Thought some of you would be curious to know how many others visit this silly blog. For June, we set some records with one day 320 people visiting but that is not unique visitors. You see, on some days, some of you visit more than once, which says a lot about how bored you are sitting in your office cubicle. The day we hit 320 was not our high for unique visitors. Instead, a week later we hit 210 unique visitors. I am astounded by this as I could not conjure up the names of more than 20-30 who I either know or suspect visit this site. I say suspect because very few people openly admit they visit here and I don't blame them because I probably would not admit it either. The busiest days are either Wednesdays or Thursdays. I guess when you arrive at work on Monday's, you are swamped with work, clear things out by Tuesday, take care of internet shopping and hit important web sites on Tuesday and then with too much free time, you start hitting this site on Wednesday. Oh, and to again confirm, I have no idea who you are. I would love to know and if I wanted to take the time I could get ISP addresses but suspect that would show a bunch of .gov and .edu addresses. I have been asked a few times if I know who "Sproket" or "Crank Arm" are who post comments. Nope, no idea. I have only had to remove one comment and that was not about me, it was about a fellow rider. Because I so enjoy dishing it out I have to take it in the comments section, which some of you do too gleefully (Peggy). Lastly, all of my comments are with tongue planted firmly in cheek and never intended to be malicious. There are a few of you who have kind of thin skins so over time I learned to avoid picking on you. Some of you also have skins thicker than a hippo (Cindy, Dennis, Todd, Kendaites, Jamie, etc...) and I am very thankful you are around for me to kick.
I Did What????
The heavy, moisture laden, heat oppressive conditions have moved out for a few days so it was a little surprising that a rather modest sized crowd appeared in Canal. Here, Butch, Mitch and Peggy are plotting the final turns for this Saturday's Rocky Roving Ride. The trio plan not one but TWO trips up Rocky Road and not early but at the END of the route. This will be like riding up Tourmalet, twice, in a single Tour de France stage. The second trip up Rocky is optional and will be interesting to see how many choose the option. For me, the Rocky ride is my favorite roving ride. Long stretches of flat to rolling punctuated by a few significant climbs like Rocky, Tar Hollow, Clark Hollow that Thornton Sprung beast, but not the constant up and down type of route.
Mark C, fresh off his Florida purchase of a new Astro van, is back. Mark said the hilliest bike path he has ever ridden was in Florida where he vacationed with the in-laws for a week. If that were me, I too would have ridden 150 miles each day. Jeremy is in the background.
Roy asked me to take an image of his sorry bike shorts. Asked me to put the word out that he needs a donation, men's medium or ladies XL he said.
Even with the arrival of this truck load of cyclists, we still probably had only 55 people at the start, for a flat route east towards Baltimore and a little hillier route back.
A group of 15 A's rolled out including Da Boss, Steve O, Mark C, Ryan, Buckeye Planet Dude, Walker Dude, Savage Hill Rick, Jeff S, a few new people, etc... Not there were Jamie and the Jeni guy got our hopes up at the Grandview race but did not show. I was there of course, adding markedly to the atmosphere with words of encouragement and uplift. However, not there was my bike. I work from home in an office and had taken the bike out of the car over the weekend. The bike sits 4' from my desk...I have to walk past it all day. Somehow, I walked by it when leaving for the ride, drove all the way to Canal without noticing it was missing, got out of the car and signed up for the ride, walked back to the car to open the door and only then realized my mistake......IDIOT!!! Of course, the considerate fellow cycling friends mostly acted as if they understood. For instance, Steve O called me an idiot but what could I say? Went trail running instead. Bummer. Hey, someone fill us in on what happened during the ride.
Da Boss' Feets Was Flyin
Craig Butler sent me the following account of his recent marathon, the 2nd in three weeks. So, here it is, in his own words:
Mark--I like to see my name in print and reinforce my endurance prowess over my peers. Please post this on your blog and don't change a word unless it serves to improve the perception of my performance!
After running the hilly Penna. Potter County marathon three weeks ago with an
nexpected time of 3:23 (2 minutes shy of a boston qualifying time (BQ)), I
ulled over the idea of finding another marathon to quickly see if I could run a
Q versus waiting to run one in the fall. I found the Charlevoix marathon in
ichigan - A short trip up-lake from Traverse City. With only three weeks of
ecovery and training in between I was hopeful but unsure about having enough
ime to recover and train, but signed up.
Tammi, Hanna and I drove up on Thursday nite and Friday to give it a shot. It
s a relatively small marathon with about 1000 people running the marathon,
alf, and 10K. About 250 people ran the marathon. It is a real nice course run
n bike trails along Lake Michigan.
Saturday at 5AM, it was pouring rain when I woke up. Thankfully, it stopped
round 6:30. Temps were around 62 - 70 and humid. Not too bad.
We started at 7 and I set a pace of 7:30. This would give me a minute or two to
se when I hit the proverbial wall around mile 22 or so and pace tends to slow
nd make the 3:20 cutoff for my BQ age group.
I was on or ahead of my pace time and felt OK - not great, but OK - through the
irst 10 miles. There was one hill at 10 that was unexpected but not a huge
ssue. At the half, I clocked a 1:37. About 3 minutes ahead of schedule but I
as wary of getting too cocky because I knew there was a hill at mile 25 and
elt the first, and therefore the last three miles on this out/back course were
own/uphill. I worked on managing my pace and drinking fluids through mile 22.
ere I finally started to let myself start think I would make the 3:20 time as I
ad kept my pace and was feeling OK. I passed several runners in the last three
iles that I let go in the beginning and hit the hill at 25 without losing to
uch time. I crossed the finish line with a 3:16 (7:24 pace). I made it. I am
retty happy. It has taken me 8 years to run a time like this and considering
y first marathon I ran a 5:04, I feel pretty good. Perhaps with some more
raining I could do 3:10???? hmmmm fun to dream, but I need a break.
What's next....? I have a few trail runs planned for later this year and
ossibly a 50 miler in October. I plan to get on my bike more and ride with
riends and family. I'm itching to climb some hills.
A Day at the Races
The Grandview races were Sunday and so I made my first visit.....WOW, what have I been missing!!!! Get this, among all the other sights and sounds, half way up the hill before the start/finish line, in a shady area there is a family that serves FREE beer and food and announce the fact with a large cardboard sign. I arrived in time to catch the men's Cat 4 race and saw 3-4 guys who periodically ride with us on Tuesdays, including the B1 dude on the right, who I think finished with the lead pack at the finish.
After the Cat 4's finished what must best be described as a lethargically paced effort (that hill, the heat and humidity take a heck of a toll) with even the race announcer extolling them to ride faster, the women's race began. There was Katherine, just getting back into racing, mixed in with Cat 1's, 2's, 3's, etc... looking fresher than she would after 20 times up that hill but she did it, even flatting once and having to make a pit stop tire change before re-entering the race. I must say, Steve O, Rick and I marveled at the intensity with which the women attacked that hill, again and again. The word "lean" definitely comes to mind watching them motor by. A couple who shared our shady spot and follow woman's racing answered the obvious question about which men's category is equivalent to a woman's Cat 1 and they said Cat 3, if so, it has to be a very strong Cat 3 cyclist.
I had to leave just after the start of the men's 1/2 race but before leaving ran into Kenda's Paul & Janet, with their new Doberman puppy. They noted there were several Kenda riders in the race but after the first lap, we could not spot them as the pack rode by in a blur. Someone said the Pro Kendaites probably were DQ'd for trying to short cut the route. Ha! That's funny. Also at the race was Dennis, Ted M, Woody (working at the Trek pit stop) and one of the Jeni's cyclists who used to ride with us on Tuesdays (David I think?). Anyway, his school schedule is changing and he can ride with us again, probably bringing Nate along too, this week. They have had to cut back their riding but he appeared to still be in pretty good shape.
Yes, it's a Long Drive but......
Donna B was surprised by the turnout of 30 cyclists who made, for some, the 1.5 hour drive to Coshocton and Roscoe Village. For those that made it, including Grand Poobah, Brad the Dentist, Kent Rigsby (he keeps rejecting my pleas for free dinner coupons), Franz, Kevin K, Scott, Mark C's friend John, Amy, Eve, Tim F, Steve H, new guy Phil, etc.... it was a great route into parts of Ohio we rarely, if ever, visit.
We made our way up to New Bedford and from there, via Charm/Newbedford Road on to Charm. There were some great long climbs in there where Poobah and I made half-hearted KOM efforts. That dude is the king of sneaky, saying. "OK, I'm giving you this one." where upon if you relax, he streaks by or pedals just to your rear and then jumps up and sprints by at the top. At one point, apparently knowing there was a village sign just beyond a hill, he sprinted away and upon passing the sign, I kid you not, he demonstrated every sign sprint victory celebration ever performed. Included in this hilarious mix was of course 1) Victory salute with one arm pointing skyward and face looking toward the sky, 2) Two arm victory salute with arms stretched skyward, 3) the "rock the baby" with arms cradling each other while swinging them side to side, 4) the Pistolero salute with hand shooting a gun after which he blew imaginary smoke and then, to top it off, he unclipped both feet from the pedals and began wildly shaking his legs.. I have forwarded a letter of complaint to the Kenda High Council for behavior unbecoming a club rider.
We arrived in Charm and took a break at the market. The village was very active with the usual mix of horse drawn buggies but also lots of bikes. Across the street, the Mennonite version of Craig Butler comes to a stop after dropping the other members of Charm's cycling club. Also saw two different bearded dues with straw hats on recumbents.
We rolled out of Charm and at a light, I caught this idyllic scene of 4 Clydesdales pulling farm machinery in the field across the road.
From Charm we proceeded to Walnut Creek and from there to Sugar Creek. Here, Phil's seat post broke and although Poobah offered to ride it for him if he applied gobs of chamois butter to the post, Phil instead walked across the street to a car dealership where he was able to persuade someone to replace a bolt that created a permanent fix. Meanwhile, we vegged out at another gas station, refueling. We proceeded on to Baltic then New Bedford again where we made another pit stop. Our overall average ride time was not too fast with the frequent stops but with the heat on the one hand and the surreal environment on the other, everyone had a great time. We closed in on Coshocton via 83 but then took a mean and nasty loop off that road before coming back out on 83 and back to the parking lot with 73 miles and 4700' of climbing.
Where Gaps Go To Die (Usually)
With the front that came through in the am, dryer air pushed into our area along with "cooler" temperatures and that made for a great environment for riding a bike. However, with GOBA taking some of our usual suspects, the turnout was kind of light with only 55 people at the start. There was also a shortage at the high end with no Redhead Bill, no Paul Stock, no friends of Redhead Bill, ...however, what the A group lacked in quantity it made up for it in quality.
Quite the conundrum for Flyin Tuna. She accidently let the air escape from her tire, tried her new floor pump to no avail, stole mine out of my car without asking and then decided to play the "helpless female" act and sure enough, this guy rescued her, by pumping fresh air into her tire.
Terry, who I will describe in greater detail below, is on the left, with John M in the middle and Billy C on the right. To say Terry was a group killer is a gross under statement of the damage he inflicted to our small A group.
Interesting new gathreing place for the A riders. One of them confided to me that after they saw the image of Flyin Tuna occupying their normal spot, they now gather back by the dumpster. Also note Catherine on the right, who is racing in Grandview on Sunday and so went with the B group tonight.
Tonight was the poorly promoted (my fault for not thinking of it sooner and having it put in the newsletter for Jeff) New Albany version of a summer solstice ride. Some of the cyclists were shocked by the distance of 51 miles but there was a 40 mile alternative that I suspect a very large portion of our group elected to take. The A's were summoned to start and out of the 55 who were present, only 9 left with the A group, soon joined by Rob Rhodes wearing a Walker kit. So, in addition to Rob, we had Terry, Billy Campbell, Jamie Group Brawler, John Morgan, Savage Hill Rick, Mick, Jeff S and another guy. Jamie and I had a pre-ride strategic discussion and were unsure how tonight's ride would play out. No huge climb that would force the group to moderate its behavior like the lead up to the climb on Revenge on Tuesday so who knows?
Hey, guess how we left New Albany? No, something entirely new, we went out old 161 and then Jersey Mill into Alexandria (yes, I'm being sarcastic). The warm-up, typically led by Jeff, is a nice pace to get us well...warmed up of course but tonight was different. Terry, rode around Jeff and hammered. I jumped on his wheel and was doing ok but when he finally drifted to the left, expecting me to take up the pull, all I could do is stare at him helplessly so he went forward and hammered again.. And, get this, he kept hammering with only brief respites in the pack, all the way out to 310. To be frank, I was very surprised our initial group was still together when we got to 310, where we took a left and then a right, descending Jersey Mill to Alexandria. I held on and noted our average entering Alex was 25.1. Uh oh, now for a nice change of route, we made a left onto Mounts and hit the ramp there and then the series of rollers, always going up and the pace was scintillating and that ain't no lie. Damn, with Terry and Billy C two-timing us, by the time we reached Hardscrabble, I was well done and Jamie looked at me with a look of exhaustion and commented, "Gosh, Chattam is going to be a b***h," No truer words were ever spoken.
The route turned onto Corner and there we lost Rick to a flat tire on the pot hole strewn surface. Now we were 9 and thankfully, the pace slowed a trace and I was able to recover a bit on Dry Creek before hitting the multiple ramped, debilitating uphill stretch on Chattam. I began to wonder if Terry is a reader of the blog and took it upon himself to grind me into dust due to his frequent attacks. It was crazy out Chattam but I was pleased to be slotted 4th at the top of the climb where we passed the crazy dude on the bike. Someone must have said something to him because he was shouting something...not that I could hear anything over my exhaustive chest heaves. We coasted down the hill after crossing Chestnut Hills road and eventually got to Marion Road. We made a left and then another left onto Dutch Lane. Realizing the worse was behind us with the balance of the route flattish, I began to assume the warm glow of realizing I was going to finish with the lead group.
Of course, Terry kept attacking and when he was not, Billy was. If anyone tried to take a pull, they were quickly sent packing by T or B. We crossed over 661 and I began to mentally create the glorious ride report for the blog. In fact, I was on the 2nd paragraph when I noticed a gap had emerged in front of Mick, who was in front of me. Now, normally a gap in front of Mick has 0 chance of survival and it is often said, in front of Mick, this is where gaps go to die....except....it lived and breathed...and heaven forbid, actually began to grow...wtf!!!!!! I was incredulous. John Morgan went around and I remained patient...then Jeff S went around and I began to panic...then the gap grew some more and so I jumped and with great effort, because Terry was still setting a devil's pace at the front, I caught on with Jamie behind me. A hill emerged and I desperately needed the pace to slacken, just a little except...Terrible Terry jumped AGAIN!!! Someone bring a pee cup out for this guy next week! I.....was.....toast. Terry set such a terrible pace that only Billy C could follow with a gap to John M and Jamie, then Jeff S then a fading me and then Mick. Alas, that was the end for me. Mick passed me and graciously slowed and implored me to jump on but I could not. At that point, even with all the climbing, the pace was well north of 22mph but now I was alone and the pace plummeted. Eventually, I reached New Albany where, just past Kitzmiller, I had a flat and my pump broke so I coasted in with a 20.9mph average, 49 miles and 1800' of climbing. I think Jamie said his average was 22. Terry's was probably 35.
Hey, that was fun if not for the pain and agony. Now, Saturday's Roving Ride is out of Roscoe Village. That's a long haul but I understand the route is glorious and you should ride it, since the 9:00am start allows for the drive from the Columbus area. However, there is an alternative set up by Mark C from his humble abode at 8:00am with a route through Tar Hollow, Hocking Hils, etc... Mark says the pace is modest but I know how that goes, and I know my legs feel like rubber after Terrible Terry's punishment so.......
Summer Solstice Fun
I arrived early for the Summer Solstice ride, maybe around 4:45. I did not want to miss the 5:30 roll out of the weak, infirmed, slow and others who wanted an alternative from the hammer pace at 6:00pm. It was hot, humid and very windy. Already there were Grand Poobah preparing for a warm-up ride, Dennis, Tuna's car but no Tuna, Group Brawler, Jeff S and a couple of others. I noted the tape on my handlebar was beginning to unravel so I entered Shades Restaurant to beg for a strip of tape. Entering the seating area, much to my surprise, there was Flyin Tuna, wolfing down a huge order of nachos. So that you have the proper image in your mind of this scene, imagine a ravenous bear, emerging from winter hibernation, finding a rabbit sitting in front of the bear's den with a bottle of steak sauce sitting beside it
It was not difficult to recruit a nice working group for the 5:30 start. Dennis, Cindy, Kevin H and Nathan were early volunteers and soon we had Poobah, Ted M, Kenda's Dave and Paul. Also caught Nathan wearing yet another wild pair of shoes.
I failed to convey the ride rules to the entire group, the most important rule being we start at 5:30 so we can ride at an easier pace and keep the group together. Poobah and Ted smoked us out Waterloo and we dropped the Kendaites and at some point Jeremy and Tall Dude had latched on and they too were gone. Even Flyin Tuna was under pressure so I began whining about the purpose of the 5:30 start but to no avail. Out Rock Mill we went and looking back, I saw Tuna, Nathan and two others had dropped back so to show solidarity to the true believers of the 5:30 start concept, I dropped back with them. We reached the intersection of Royalton and there came Kevin H via Royalton. Apparently he got stuck at the light in Canal and by heading out Amanda Northern, had cut about .20 miles from the route and was able to catch. We rolled into Amanda with a 19.7 average, not bad considering the wind and took a break to refuel. TO BE CLEAR, IT WAS ONLY THEN THAT I DISCOVERED THE KENDAITES HAD DROPPED BECAUSE HAD I KNOWN I MOST CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE FALLEN BACK TO SUPPORT. TRUST ME.
From there, we stayed on the traditional route, up Revenge, down Christmas Rock (where Jamie later crashed into a culvert) out Stoney Hill, Westfall and then in via Cedar Hill. Note prior to the start of Revenge, Kevin and I hung back with Tuna because we have seen movies about what happens to single women on red neck roads and later, as we neared the prison, we rode with Poobah because we have seen movies about what happens to lonely men outside prisons. We finished with a 19mph average and afterwards, the competitive side of me regretted having made efforts to slow the group and keep everyone together. Considering the group's potential, we could have ramped things up considerably but then, that would have violated the spirit of the 5:30 start. Soon, Jamie came coasting in with Steve O, Euro racer Patrick, Randy Brown and 2 others. Da Boss, with another marathon run this weekend was a no show and Mark C was somewhere on the drive from Florida. Pre ride, Jamie had guessed the pace would be moderate until Revenge and he was correct. I think their average was an even 21mph and we all had 2500' of climbing on the 53 mile route. We finished in 2:52, Jamie's group finished roughly 2:30 I think. I know the group as a whole and especially at the top end is riding much faster then 5-10 years ago when an under 3 hour summer solstice ride would have been stellar. Now, it's achievable even with one member of the group doing everything to put the brakes on.
Following the Tour of Granville.
There were about 25 cyclists for the start of the Granville stage of Tour of Ohio. They all looked like Da Boss but younger and bigger muscles. I expected the group would ride up Reynolds into Utica and planned to take an image there as they struggled to the summit but something happened that I am somewhat embarrased to admit....when the caravan following the peloton passed me, I steered my car into the back portion of it. We headed out New Burg but instead of hanging a right on Dry Creek that would take them over to Chattam and then Utica, they hung a left and headed out Louden. I was curious how they were going to approach Utica so I stayed in the confines of the following vehicles. Three sherrif cars created a rolling road block and each time I approached an intersection, I just kept going and no one seemed to mind this breach of protocal.
We reached Rt. #62 and headed east and eventually reached Utica where the group then headed up Reynolds. By now, a couple of cyclists had dropped off but the pace did not seem too high but then, sitting in a car following makes it difficult to judge. At the bottom of the Reynolds hill, the group stayed straight and I hung a left on Weaver, drove to 657 and got ahead of the group. After they passed, I jumped back in as they turned right onto Chattam where, at the top, they turned right and headed to 661 then a left on Louden. At this point, I proceeded on to Granville, parked at the top of Thornwood and chatted with others who were there.
After hanging a left at the top of Thornwood and then right on New Burg, the group entered the Dennison campus and had a summit top finish on Sunset Drive. Patrick Raines was the winner, also having won in Worthington the day before and today the group will ride in Hocking Hills. Hey, maybe we'll pass them going up Revenge today.
The forecast for the Summer Solstice Canal ride, a ride that takes us from Canal Winchester to the top of Revenge and back for a nasty 53 miles, will be HOT and HUMID! Therefore, additional starting times have been added:
5:30--The Sarge Start-- the weak, the infirmed and those wanting to secure a good seat at whereever the post ride snack will be, start at this time.
5:35--Women's Seniors Start--Flyin Tuna leads out women in the 50+ age division. I believe she will be alone but will also be the winner in this age division.
5:45--Men's Super Seniors Start--Grand Poobah leads out those whose age is closer to 70 than it is to 40.
5:46--Men's Senior Start-Dennis will lead out the 50+ age group which will quickly meld with the Super Seniors.
6:00--Suffer Start--The legit A cyclists and the too proud to admit otherwise imposters may now leave the parking lot.
6:05--Margarita Holt and the Kendaites, late for a variety of reasons both real and imagined, start late.
Pastor Mark's Excellent Adventure
Mark C took a break from dominating most of us to drive his wife and in-laws to Florida, in a van Mark suspected may have issues. Everything was going as well as could be expected until the engine began over heating whenever the air conditioner was turned on. No problem, just turn the air off except at the time, the happy campers were traveling through 98 degree down town Atlanta. The passengers began getting a little grumpy as they sweltered in the back with 110 degree heat index readings. The Buckeye van made it to Macon where they rested for the night. The following morning, things got worse and upon reaching Ocalla, the van broke down. But Wait! The van broke down 30 miles from Mark's cousin who....get this.....also owns a CAR DEALERSHIP!!!! Mark bought a new van, sold the old one to his cousin's son and proceeded on to the Orlando area where Mark is riding up and down the bike paths, trying to stay in shape. Mark will be back tomorrow.
It Don't Get Much Better Than This
Nice turnout for the much anticipated but dreaded Blue Jay ride. Large green radar blog just west of Columbus did not look good but appeared to be dissapating as it moved east and instead of rain we had the good fortune of an overcast sky which kept the temperature down. Here, Da Boss is in a jovial mood and celebrating the news that Euro-racer Patrick is moving out of Ohio, thus preserving Craig's dominant status within the Tuesday Canal peloton.
Beth Hale, now living in Pittsburg, made an appearance, a little late because of a speeding ticket.
Steve O and Stephano Lumbaca, probably the highest ranking member of the Kendaite clan since he really works for Kenda. Speaking of my good friends from Kenda, they had their typical assortment of challenges as Kenda Rick forgot his cycling shoes and Kenda's Paul & Janet lost electricity the night before, making them late for the start. Kenda Dave, was also there and true to form, took the Rt. 40 shortcut back from Zanesville. I am going to work very hard to see that once this season, they all ride the complete route together. Oh, Kenda Poobah was not there, probably deterred by the climbing.
The 45-50 who were at the start gathered to hear Flyin Tuna denigrate my large contribution to the effort, before we all headed toward downtown Newark. I commented to someone that everyone seemed to know where they were going and was thus startled to see a scrum had formed at 2nd street, turning right and entering the Newark square from the 6 o'clock position, forcing us to ride counterclockwise to the twelve o'clock position to exit the square. OK, I won't make excuses, I screwed up and turned onto a dead end road where the large group following me had to make a u-turn. Most people would have been embarrassed by this but since I so rarely make mistakes, I think it good to show people I am something less than perfect. Anyway, we got back on the route and no harm done, although I did withstand more than a few catcalls.
We got to the end of Blue Jay with 800' of climbing and headed south on Brownsville. I rode with the Greg Dubois group, consisting of Kevin S, Joe G, Rich R and Ted M, for a little while and will be eternally grateful that they soft pedaled up one major climb to grant me KOM points. Eventually, I slotted in with Nathan and we rode down to Zanesville with roughly 35 miles and 3000' of climbing. I say roughly because my Garmin continues to behave erratically and I lost the data for the inbound route. Using the Saturday rides for a more relaxed pace put me into the food stop behind a large group, shown here well into their refueling effort. Had I been riding normally, I would have arrived before, well...not him, or him, or him, or her or even him.....oh never mind.
The inevitable could not be put off any longer and so we mounted our bikes and after the briefest of warm-ups, headed up Kopchek and then we began to see the effects of Tuna's insidious effort at flattening the hills out of the traditional Blue Jay route. Instead of continuing on to Coopermill and a few monster climbs there, we made a right on Ridge, which is a beautiful route but takes elevation out of the route. Later, we turned right on Mt Perry road, removing the super rollers on 668. Probably for the August version of the ride, Tuna will put us on the bike path and Rt. 40 too but I will fight hard to return the route to its past glory. Anyway, we enjoyed a nice rest at Flint Ridge Park before heading south on Brownsville and then in, via a flatter Staddens Bridge/East Main route as demanded by a highly winey Cindy who was complaining of leg cramps and a racing heart. Geez, everyone uses that excuse now. I think the elevation for the route was 5400' and 67 miles.
Sizzler in New Albany
I arrived early so I would take care of the first priority, supporting any fellow Kendaites who showed. Paul was the only one to make it and so as instructed by Poobah on Tuesday, I dutifully rode over with the crotch cream and asked Paul if he wanted me to butter him....he paused for too long...then said no. I don't know if I can keep this up for long. It's kind of humiliating but the reward is great so who knows. The highlight of the pre-ride ritual was Nathan's new shoes. Dennis saw them and began bidding to buy but how could one part with these?
Huge turnout for a perfect evening for cycling. Reasonable temps, low humidity, no wind and no rain. Nirvanna. Nathan made the official count and came up with 68, including Kevin H, one of Tuesday's Canal mainstays who drove up to check out the scene. Curiously, not there was Group Molester and also no Paul Stock or Grand Poobah and a couple of young guns also did not make it but still a strong group.
In the minutes leading up to the start, we gathered in the shade and solved a big problem for Tuna. She has been complaining that she thought she was not as areo as she thought she should be. We looked at her incredulously as we all observed the large bib protruding from the front of her new helmet, a feature everyone removes for road riding. Someone remarked that whenever she looks up to see how much of a gap has opened in front of her, the drag would send her farther behind.
Colnago Ron, a great guy to have in your group.
Although looking away, Catherine on the left, riding strong and Marty on the right, riding really strong. Guy kills it on the flats.
We headed out on a modest 43 mile route with 25 heading out with the A group, which included John Morgan, Terry, Mick, Billy Campbell, resplendent in a cool black/red BMC racing kit, redhead Bill, Gus, Marty, Dave Chesrown, Greg Hall, Kevin H, Catherine, Jeff S, Walker Dude, another BMC rider, Colnago Ron, a couple of new guys and other fit and thin types (sand bagging Dennis stayed back with the B+ group, along with Nathan, Dan, Flyin Tuna and others). We again headed out old 161 and what has become the norm with our Thursday rides, began again, short lived attacks that are covered but create havoc in the back. Unusually, Jeff S dropped off the pace and I wonder if the Tuesday effort is having an effect on his Thursday rides, he ain't no spring chicken anymore. A few more dropped too before we arrived at my favorite of all roads, Jersey Mill. However, spurred on by the comment an anonymous poster made last week on the blog, I decided not to give in so easily and shocked myself when we arrived at the bottom of the hill, in last place yes but still with the group.
Into Alexandria with a 24.1 average, which was one mph slower than the same spot last week so that probably helped me hang too. We cruised out Raccoon Valley to Louden, making a left and hitting that short ramp. Louden is a long road with several ramps at the end in the lead-up to Northridge, where we ran the stop sign and kept going onto Dutch Lane, Some where in there, Kevin and Catherine dropped off and our group was down to around 12. The pace stayed high out to Nicols Lane where we headed south and at this point, I began to think I may make it all the way. When I began to fatigue, so too did everyone else and the pace always slowed in the nick of time. Greg Hall, who rarely rides with us and I understand is moving out of the area soon, had done well but he too dropped and by the time we reached Duncan Plains Road, we were down to around 10. Reaching Green Chapel, we turned left, then left again at Clover Valley and right on Jug.
The group had been fairly mellow but here, the attacks began and kept going until turning left on Beech and then the right on Waltons Parkway which is nothing more than an attack alley all the way to the light. We cruised into the parking lot with a 24.1 average and only 1010' of climbing. We arrived well before 8:00pm and a couple of guys went back out to add miles. As others came in, the averages were impressive, maybe none so much as Cindy with a big grin and a 21.6 average, a new personal best. Post ride, the talk was about the Blue Jay ride and what to expect, nothing more than pain but fun and spectacular scenery. As I painted the route, I realized, rather than having forest to the edge of the roads, there are some fantastic panoramic views. When you ride the route, peek up once in awhile and check it out.
News & Short Cut Options.
I marked the Blue Jay route on Wednesday and used two cans of paint. I used the last of it on Brownsville Road indicating the turn back onto Blue Jay for the return. You'll have to navigate through down town Newark using the map for the return to the parking lot. Weather forecast looks good, although kind of warm but with low humidity.
Short Cut/Easier Route Options: As you make a left onto Brownsville Road after completing the 5 mile stretch of Blue Jay with 800' of climbing to start the ride, many of you will be pooped. The route takes you south on Brownsville Road before turning right onto Brushy Fork. At that intersection, on the northeast corner, there is a small parking area with a bike path. Enter the bike path and hang a right to follow a flat path that borders the river, avoiding the hilly stretch on Brushy Fork and Texas Road (NOTE: the path crosses a concrete bridge that may be slippery from recent rain and mud deposits. Watch for it) The bike path dead ends at Blackhand Gorge parking lot. On the other side of the road that fronts the parking lot, you can regain the route next to the school.
You've rached Zanesville and you're cooked and looking for a way out. Follow the route to Ridge Road but instead of making a left on Morgan, go straight to Rt. 40. Turn left for a much flatter and more direct route to Brownsville where you can pick up the route.
On the return heading towards Blue Jay, the road markings direct you to make a left onto Blue Jay. Or....keep going straight on Brownsville and make a left onto Staddens Bridge Road which dead ends onto East Main Street. Take a left here and keep going on this flat road to down town Newark.
On Monday, the Tour of Ohio makes a stop in Granville with a 2:00pm start, heading to Utica and a return with an ETA of 4:00pm. Not sure if there will be loops around Granville in the hills before the finish, as has been the case in the past. Check it out if you have time.
Hot, Humid & Hilly Canal
Ugh, hot and humid for a very hilly Canal ride. Early on, I rounded up a B+ group of Nathan, Mark Rossi and others so I could avoid possible expiration out there. It was so hot as heat radiated up from the asphalt parking lot, even the strong men of the tour took to the shade.
Here, Jamie is licking his chops at who has shown so far as even he sought relief in the shade. Later, out on the Pickerington Road hills, he sat up and eased off the pace, a victim of the heat. Curiously, this is also the place where he sat up and then quit riding for a year. Hope the outcome is not the same.
Da Boss, in high spirits because he gets to put a hurtin on us again. He and Patrick gapped everyone out Pickerington Road and I would like to know who got the better of that battle.
Some miscreants parked in the wrong spots in front of the bank so Sarge rode over and ordered them away. Let this be a lesson to you Polish Pony and Margarita Rick!!!!!
Patrick. Easily wins the award for best bike with best car in the parking lot.
Savage Hill Rick with a late arrving Amanda to his rear. Maybe you can see the smoke wafting into the air from her tires screaming to a halt.
Grand Poobah's new bike.
A minute before we were ordered to move out, Grand Poobah shouted he had an announcement to make and I immediately cringed, guessing I was about to be the subject of some of my own medicine. Carrying a T-shit with "KENDA" logo on the front, Todd announced to the crowd I had been granted a three month probationary period, during which I must wear the T-shirt prior to every ride and perform domestique duties that included refilling water bottles, running errands and apply crotch cream to Kenda members in need. If, and that is a big if, after 3 months I don't have too many demerits, I will become a member and receive an official Kenda jersey (probably I have to pay for it but so what....right???) My reaction? "Is that all I have to do?" I would gladly do that and more to become a member of Ohio's most coveted team membership. Then Poobah ordered me to lead out the As, which I did not want to do but obediently complied, riding hard out of the lot, streaking through the stop light, hitting the corner and returning to the parking lot to hook up with the B+ group.
Except they were gone. So, I rode with the solid B group and after Waterloo and Slough, a group comprised of Jeremy, Steve, John, Margarita Rick and me mostly rode together from there. After 8-10 miles, we passed Kenda Dave going in the opposite direction and he yelled something at me, probably, "Turn around and pull me back to the parking lot." but since I did not hear exactly what he said I think I will not have any demerits against me. Not too much happened after that and we finished with around 40 miles and 2200' of climbing. What this ride report lacks in action I made up for it with images.
I Bought a New Bike!!!
I ordered one of these machines to make my cycling more efficient. On Saturday, I'll pick up groceries at that market in Zanesville and ride back with them so I don't waste gas by stopping at Krogers after the ride. Thanks to Polish Pony for giving me this idea.
Blue Jay Voting Results & More
The votes have been tallied and the overwhelming decision is to ride Blue Jay the traditional, clockwise direction. Having acquired the paint from Flyin T, I will ride the course on Thursday or Friday and create the appropriate road markings, along with messages of hope and inspiration. The shorter your name, the more likely it is you will find it on the road. 70 miles, about 6700' of climbing with an extra loop option to get close to 100 miles.
Also, Jeff S and I are collaborating on a New Albany Summer Solstice ride for the 24th. The route will take us over to the mountain on Canyon road, south of Granville and include a climb up Col du Alward.
Getting My Hopes Up
There have been several movements on the membership drive toward KENDA. I showed up in Canal for the Sunday 8:00am ride and discovered Paul & Janet and Grand Poobah there...what a great opportunity to make a good impression. A few minutes prior to the ride start, I suddenly yelled, "Mechanical" and began acting as if I was performing a repair to my bike. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Janet and Paul smiling and nodding their approval. Later, as we turned off Winchester onto the hills on Amanda Northern, I pulled alongside Janet and acted as if I was laboring while saying, "All that weight loss has turned you into a climbing machine". (I can be so suave when I need to be). I then drifted back as if I was being dropped. Later, Poobah and I got away on Amanda Northern and while watching him in my mirror, I noted he was about to blow a gasket so I slowed enough to keep him in my slipstream. Finally then there was this statement made to me by Poobah and I quote, "I'm going to have a big surprise for you on Tuesday". I think this is it, promotion from Prospect to Member. Tuesday can't get here fast enough!!!!!!!
As for the ride, I had to be back home by noon for the "Super Bowl" of a flag football league in which my son played so I cut the ride short (which should also put me in good stead with the Kendaites) and took the 40 mile option with Rick from Cyclist Connection, Ross, Tall Dude, Savage Hill Rick, and a few others. Good group. Regarding the football event, the coaches son broke his ankle early in the game and I was summoned to take over head coaching duties so the coach could take his son to the hospital. The players told me not to worry about it, they knew all the plays and my son told me to just stay out of the way. Using my years of experience watching NFL and college games, I kept shouting for someone to make the big play and they did often enough, rolling to a 33-24 win. Yeah, Super Bowl winning coach looks good on my resume.
Porta Potty Pain
Da Boss, fresh off his sub 3:30 marathon, was back at it again.
Mark C, wearing the most garish jersey ever. Even had his name printed on both sleeves. Jersey looked like it was made of burlap and uncomfortable but he wears it proundly because it was given to him after an epic ride to PA.
At 6:30am, after checking weather radar and noting yet another large blob of precipitation bearing down on Ohio, I decided not to drive all the way to Clear Creek Park for the Honeysuckle Roving Ride. However, a look outside revealed a gorgeous morning of blue skies and calm conditions. What the heck, I thought worst case I would end up doing hill repeats on Starner so I headed out. Reaching the parking lot, the turnout was light, as was to be expected, with Flyin Tuna, Mitch, Mark C, Tim F., Da Boss, Gary, Eve, Evie, Group Brawler, Randy Brown, Steve Hewitt (the host), Margarita Rick (arriving at 7:58 of course), Steve O, a couple of new female tri-athletes (one of whom wore the tightest fitting and shortest shorts outside of John the Dentist) and a few new people. Maybe 20 but no more than 25. No Kendaites, no SuperDave, no Dennis, no Grand Poobah......
Prior to the roll-out, Flyin Tuna had disappeared inside the Porta Potty and was in there for quite a while leg shaving probably as a line formed on the outside. Suddenly, there was a muffled scream. A wasp had begun building a nest in her shorts and when she pulled them up, the poor creature was trapped and did what any self respecting wasp would do, not once but twice. OUCH!
Gosh, the humidity hung in the air and I was perspiring just listening to Steve bark out various warnings. We headed out Starner and the two Amazonian women streaked by me as I settled in with Mitch, who seemed to want a relaxed pace like me. We began the climb and soon overtook and passed the tri-types, too bad. We caught up with Tuna and at the top we found Steve checking a map and so the four of us with Gary and another guy, headed on to what is a wonderful route of many hills but fantastic views, rough roads that added character and after churning along roads like Mt. Olive, Kreashbaum, Big Pine, Blackjack, Savings Hollow, Goat Run Honey Fork (?), Calico Ridge and Nickel Plate, we finally found ourselves in Logan at around mile 25. There, Mark C, Craig B, Jamie and Randy were preparing to leave. Interestingly, after Mark C checked radar, he claimed the rain, "was a couple of counties over and an hour to an hour and a half away". Craig, on the other hand, said the rain was one county over and coming fast....we believed Craig and made only a quick stop for refueling before heading back. Throughout the inbound route, the skies were sunny and bright. However, leaving Logan, the sky was overcast and darkening. Uh Oh.
The return route was fairly direct with Walnut Dowler, Horns Mill and Sugar Grove Roads bringing us into Sugar Grove. We had picked up a couple of strangers on the return and our group, although frequently strung out, was 8. At #33, the route had an additional loop out Pump Station Road and back Bunker Hill and Brush Fork but when we crossed #33, we looked to the northwest and there was a sheet of grey and rain appear imminent. We headed back on Old Logan/33 and Clear Creek Road for a modest 44 miles but with 3400' of climbing. After the ride, Da Boss went for a run and I headed for food and drink. Hey, we stayed dry (well, our clothing was soaked with perspiration) and you missed a good ride.
Dream of a Life Time
Finally, after showing steadfast loyalty, dedication to the mission, support of the unsupportable, defending the indefensible, righting the wrongs, engaging the dumb, helping the unhelpable, today I was granted the first step toward membership with the Columbus Kenda Chapter. I am working through a probationary period during which I am a "Prospect" and if things go well, I will be given full membership into the Kenda Chapter. It is premature to speculate but if I become a member, I will go out and buy a shiny pair of white shoes to go with my red/white racing kit. During my tenure as a Prospect, I must gladly wear the official Prospect T-shirt. You will see me wear this at every pre-ride until I am either granted full membership or, worst case, rejected for behavior unbecoming a Kenda member. Please support me as I work through the process.
Yo-yoing at the Back
That silly Flyin Tuna. Having read this is the spot where the hot shots gather before the ride, she hoped to ingratiate herself with that group. I told her she had to vacate the spot or they would not come over. She soon slinked off to the other end of the parking lot where she belonged. There is a pecking order in the parking lot and one must observe the rules. Kind of like India's caste system.
Whoa, I tried this stretching exercise and crumpled in a heap. This is the woman who moved in from Palo Alto, CA this year. Note the one-piece suit.
Around 55 hit the parking lot for the start of the ride, one that started flat and then hit the hills in Granville and thereafter. Not quite as strong a turnout in the upper echelon of the ranks as normal but still, Paul Stock, Terry, Dave Chesrown Redhead Bill, Bill Campbell, Marty, Terry, Jon the Dentist, Group Brawler, Dennis, Jeff S, etc... A chill went down my spine when I first looked at the map and noted we were going out old 161 with a tail wind before hitting my dreaded long down hill on Jersey Mill and into Alexandria. I knew what was coming but nevertheless, went out with the A group of 18-20, The pace picked up quickly and soon became insane with repeated attacks at the front which caused dramatic yo-yoing at the back. Halfway out 161, several gaps emerged, people began flying back and I could see Redhead Bill and Billy Campbell agitating at the front. Shockingly, a gap opened in front of Jeff S, Savage Hill Rick (not wearing SH jersey) and a new guy on a Bianchi. I paused, expecting Jeff to close the gap but he did not, probably graciously saving himself for later when he would no doubt have to tow me around. I sprinted around and closed the gap to Colnago Ron and eventually the other gaps in front closed and we arrived at the turn onto Jersey Mill with a 25mph average. Surprisingly, for the first 1/2 of the downhill stretch the pace was moderate and I hung on but soon the attacks began any my little compact crank could not spin fast enough. I rode into Alexandria alone and headed out Raccoon Valley Road toward Granville. Soon, Colnago Ron came by with Jeff S and we ham and egged it, reaching the turn on Thresher and that nice hill (later, the B group would hit that same turn and have an accident but apparently with no injuries).
The three of us got a little separated going up the climb but got back together on New Burg and rode west on Dry Creek. Having only three was not ideal and I wished that sand bagging Dennis had gone out with the A's, rather than punishing the B's. We needed him or others to make it a good working group. Ron was recovering from a cold so he was not at full strength and Jeff appeared to not be at full strength either. Paul Stock, somehow, had gotten behind us and came roaring by at the foot of Stone Quarry. I hopped on his wheel and hung on up the long initial ramp but lost the wheel during the ensuing shallower stretch and so I drifted back to my buddies except Ron was gone and it was just the enfeebled Jeff and I who tackled the Northridge hill, west on Sportsman Club, south on Castle, right on Dutch Lane, up the Miller hill and our average was dropping. Every time I took a turn at the front, Jeff would sit back for a minute or two and then go roaring by before slowing. I didn't know what to make of this curious behavior but chalked it up to fatigue or pride. Toward the end on Beech and Walton's Parkway, a huge group of B's caught us and I was startled at their speed. There was my boy Dennis, along with Gary, Dan, SuperDave, California Gal and others. Actually, I was glad to see this because the dramatically faster pace kept my average above 21mph, for 43 miles and about 1500' of climbing.
Jamie had hung with the A group until Thresher where he was 5th at the top but to far behind the lead group of 4 (Terry, Redhead Bill, Billy Campbell & one other) to catch on, finishing with a 21.6 average. Flyin Tuna had a good ride and finished with a 20.1 average but since she skipped the Thresher Hill, that probably would have been 17.4 with the hill. Looks like most of us are hitting the Honeysuckle Roving Ride out of Clear Creek on Saturday. HEY. Don't forget to vote in the Blue Jay poll below and try not to take a shot at the Kendas.
Kenda Storm Clouds Brewing
Pot shots at the Kendaites must stop. Grand Poobah has put the call out to other Kenda chapters to show for the Blue Jay ride. While the local Kenda chapter is made up of a bunch of good natured, late starting, short cut taking, softies, I understand the WV chapter, scheduled to appear, are not. Please everyone take a step back and let calm prevail and please take the poll below on the Blue Jay route. It is important to Flyin Tuna.
The ownership of ride organizer rotates each week among Peggster, shown here barely in control of the surging mass of cyclists wanting to sign up, Mitch and 2-3 others. Tonight's route was a classic. Note the guy on the left in the background. He lives in Cleveland but gets down to Columbus for our ride once a month and tomorrow is in Cincinnati for a group ride. Business takes him to each city and he knows when and where to go for a ride. He was very complimentary of the route and riders.
Check this out, another Van Dessel bike made an appearance by a new guy. Too bad Da Boss was not there to compare with his model.
5 minutes prior to the start, Donna shrieked an order for everyone to gather so they began to stream toward Peggster's car. I counted 45 people, a good turnout considering the green blob approaching on radar from the west. Kevin H loves to have his picture taken while Jamie usually shirks the tremendous opportunity.
Early on, the crowd was populated by the usual crowd of Steve O, Kevin H (Polish Pony), Mark C, Jamie, Grand Poobah finally coming back to us, Jeff S, Kenda Dave (here not wearing his official team kit so this may be a violation of his contract), Dennis, Paul Stock making a rare appearance, Patrick (Euro Racing Dude), Mark on the Prince bike and made famous by the "We can do it" attack of the week before, Ted Miensky, Ryan R, Mitch, etc.. Frankly, the ranks had been kind of thin at the top the last few weeks but suddenly, arriving late were three B1 guys, Walker guy, Buckeye Planet guy, Rick the Savage Hiller and other strong looking cyclists. Uh Oh, well, I was committed to riding with the A group but began looking at the map for the short cut options.
We took the long grade on Waterloo, left on Slough and right on Sitterley. I took a turn at the front when suddenly, Walker Dude streaks by me...what the....grabbed his wheel and held on to Lithopolis Road, where I drifted back a few spots for better drafting. Walker kept the pace high to the top of the climb and I began the inevitable march toward the front for my turn again, this time behind Grand Poobah. It came to Poobah's turn and he suddenly began sprinting. I am almost certain had someone else performed that manuever, he would have received strong admonishment from Poobah. I let him go, others did not and I grabbed someone's wheel and soon we all regrouped. It was going to be that kind of night with a couple other guys attacking, covering, again and again. We had turned right on Marcy and left on Cedar Hill. The pace slackened up the first long hill and then crossed Royalton and faced the steep hills where Patrick put in an attack and things broke up dramatically. Patrick and Paul got a gap over the top and I was in good shape with Mark C, Steve, Jamie and Ryan, Some more regrouping before the final climb up to Ridge Road where at the top, there was Patrick, Paul, Mark C, Steve Ryan, Jamie and me, just the ordinary people. We headed out Ridge toward Amanda Northern and one of the B1 guys caught on with us. Soon we approached Rt. 22 at Amanda where the group paused for a car but I sprinted, bunny hopped the vehicle and raced toward the city sign, just beating Steve O.
Now the route was going to become much hillier and at this point our average was over 22mph at mile 19. Out Amanda, making a left on 22 and a right on Hamburg, where we mixed in with some of the other A's who had taken the Westfall Road short cut. Soon we approached dreaded Delmont. Clearly, a couple of the guys pushing the pace at the front had no clue of what awaited them around the corner after a long stretch on Delmont. I was guzzling water, tightening shoes, removing glasses and combing my hair to prepare. We rounded the corner and ugh, there it was. After the ride, Jamie revealed his strategy, which matched mine; start slow and preserve some power for the end. A few people slipped around me and I panicked a bit but began picking up the pace on the second ramp and caught Steve at the top, which produced the usual digging observation, "Wow, this is a shocking development". (thanks buddy). Patrick, Paul and Mark C had a gap but we got a group of nearly exhausted Steve, Ryan, Jamie and me. As if that Delmont climb was not enough, after a modest downhill, another long climb brings one out to the top at Stoney Hill. The four of us were strung out a little but Ryan and I made the mistake of not pushing on the down hill to 22, Jamie and Steve got through while we had to stop. That was that. We continued across up the other hill and turned left on Crumley and another freakin hill. By now, some regrouping was taking place and eventually, we got a good group of Ryan, Dennis, two B1 guys, the visitor from Cleveland, Mitch, Kevin H and 1-2 others.
The route continued onto Mt Zion, Lamb, Coonpath and also, it had begun raining. Oddly, I have no idea when it started I just recall getting soaked, if not from what came from above then definately from the cocktail of water and grime from below. Reaching Pickerington Road, we got more climbs, where Ryan and I battled for KOM points before reaching Waterloo Eastern and finally, after 44 tough miles, the parking lot. Our average was an even 21 with 2200' of climbing. The front group consisted only of Patrick, Steve, Mark C and Jamie (Paul Stock dropped his glasses and dropped out) with an average of 21.6. Talked to Patrick afterwards, he raced on the Virginnia Tech team and joined a Cat 1 team in Greenville, SC. He crashed in 2001 and thus ended his racing days. Still does not appear to be seriously challenged by our pace but he says he is.
Da Boss' Feet Was Flyin.
Craig checked in with the results of the marathon from Saturday:
I ran the Potter County marathon this past Saturday. Felt good and pushed a
strong pace hoping it would last. My goal was a 3:30. I ran a 3:23.
Bittersweet that I missed Boston by 2 minutes and 6 sec. but I thrilled with
this time given the hills on the course - 1400 elevation gain and 2500 feet of
overall vert change. I was 7th out of 180 entrants, first in the 40-49
category. Still in recovery. Likely won't ride w the group tonite. Need a little slower pace.
HEY! Vote for the Blue Jay route direction. This is important to Tuna.