Kevin, Cindy B, Amanda, Nathan's brother, Mark V and really everyone who was left in the parking lot so probably 12-13 of us. We worked our way out to Slough and slogged our way over the first significant climb and I think the group got thinned a little so maybe we were down to 7-8 or so. We made a right on Winchester and soon a right on Kauffman with its many rollers and climbs finally summiting at Lamb and getting on to Rock Mill. We had picked up Claude, Jeremy and 2-3 other A wannabees along the way. Welcome to reality someone muttered. A flash of lightning lit the sky to a very dark sky to the south, just as we turned east and avoided the rain that was falling not too far to the south.
Mitch was turning the screws on our little band but he was always careful to check his mirror and when we began to fall back, he would ease the pace and keep most of us together. What a guy! After a long stretch on Rock Mill we turned left on Crumley (more climbing) then a left on Mt Zion and egads, a left on Royalton, gee I hate that road. First the modest climb, then a screaming descent with a sharp corner going left at the bottom then a steepish ramp where Jeremy attacked then that long false flat where Jeremy ran out of gas, then the real screaming descent where a pack of dogs attacked and then that steep climb up to Rock Mill....what a stretch of road! We regrouped as we approached Amanda Northern where we made a right and then left on Marcy, right on Sitterly, left on Salem Church and finally back to Canal. My Garmin, which is about to get replaced, bugged out again so unsure about elevation gain but had to be 2000'. Anyway, 34 miles and an 18.7 average. Meantime.....at the front......the A group was whittled down to Steve, Mark and the 2 phenoms. Nick fell off the pace along Royalton with the other 3 finishing together although one observed Logan could have taken off alone if he had wanted to.
Capitalizing on their vaunted PR campaign that promotes the Kenda name everywhere, the Kenda clan managed to get themselves on the Dispatch website. Clicking here http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/multimedia/audio_slideshows/2011/05/tosrv/index.html?sid=101 takes you to the image of the Kenda train heading to Portsmouth with Stephano pulling, Dave hanging on and Kenda Janet back right looking up the road at who next they will pass.
Steve O and John S left Carrol at 7:30, an hour ahead of me and a 25 mile head start too, on the long drive to Chattanooga. To keep interest in the drive, I decided to try to catch them. Every time a vehicle passed me, I leapt onto their back bumper and drafted them like Todd Lee on whoever is in front of him. Couple of times caught on to cars going 90+mph. From past experience driving to FL for spring breaks, I always discovered there were more highway patrol cars between here and Cincy then from the Ohio border all the way to FL. Oddly enough, I saw only one in Ohio but also saw only one in KY and none in TN. It was as if all the drivers had advanced knowledge and they screamed down I-75 and I happily drafted behind them. Somewhere around Knoxville, John stopped for gas and I got ahead of them, making the trip in 7.5 hours.
After picking up our packets, we checked in to our hotels and by 5:30pm, John and Steve arrived to pick me up so we could head out to get a bite to eat. At the front desk of my hotel, the clerk suggested the "Fireside Grill", which was RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER and served steak, seafood, poultry, etc... but not pasta. Steve wanted a carbo loaded meal and while John and I were good with the Grill, Steve nixed the idea with a, "I want to carbo load" So, we drove for miles through heavy traffic so "Half Wheel Steve" could eat his pasta. Not a bad place but probably not in Chattanooga's Top Ten restaurant list either. They served small rolls with a green garnish that reminded me of mold but Steve loved the taste and ate many.
The "3 State/3 Mountain Challenge" was reduced to a "3 State/2 Mountain" event as severe hurricane damage on Lookout Mountain caused a change in plans. Too bad but understandable. We drove to the top of Lookout and were greeted with great views but there were dozens of trees down and I heard at least one death in that area. The last thing the area needed were gaily dressed cyclists riding around while power lines are being fixed and people suffering.
There were around 1500 cyclists at the start, including this strange guy waving the "V" for villain hand sign.
We cavorted around for too long and while doing so, hundreds were lining up at the start around the corner of the stadium. We were oblivious to this and finally coasted over to find ourselves well back. I looked for New Albany Dan but could not find him. The image does not do justice to the distance we were from the front. Due to the curvature of the earth, we could not see that far over the horizon to the front of the group. When the signal was finally given to start, we waited and waited and I noted a block ahead, the front of the column was already well around the first turn, while we continued to wait. My plan, since this was not an event that would post my time for my personal embarrassment on the event's web site, was to enjoy the day, the food stops, the volunteers and try to grind through the climbs. When finally we began to move, about the time the lead group was already finishing I think, I became impatient and began passing people just to pick up some speed and soon left Steve and John behind although I suspected Steve was shadowing me.
We left town with the help of many dozens of volunteers who blocked intersections for us. After some rollers and 10 miles or so, we hit the first climb called Suck Creek Mountain. At 5 miles a long climb but with a grade of 3-5%, not difficult, just something to endure. In fact, the challenge was not the climb but working through the hundreds of cyclists clogging the road. It would be ok if everyone hung to the right of the road but so many ride at the left of the lane, at 2mph and can't imagine anyone catching them from behind. It was a wild scene of cutting inside the lane, barging through groups, going left of center. I hung on with 2 guys who rode boldly through the human mass barking out commands to those in front of them.
I skipped the first food stop at only 20 miles and at around 30 miles got in with a nice pace line and heard a familiar squeaking noise, turned and there was Steve. Stopped at the 40 mile rest stop to grab a PB & J and kept going. Took awhile for another pace line to come through but jumped on it as we approached an incline. I asked Steve if this was the big climb and he said yes so I said, "See ya later" and slowed way down. A couple of women rode by and I asked if this was the big climb partly because unless they were a couple of Cat 1's, their pace was extraordinary. In an accent identical to Dolly Parton one said, "This little bitty thing, no we don't call this a mountain down here. The real mountain is ahead." I looked ahead and the road kept going up and I said, "This sure looks like a mountain climb to me." To which they said, "Well, you can call it a mountain if you want but it ain't no mountain." Oh.
A new pace line formed and eventually, got to the foot of Sand Mountain, which was quite a bit more difficult than the first climb. 6-7% grade and 3 miles with a rest stop at the top at mile 60. OK, time for a longer break and I sampled a bit of everything, including cream filled oatmeal cookies. The route then took us all around the top of the mountain with fantastic views to the right. We were up there for 5 miles with lots of rollers and finally coasted down and eventually reached the 80 mile rest stop. From there it was a quick 10 miles back to the city and we were given our own orange coned lined entry back to the stadium with all intersections blocked for us. I crossed the finish line with 89 miles, 5400' of climbing and a time of 5:06. Steve had a time of 4:48 and then rode back out to get extra miles for 100. John had cramping problems and finished at 6:35. Above, the scene in front of the stadium as others finish.
If you thought the one day out of the week we get good weather it would bring the cyclists out in droves, you would have been correct. Somewhere between 65-70+ with many of the usual suspects and more new people too. It would be easier for me to name those who were not there such as Grand Poobah, Amanda, Nathan (coming home from India) and that's about it.
Red-Head Bill, touring the parking lot asking for a helmet since he forgot his. Little Diesel loaned him one. Bill says this is his first time riding this year or maybe his first Thursday ride, not sure but he rode like he's been riding alot. Also note the woman on the right, Ashley, who is making quite an impression among the strong B cyclists. She sits at the front and sets a remorseless pace.
Way too conspicuous was Mark V, preening around the parking lot in his Cincy Reds jersey. Being a gadfly who jumps from preride group to preride group dispensing wisdom and cheer, I found myself in this group when Brandon Phillips arrived. One of our more classless cyclists finally asked him to move on. Said it was embarrassing to be seen with a person wearing a baseball jersey for a cycling event. I must say, I had to agree. There was some debate about which was worse, a baseball jersey or a Fruit Loops cycling jersey.
Jeff came up with a good route and when the A's were called out, there were 24-25 and the usual massive group of B's coming out behind us. I'm not sure there are any C riders anymore on Thursdays, maybe 2-3? We headed out old 161 but turned left on Kitzmiller, right on Jug and left on Clover Valley. The pace surged and abated and surged again and this caused a few to drop, including John Gorilla, trying to keep up on a single speed. I think he'll be on the real road bike next week and certainly would be one of the top 2-3 A's in the group.
As I sat in towards the back, it appeared Shannon, the tri-guy was pushing the pace. We made a right on Miller and the pace quickened. By now, our group was at 16 with Shannon, John Morgan, Rich Lewis, Colnago Ron (riding a new ultralight Trek), Dennis, Dave Chesrown,Tim Tyler & Lisa, Mick, Doug M, Nate, Jason (he asked if I was the Mark with the blog and said he was a member of "The Others" the ultra secret shadowy group who ride the Saturday roving and other rides....on Sundays to avoid attention and save $2), some Echelon guys, Trek guys, etc... We turned left on 310 then a quick right on Duncan Plains and crested the hill at #37 with exactly a 23mph average. We jumped onto Castle but I guess no one wanted to push it too hard mostly all the way to Concorde where we turned right and eventually reached Northridge, turning left.
This portion of Northridge is highlighted by a steepish and longish ramp, a false flat and then a rather long but not so steep stretch to Sportsman Club. Probably everyone guessed the screws would get turned here and yep, they were. People began fading back like leaves falling from a tree in October. Dennis spit the bit, then Lisa, Mick, Jason....I reached the top of the first ramp with the group and then, it was over, one hill too far. Mick went around me and finally we reached the top and the turn with Jason, Lisa, Mick and I but there were 4 cars lined up at the intersection, I was not attentive to what the other 3 were doing and when I did notice, they were like....gone. I checked the pavement for rubber burns. Wow.
With a 100 mile ride in Chattanooga on Saturday, I decided to take it easy and not push it. At that point, my average was 22.1. Dennis quickly caught me and we rode together down Louden and then he put in a nice pull on Raccoon Valley into Alexandria. He decided not to lollygag with me and dropped me, turning left on Jersey Mill while I stayed on Jug. Reaching Burnside, Mick and 3 others (they were not of our group having started at the Starbucks) swung onto Jug and I rode in with them, finishing with 40 miles and a 20.4 average. That's right, I'm driving to Chattanooga, TN to ride in the 3 State 3 Mountain tour. They don't post finish times so it's a good chance to ride a good route, enjoy the weather, people and rest stops while slogging over some mountains. Steve O and John S are going but so too are Dan and 2 of his tennis buddies. Don't know who else is going from Ohio.
Mark C, Cindy B, Jeremy and a few others, who can not spend the weekend riding TOSRV but can ride Saturday, are doing the following ride. All are welcome.
We are going to do the BIG MUSKIE ride Saturday. It will be around 75 to 90 miles. I may modify the route some to get a few new roads in. We are meeting at the Sunrise Center parking lot at 9 AM. The directions are as follows:
Take I-70 east through Zanesville
After going through Zanesville take the next exit which is the Adamsville Exit (SR 93) Turn right at the end of the exit ramp.
Make the next right on SR 40.
Go approximately 1 mile. You will start down a big hill and a bowling alley will be on the left. The Sunrise Center is on the right. Turn right into the parking lot. We will park in the back of the lot in front of the IGA Grocery Store.
Hope to see you there! Sounds like the weather is looking up. The rain is supposed to hold of till evening.
Anyone with an experienced eye of radar/weather watching just knew it would be dry by 6:00pm for the Canal ride and so it was. Yes, the pavement was wet, yes it was cloudy and threatening looking, yes it was cold and yes, I was having none of it. Riding in dreary conditions is no longer part of my M.O. It's May, come on. let's get on with the sunshine. The good news for those of you who embrace the cold, wintery weather, we're only 6 months away from that fun. Start sharpening your skies. Steve O, Mark C, John S, Little Diesel, Jeremy and Rick H gathered and rode. I hear they got in 42 miles so good for them.
The Roving Rides did not get included in the COP newsletter but probably they are listed on the web site. Not sure what's going on in the office of the COP but the cycling event promotion via the newsletter has been unorganized and hope they get it figured out. There are rumblings that if the weather is decent, Mark C is leading a "Little Muskie" ride on Saturday out of Zanesville if you don't intend to ride TOSRV. I'll post the info here. I'm not taking any chances. Yearning for sun and warm temps, I decided to go someplace else. Maybe Blacksburg, Va to ride the Mountains of Misery route and get an image of where on the mountain I think Ryan will unclip or maybe.......
I had not ridden the Tom's Trillion tour prior to today but discovered it is a great route with smooth roads (2 exceptions which weren't that bad) and good views. At the parking lot, it appeared if it were not for the contingent from Columbus, no one would have participated. In addition to our group of 12, there were 3-4 of "The Others" but not many who I could ID as being local or from Athens. Our group was comprised of Steve O, Pastor Mark, Dan Farley, Flyin Tuna, Dennis, Ryan R, Mitch the Gentle Hobbit, Jimmy, Mark/Karen Rossi, John S, Jeremy and yours truly, Also there was Mike Rea but we did not see him after the parking lot.
We shoved off at 9:00 with temps around 42 degrees and light winds out of the SE. There was a kind of significant climb in the first "inning" that brought us into Albany at mile 21. We ran into Peggster, Butch, Evie and....
Beth Hale.There were a lot of discussions about how far each of us were going and I noted that Tuna and Dennis were talking about 81 while Mark & Karen were talking about 67. I decided to arbitrate this discussion by bringing the short cutters together with the long short cutters to see if they could arrive at some mutual distance agreement. I am proud to say I helped solve the problem and it was decided that all of the short cutters would ride the 81 mile route.
Then we all left but I decided to be social and ride with the Rossi's and hung back with them while everyone took off. Frankly, I kind of thought that while we would drift back on the climbs, we would more than make up for it with that tandem smoking a downhill. Alas, Mark & Karen are not in good form yet so we never saw the group until the 81 mile cut-off. There, Tuna and Dennis were waiting and they seemed surprised I did not cut the route short but I was determined to ride the long route and bid them farewell. Please note that as soon as they left together, Tuna dropped the Rossi's (this after talking them into riding the longer short cut) and dragged Dennis with her. What's up with that?
I rode alone for awhile but rounding a corner I saw the gang off to the side fixing a flat. Surprisingly, it was Steve's thick cross tire that had picked up a nail or something similar. They all seemed surprised to see me and I asked why the lack of faith in me. Mark C replied, "We do have faith just not in you." Hmmm, one would think that after the last two weekend rides of 100 miles in 30mph winds I'd deserve better but I do have a history to overcome. Anyway, with rain forecast for 8 of the next 10 days, I feel the need to bank miles. I kept going and arrived at a store in Chester at mile 54. There I found a tack and placed it on the cement next to me and tried to convince first Mitch and then Steve to take a seat but each saw the tack.
We packed up and headed off. Someone asked Dan F to go full throttle and he put the hammer down, I think staying at the front and pulling for the entire distance. Couple of times he rode away from us on a hill and had to wait. Geez, the good news is he must weigh only 135 and there isn't any room to remove more weight while I can lose another 7-8, Mark C could probably lose another 10-12, Steve O could lose around 2 and Ryan could lose 20-25 so there is where we could close the gap on :Armstrong". After that burst of 10 miles, the aforementioned were still hanging in there but I had enough and dropped back, riding the next 10 mostly alone until rolling into Shade at mile 74. A local entertained us with stories about his motorcycle racing escapades. Most of us were looking a little fried by now as the climbing was taking its toll.
I was counting down to when the route hit the bike path at mile 94 for the final 12 flat miles. So, 20 to go to the path. I left the store a little ahead of the group but it was 6 miles before they caught up and then it was the 4 cyclists described in the previous paragraph. I had the good fortune to have ridden through some nasty climbing before they caught me and what was left was mostly rollers. We began rotating through the front and I was behind Steve at mile 90, ready for him to drop off and I was anticipating taking my first pull of the day. We were half way up a small climb and Steve was not pushing it very hard when suddenly, Mark C attacked from the back. Fatigue caused me to snap and I called him a, "You yellow-bellied Sapsucker, stop sign jumping, intersection leaper with a mom who wears combat boots!" I was surprised I had the breath to spit all that out. We caught back up and darn if I didn't find myself at the back of the five and no longer a threat to pull for several more miles.
We reached the bike path and for the first mile it was good to ride flat ground but then the monotony of the path set in and I wished we were on the open road. I fell back with a couple of mile to go and missed Steve taking the parking lot sprint win from Mark. Finished with 108 miles, 17.3 avg and 6010' of climbing. I must say, I'm glad I'm not riding in Mountains of Misery in 4 weeks. If I was, I'd be very concerned about riding a 100 mile, 10,000' climbing event after struggling on today's route. If I was riding MOM, I'd be looking to give my credentials away to someone.