Lots of discussion last night about the Ohio Gran Fondo and the recent changes, including canceling the official timing with mass start, closed intersections, etc.. This morning, the below was released, officially announcing the event is being cancelled. Too bad but I hear there may be another in the early planning stages for next year.
Based on the impending weather which has a forecast for thunderstorms all
day for Sunday and the large number of individuals who have indicated they
will not participate, the ride will be canceled and all fees paid will be
Kenda Dave signs in while not wearing a Kenda jersey. I thought perhaps the withering abuse and embarrassment had finally taken its toll and he had given up but no, he was simply having it washed. Dave says most days after a ride he takes off his jersey and just stands it in a corner for the next use but decided to have it washed for once.
Franz asked that I take a pic of Miya (I know, not the correct spelling of her name so someone correct me) wearing a jersey inspired by something out of the 60's. Maybe a retro jersey.
The group that normally hangs out in the limited shade area were joined by a couple of the superstars, Marty and Danny, thus transforming the group's image, slightly.
Massive and I mean massive turnout for tonight's ride. Small group of A's, only 19 but Nathan said he counted 53 in the B group who were in front of him at the time, with more behind. They were lined up three abreast and swarms behind that sometimes crossed the yellow line. Probably I should have sent out a couple of B groups but Nathan said when that is done, everyone just goes out with the first B group anyway.
Meanwhile, up ahead in the smallish A group there was the usual rotating at the front that systematically and orderly shelled the group. It was one of the more intense efforts I have witnessed and within the first 5 miles, six guys disappeared including Retro George, Mick, Tri-Tech guy, Accel, Doug Mc (whose vacationing in far-flung places has impacted his fitness), a young skinny guy who I've not previously seen try to hang with the A's and maybe one other person. I point out the names only for the purpose of demonstrating how intense must the pace have been to have so soon lost some good cyclists.
Around mile 6, the group began to echelon. Maybe they do this on a regular basis and I am oblivious to it as I understand my limitations and wisely draft in the very back but I found myself too close to the front and had no choice but to pull through. Later, funny man Jon Morgan told me, "I've never seen you ride so fast. You were doing 28mph out 161." The problem with that is I was doing 28mph (briefly) while also doing it into the wind (briefly too). I politely asked the guy to my right if he could ease up just a little so I could actually pull to the side and in front of him, which he did. Then, Billy C rocketed by on my left and did not slide in front of me but kept going with a full head of steam........
.....desperate, I spotted a gap coming up from behind and leapt in, pedaled furiously, lost energy furiously, gave a final gasp and dropped out at freakin mile 7. Ahead, Marty, Dave, Billy, Chris G, Tim Tyler, Jon M, Danny, total of 12, stormed away and arrived in Granville with a 25.1 avg and finished the 42 miles with a 23.1 avg. George and Tri-Tech dude hooked up with me outside Granville and we rode together until they stayed on the A route and I made a left at 661 and then left again at New Burg, where I eventually got in with Flyin Tuna's group. The intensity of this group was a tad bit easier and I enjoyed the ride back to New Albany, finishing with 34 miles.
Shannon has to be out of town so I'll be there to sign you in. Distances are 41, 31 and 18 miles. COP has given me a supply of Black Cards and I plan to hand them out liberally to those who are richly deserving. What is a Black Card you ask? It is a lifetime ban from any and all COP events and holders of said cards will be subject to ridicule and humiliation by legions of people. OK, just in case someone believes this, there are no black cards but don't act like a dipshit during tonight's ride, no running of stop signs, that sort of thing.
A reminder of what some of us are doing this Saturday. Mark C, Kevin H and others are arriving at 7:30 and departing on bikes at 8:00am. If you'd like to ride with us, all are of course welcome. The ride departs from the OU Lancaster campus off #37, just north of Lancaster.
Dan owns a bicycling shop in Lancaster, OH and was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. The benefit will be to help with his family's medical expenses. There will be three routes. 20, 40 and 60 miles. Registration and check in will be between 7:00 and 9:00 AM. Entry fee will be $1 per mile you ride. Dollar for Dan Ride. A trust account has been set up so you can also donate by sending a check to Sitterley & Vandervoort Attn. Jennifer Sitterley Baum at 123 S. Board St. Suite 211, Lancaster Ohio 43130. Make checks payable to Sitterley & Vandervoort and mark in the memo line Dan Peters. For more information contact: Ron Burris @ firstname.lastname@example.org
The parking lot is usually a calm scene as people ready themselves and their bikes, while taking a few minutes to line up and sign in. This protocol was disrupted as a bunch of us were patiently waiting our turns to sign in. Suddenly, the diva of the parking lot, Kayla Starr, walked to the front of the line, ignoring the little people patiently waiting, signed in, preens a bit and then turns around and strides away. Then, one other guy, who I won't embarrass by naming, elbows his way through the crowd and does the same! Here, off to the side, some of the little people watch, dumbfounded and incredulous as the scene unfolds.
Ross signs in while others patiently wait. It has been suggested that we have more than one clipboard with sign-in sheets but the Canal ride is a very low budget affair and we can not afford anything so extravagant as multiple clipboards. Maybe at the Thursday ride, sure, COP lavishes them with cash but Canal, we feel fortunate to have one clipboard.
The shade dwellers wait for the start.
Kind of a large A group headed out followed by the Rossi tandem and fellow B's. As usual, I just wanted to hang in the vicinity of the tandem, who were headed on the long route of 42 miles. Midway into the route, I became disappointed with the pace the Rossi's were setting and not wishing to do anything about it that would expend valuable energy, I just suggested we shorten the route, which we did by staying on Carroll-Eastern and dropping a little southward jog.
Suddenly, the A group came through an intersection and joined our stretch of pavement. They did not appear to be moving very fast and we overtook them. By this point, they would have been around 35 miles into the route and Retro George was still with them so that said a lot about the pace. George began peppering Mark C with the usual, "How is it you are still with us, etc...." comments. He's an equal opportunity insulter. Our group finished with 38 miles and a 20.0 avg. The A group, not sure but probably 20.1, based on who was in that group and 42 miles.
The Line Jumper won the village sign sprint and as is the norm, Steve O presented him with the prize. Those New Albany Carpetbaggers....they come down from the north, drink our beer, steal our women and if that's not enough, take our prizes. OK, seriously now, Steve Oxley spent a lot of time asking for freebies from his various financial service contacts and having run through those got Cyclist Connection to pitch in with prizes too. Sure, it would be nice if he sprinkled the B cyclists with a gift now and then but at least someone is benefiting from the largesse.
Although the daylight is diminishing, we're going to keep riding at least 40 miles even if it means bringing out stadium lights to light the entire route. Flat first half and well, kind of flat second half but with a few good rollers in there. 42/33/25 distances.
Well, someone said they would not come unless Poobah wore a thong. Not having that piece of clothing, Poobah instead wore what I think is a tube top with shorts. This was the first of what will be many Nathan going away parties as the beloved one is set to move to San Francisco on September 12th. Upon his departure, there will be a period of 3 months set aside for mourning and we must all wear black lycra shorts in honor of him. True, we wear those things anyway but this time it will be with meaning and symbolism. TriAndrew was kind enough to host this party at which cyclists came out in droves to honor Nathan.
So, there I was, waiting for the Sugar Grove ride to start when the Kendaites Paul, Janet and Dave invited me to shove off with them, a couple of minutes early. Receiving this invite is roughly equivalent to an invitation to become a member at Augusta National. On the other hand, the Kendaites have a bit of a reputation for, yes shortcutting but also getting lost. I quizzed them about the route and they rattled off the first few turns and said the first was at mile 7. I believe in giving people a 12th chance so I forgot the reputation and past experiences and headed out.
Shortly after reaching the top of the first climb, we arrived at a possible turn at mile 3 and THEY TOOK THE TURN?!?!? I asked to no one in particular, that I thought the first turn was at mile 7 but no answer was forthcoming and like a typical lemming, mindlessly followed, coasting over a cliff. We reached a deep, dark hollow and each of the Kendaites had a puzzled expression on their face. I tried to be understanding but geesh, lost at mile 3? Fortunately, a tandem arrived and led us out. While the group was above riding a ridge, we exited the hollow via a long and steep climb but rejoined the main pack.
Emerging from the depths of a hollow, I found myself in the midst of a good group of usual suspects and drafted them in to New Straitsville at mile 26. Marty Sedluk, Steve O and Dustin had come and gone by the time we got there. Marty, in addition to today's 96 miles rode a grueling 115 mile route out of Utica on Sunday.
There is a good argument for doing a touch and go at stops like these but on the other hand, it's also fun to mingle with the locals and enjoy the camaraderie with Mark C, here buying his energy drink and food or....
.....stand on the sidewalk and as Flyin Tuna walks toward the fire station to use the facilities, yell, "Don't let her in, she leaves the toilet seat up." Or, as two guys later walk over, yell, "Don't let them both in at the same time!" Childish, yes, immature, yes and I was disgusted by the behavior of my fellow cyclists and record it here only because I have an obligation to report the news. Above, Tuna strides back from the rest room while the great Pathfinder trys to figure out how he is going to get out of town. Maybe Kenda Paul should instead be known as Kenda Tonto or "The Great Pathfinder" or "Lewis & Clark".
The locals, who seem to be the same people occupying the chairs in front of the market every year, looked at my map and observed the long route took us along the "rim of the world" and so....
....it did with this image not hardly the best and not the only great view on the way to Portersville via 78 and 555.
Portersville is a hopping place once a year, when those few of us willing to ride the 96 mile route descend mostly in one fell swoop. Even Poobah made the long route and with him was Kevin H, Mark C, Flyin Tuna, Nathan, Dean, Jason, Andrew C, Jimmy, Mark V, John, TriAndrew, Chuck, Jeremy and a few others. There was even a tandem doing the long route and Kevin said Poobah was cheating on the Rossi's, drafting extensively. One guy, whose name I forgot to ask, even admitted in private after glancing around to make sure no one was listening, that he has begun reading the blog. The last time that happened was last year prior to a Thursday New Albany ride and I've never seen that guy since.
Exiting Portersville, we eventually went through Moxahala before getting on Marietta Road for a long slog to the west with lots of climbing and lots of sun exposure. Poobah had basically collapsed half way up the first climb on Marietta out of Moxahala and because I had twisted his arm to stay on the long route, felt responsible so I soft pedaled and even stopped once but I never saw him and guessed he was napping out there somewhere. At Bremen, we huddled in the shade and contemplated where else we wish we were. That we maintain our sense of humor by mile 83 is a testament to how easily we can be humored. From there, it was more hills, Lutheran Church, Bauman Hill and then I tapped out, taking a left at Crawfis and down Savage in to Sugar Grove and the parking lot. I already had the "Kenda Dividend" and did not need more miles, finishing with 95 and 5800' of climbing.
Chuck Harris service Sat. at 3:00 and ride to it:
A memorial service to celebrate Harris’ life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Apple Ridge Shelter House at Sharon Woods Metro Park in Westerville. If you have a mirror on your glasses or helmet you owe it to this man who was the first one to market glass and helmet mirrors. He was a fixture on TOSRV, GOBA, KCBC and other rides. COP is organizing a ride leaving at 2:20 from Westerville North High School for a slow 5 mile ride to Sharon Woods. Cycle gear and road bikes are optional. Helmets and sign in are required. Spread the word.
Upon arriving at the parking lot, we discovered our normal spots had been taken by people attending a nearby football game so it pushed us into the front lot. I set out the Shannon display with sign-up sheets and waited for people to arrive, throw money at my feet and sign in. Sadly, all I found was an empty Gatorade bottle but at least no one deposited a banana peel on my car, which I washed for the first time in years in anticipation of hosting this evening event. Here, Garth explains to Poobah how he and others got off the Leadville 100 course, the impact it had on what was his personal best time and finish in the standings. Meanwhile, Kyle W trims his toe nails.
Geesh, while the overall turnout was kind of light at around 40-45, it was a quality "A" group of 21 that included Dave Chesrown, Pete C, Billy Campbell, Craig Rice, Garth Prosser, Tym Tyler, Kyle Wingler, Danny Alarcon, Jon Morgan, Steve Oxley, Paul Stock, Ron Budzik, Mick, Claude, Lisa Tyler, Retro George, young guy in OSU kit and a few other quality guys. The route, 47 miles punctuated with the Alward, Hardscrabble and Northridge climbs was a good one, too good.
Karen Rossi, the star of the Rossi tandem, showed up but declined to roll out with the A group, instead no doubt punishing David S, Mark V, Flyin Tuna, John, Dan and others. Steve O made the drive up from the Canal area but was riding his hybrid with tennis shoes out of concern with the chip-n seal roads. We discussed is chances of hanging with the A group and decided that since the A and B routes did not split until mile 17, he'd find a group with whom to ride if the hybrid wasn't up to the challenge. Tonight it was not but he is nevertheless widely admired for trying.
Here, Lisa T making a point about something while the others eagerly awaited the stand-in ride leader to make weighty comments about the road conditions, following the rules of the road, not spitting on each other, no sketchy ride behavior, you know the usual stuff to which no one listens. We then rolled out, old #161 where the intensity ramped immediately, turned right on Mink where Dave C pulled alongside and advised me a couple of guys had dropped already. No surprise there given what was the current pace. A left on Condit soon brought us to the long stretch on Headly Mill before the dreaded Alward climb. As is my wont, I was at the back of the pack, knowing this is the last place one should be approaching the left turn on to Alward. Lisa T, much smarter than me, took a flyer off the front to get a head start on the climb.
We hit the first ramp and I clung to the front group, hit the 2nd ramp, the 3rd ramp and how many other freakin ramps are on that climb and emerged at the top still with what was now a group of 12. I was too tired to enjoy the accomplishment and the group wasn't about to pause to allow me a moment to enjoy, as we sped out Hollow and reached the stop sign at #310. Here, Kyle alerted me to some sketchy riding, including running stop signs and upon hearing this, Garth hopped off the road down an embankment into someone's yard, crossed the grass and hopped back onto the road. I made a mental note to present him with a COP "Black Card" at some point in the future.
A quick turn back on to Hollow and the pace picked back up where we were at 23.9mpg average but rising. Turns took us on to York, Weslyn Church and then Outville where we bombed the descent to Moots Road, turning left and then in to Granville where our average was 24.1. No pause here as a turn on to Raccoon Valley followed and we made our way to Hardscrabble. Upon turning, I discovered the surface had just been chip-n-sealed with lots of loose gravel on the opening ramp. I lost contact with the group but suspected that was going to happen anyway at some point on this long uphill road, with or without loose gravel, so chugged along with Claude out to Northridge, where he had to stop to adjust his saddle bag. So, 22 miles with the lead group and a 23.9 avg, that was sure to plummet and it did, but limped in with 42 miles and a 21mph average with 1400' of climbing. The lead group finished with a 23.5 avg.
Shannon has produced another fine route, shown above. Unfortunately, Shannon will not be at the ride and asked that I fill in, which I was elated to do because that takes out one of the guys who spends the entire ride at the front 1/3, rotating in and out of pulls. Now, for this Thursday, since I am temporarily in charge, there will be new rules:
1. No smoking except in designated areas, all of which are winin 2 feet of Poobah's Element.
2. No swearing or cursing at me before or during the ride but if at others or at oneself, that is OK.
3. No injecting oneself with PEDs prior to the ride, at least where I can see you do it.
4. No changing from street clothes to cycling clothing in one's car.
5. Throwing cash at the feet of a ride leader is permitted just this one Thursday.
6. Buying a round or two of drinks to celebrate ride leaders is permitted after the ride at any restaurant which serves alcoholic beverages. This offer expires prior to next Thursday when Shannon probably will be back although I encouraged him to take the rest of the season off, at least from the front 1/3 of the pack.
The young guns showed up, Logan, Kayla and Adam, but no Nick V.
Jon Morgan and Craig Rice, aka Muscle Dude, ventured down from the north to check out the action in Canal. They keep trickling down, Billy C two weeks ago, Craig last week and now Craig and Jon together and maybe before the end of the season, we can get Marty, Dave C & others to come down one more time. Life around the Canal ride is kind of dull without those guys injecting zest and competition.
Good turnout, about 45 in total for either a 43 mile long route, 37 mile middle route or 30 mile short route. Kind of hilly start with the Slough climb, the climb out of the valley on Amanda Northern, etc... adding up to 1800' of climbing. My ride was easier paced and uneventful so no sense boring myself when I come back to read this report in 20 years and no sense boring you either, with a report. Although it's always fun to spend quality time drafting behind Mark R and he tells me Karen is coming out for the Thursday ride to kick some A group ass. Not sure what has happened to this normally primly demure tandem stoker. I am oblivious to what happened with the A group, which was kind of small again but do know that Jon, Craig, Dustin, Steve and Logan made it back in together with a 21.8 avg. The Steve O/Cyclist Connection sign sprint prize of a water bottle was won by Logan.
Good turnout of 40-45 for the Logan to Lake Hope Roving Ride, put on by Tim F. Good weather too with great maps and probably the most immaculate roads I can recall riding. Seemed like all had been repaved in the last month. Here, Marty S on the left, observing the parking lot prior to the ride start.
Andrew, ride leader (front, 3rd from left) for next Saturday's brutal Sugar Grove Roving Ride, announced in honor of Nathan's (2nd from left) September departure, he would host a post-ride going away party next Saturday. Sounded like clothing was optional.
What a great route with seven named climbs, Starr Route, 374/Conkles Hollow, Chapel Ridge, Airport Road, Mine Hollow, Lime Bank and Union Furnace/Moore Road. Of course, those were not the only climbs, just the ones on which suffering was rampant. Seems like the climb out of Zaleski should have made the list too. After Thursday's effort, I spent most of the ride dropping back in the ranks trying to find someone with whom the pace would be agreeable. I had to go a long way.
I rode with Marty long enough for him to point out a group of turkeys to the side, then dropped back to a group headed by Nathan, but not for long, then back to Mitch and Flyin Tuna but still too intense, back to other groups, some riding motorized wheel chairs and scooters and finally latched on to Poobah and soon Amanda, Mike M, Franz and others. Poobah had ridden 4 straight days or something like that so he wasn't in much better shape then me.
We rolled into this food stop and while each of us carefully passed out a single milk crate on which to sit, Poobah took two, claiming he deserved a throne. He is so suave and smooth, he even managed to convince Amanda to pose on his lap. Around mile 70 of this 74 mile route, my legs stopped feeling so bad and as we reached the parking lot, I decided to keep going and found a legit 8th climb on Vooris Road before running into a mail carrier, discovering I was not where I thought I was and turned around, finishing with 85 miles and 5500' of climbing.
I have bad news for some, good news for all. Nathan, one of the most beloved cyclists of the peloton is moving. His many friends will be disappointed with the news but out of this change in life is the dawn of "Cycling Blog West". Yes, not only will you be able to read my irreverent posts but there will be access to Nathan's cycling blog and its irrelevant posts. As you may know, Nathan used to cover for me on occasion when I missed a ride but after I discovered his reports were superior to my own, I had to do the logical thing and stop asking him to cover for me.
Nathan has accepted a position at Kaiser Permanente, a health care provider, as the Director of Cloud Services & Utilities. In this capacity, Nathan will be working in the area of San Francisco/Oakland but more importantly, establishing himself within that area's vibrant cycling community and reporting in a similar fashion to what you read here, just better quality. I can only imagine how this experience, riding in the mountains around the Bay, will transform him into a real cyclist who will return and crush us. Nathan will remain in Ohio until late September but he promises that his new mansion with multiple guest rooms overlooking the Pacific, is available year round to those who knew him best.
Best known, if not for his cycling strength and endurance, was his strange collection of jerseys, such as the "Cat in the Hat", that very weird neon yellow with multi-colored stripes and who can forget the "Fruit Loops" jersey.
Can't blame you if you declined to show, given how ominous was weather radar. Paul Stock, after receiving a good soaking last week, was particularly interested in all of our forecasts, which ranged from rain being imminent to not arriving until after 9:00pm. Paul listened to the latter, rather than the former and good thing too as the rain held off. Here, Poobah, the dean of cycling somewhere if not anywhere, shows off his "John Travolta Saturday Night Live" imitation of 40 years ago. Later, he claimed he was impersonating Usan Bolt but we all knew better.
Tattoo Dude, or Wes, who owns a tattoo shop and other businesses. Strong rider but someone noted there was a spot behind his kneecap that was open for a tat.
A good "B" group showed up, led by Nathan, Poobah, David Smith, Mark R, Cindy, Ron, 3 OSU jerseyed guys, Peggy, Katherine, Farmer Mike & others. Here, Mark R appears unhappy that Killer Karen did not come along so he could take it easy on the tandem.
Ron, in the foreground while Flyin Tuna and her peeps in the background.
It's a vibrant scene in New Albany and by far my favorite parking lot scene. What happens out on the road usually makes it my least favorite ride, Dave C glances at his computer while others prepare to get going.
Shannon, who may be suffering from first year ride leader fatigue, as he is sending out routes via email later than normal and arriving at the parking lot later than normal. Been there done that but hang in there. You're doing a fantastic job and there's only a few weeks to go. So, about 19 roll out with the A group, Dave C, Muscle Dude, Billy C, Paul Stock, Steve O, Shannon, Gus Cook, Chris G, Pete C, Kyle Wingler (just back from a trip to Alaska),, Mick, Claude, Retro George, Colnago Ron, Wes & a few others. The first several miles were punctuated by missed turns and signed intersections so even though the wind was mostly favorable or a cross wind, it was hard to get the "Big Mo" going, which of course was fine by me! In fact, at one point we turned on to a road that was gravel but no worries, turned around, headed east and got onto Clover Valley. The fits and starts impacted our average but still, by the time we rolled into Hartford at roughly mile 17, our average was 24.5. Pretty much everyone was still in the hunt, including George who was incredulous that I was still there.
We shot out Benington Chapel, hung a right on Clouse Willison and then a left on Appleton. There were some rollers in there that eventually took George out of the action and exposed some weakness by a couple of others yet the group rolled on and most of the original 19 were still there. Of course, I knew the "DECIDER" was yet to come, the dreaded Stone Quarry. We drove on, as Appleton Road turned into Louden and finally, reached the Quarry Road. I had already decided that, now at mile 28 it had been a good evening and the Grim Reaper was hovering over me to cut me out of the group. We turned and hit the first hill and I'll be damned, I hung in with the lead group but there was Billy and Muscle Dude battling for KOM points which Billy won. Several guys were shelled on this climb, but I clung to Muscle Dude's wheel, preparing for the next climb and....I'll be damned, hung on through that and the ensuing climbs and reached Northridge with the blind squirrel still there (you know, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile).
I was stunned to still be in elite company but probably the perfect storm had gathered to enable it, head winds on the return to keep the front guys in check, Patrick, Marty and Jon were not there to add power to the front rotation, frequent stops on the outbound leg of the route, you know, I'm not as dumb as I look. However, I began to think the implausible; I may just hang on to the end! Into Johnstown via Concord, down Caswell, up Caswell, eventually on to Jug but through the "S" curve, we passed a B group while I dropped my chain. I happened to be in the middle of the pack, got the chain back on and caught the tail end so that was lucky too. I was there to the sprint at the end, finishing with a 23.7 average, 47 miles and 1175'' of climbing. The front B group, apparently led by Poobah, finished with a 22mph avg.
Good route for COP's roving ride out of Logan, with lots of hills over to and back from Lake Hope. Also, have some bad news for some, good news for most to report, coming soon about one of our most beloved cyclists leaving Ohio.
An early arrival at the Tuesday Canal ride, Kayla Starr, sporting fashionable Brighton sunglasses. My knowledge of fashion has expanded exponentially this year, now adding Brighton to the DG brand I learned of earlier.
Decent turnout of around 35 for tonight's interesting route that included the climb on Becks Knob. Actually, the turnout for the A group remains kind of putrid and ever since the sacking they endured at the hands of the New Albanyers, it's been kind of a dispirited bunch. Kind of like farmers left in the wake of Sherman's March to the Sea scorched earth policy towards the end of the Civil War. Most weeks, a single rider is sent down from New Albany, Billy C last week, Muscle Dude this week, to just check in and see if it's worth bringing the entire gang back but alas, the farmers have not put in a new crop and no reason for Sherman's bunch to come back enmass. Maybe next year. Tonight, it was Steve O, Scott Boss, Paul Stock, Craig Rice, Mark C, Kayla and a few others who shoved off with the A's, about 9-10 cyclists.
Meantime, the B group is huge and comprised of a bunch of guys (and gal) that is boisterous and fun-loving. As I'm riding both weekend days, I enjoy slotting in with this group and fighting Poobah for a position behind the Rossi tandem just kind of recovering. Except, Karen was not feeling up to pushing Mark around so only Mark showed up on his regular road bike. With him was Mike Murphy, Kevin H, dude above in yellow jersey, Corvair, Nathan, Dean, Kevin Kramer, Ryan Roe, David Smith, later Jeff S joined us and others totaling over 20 riders.
Poobah took the spot reserved for the ride leader, which happens to be the only shaded spot in the parking lot. Upon his return from a warm-up ride, he found a banana peel on his door as a reward for his crass behavior. Next time, we plan on smearing Chamois butter on his door handles and windshield wipers.
Kind of a rolling route that took us over to the aforementioned climb, kind of a steep opening ramp, levels off some but still climbing to the summit. Expansive views westward at the top but most people are too pooped to notice. Probably I should not have put us on Lithopolis Road for so long but it was a different way in and I enjoyed the change. Late into the ride we still had around 15 people and had eased up at times to keep a larger group together. Finished with 37 miles and a 20mph average.
Kevin Henschel, a Cat 2 type, showed up at the New Albany Thursday group ride a couple of weeks ago as a suitable warm-up for what remained on his race schedule. The Marty's, Jon's, Craig's, Dave's and Shannons of the group worked him over pretty good and prevented him from breaking away (OK, unfamiliarity with the route may have been a minor influence).
This weekend, Kevin lined up at the "Smith Dairy Milk Race", a Cat Pro/1/2 event. Drawing upon the experience of mixing it up with the Thursday New Albany gang, here is Kevin in the final break so cool and comfortable that he thought to wave at the photographer before.....
....leaping away on a solo break to finish first by over 2 minutes on his nearest pursuer. Here, Kevin basking in the glow of beating the Pro/1/2 field, if not able to do the same to the New Albanyers. Note Kevin also came in 5th in the State Road Race Championship and 1st among Cat 2 in the Pro/1/2 one week previously. Look forward to seeing him out with the Thursday group again for more remedial work.
UPDATE: Ryan Roe, called me to let me know Crumley is closed between Becks Knob and St. Rt. 22. Therefore, the route will be amended (B route is OK) so that rather than turn left on Westfall, the A group will stay on Rock Mill, onto Sand Hill, left at Amanda Clearport, left at 159, a quick right onto Hamburg, left on Delmont, right on Crumley and then left on Becks Knob, where the original route is reacquired. Please make a note of it!
Yet another great cycling adventure for those brave enough to show. This time, we travel to the steeps of the infamous Becks Knob. A shout out to Grand Poobah who reminded me it had been awhile since we had visited this climb.
Clicking here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/truvy57/7761080806/in/photostream/ takes you to a Flickr site showing those who were first across the finish line on Saturday, the first day of Pelotonia. Not surprising, it was Marty Sedluk, Dave Chesrown, Jon Morgan and Pete C, followed soon thereafter by Dustin, Craig Rice, Paul Stock & others.
Clicking here takes you to an image of the Killer Karen Rossi & Mark tandem, likely finishing just behind Marty: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pelotoniaphotography2012/7770389446/in/photostream
Thanks to Dennis G for alerting me to these images and Marty's wife for taking the images and putting them on Flickr. Also, Garth Prosser finished 33rd out of a field of 1500+ at last week's Leadville 100. I believe Garth was part of a group that got off the official route, adding 6 miles and no doubt affecting his finish time and place. Seems either someone deliberately altered the course markings that misled some cyclists or the route was poorly marked.
Walked out to my car Saturday morning and was greeted with a surprising light rain. During the drive to the ride start, it continued to rain and did so all the way up to the 8:00am start. We've been so spoiled by the ideal, albeit hot, weather that this light amount of rain produced a lot of grumbling about quitting or delaying the ride. Out of the 40+ who were at the start, probably 10 got in their cars and took off either to Bob Evans (Roll folks) for a 1 hour delay or just went home.
Listening to Flyin Tuna, our ride leader, caution us about various matters. Actually, after all those rides hosted for decades, in which she produced very crummy quality maps, this time she produced a brilliant map. Large, very readable with queue sheets, I was impressed, as was everyone else. Shocked might be a better description. However, I began to think about this. The difference was so great, almost "unbelievable" it made me a little suspicious. It would be analogous to a Cat 5 racer going off to Italy for a month or two for "vacation" and coming back as a Cat 1. It would be like a D average student moving in to the seat next to a A+ student and suddenly achieving good grades. Engineer Mitch O, a well known mastermind map maker, was at the ride and it suddenly occurred to me that Mitch had made the maps for Cindy! There could be no other explanation for the huge, gargantuan disparity between the new map and the hundreds of crummy ones that had come before it. Anyway, we were glad to have good maps and shoved off.
Hard to believe, but about a mile or two from the start, we escaped the rain and the rest of the ride was dry. As we went farther south, we even saw some sun, along with brisk winds. Great route full of hills via Fairmont, Mt Hope, 757, in to Somerset. After a stop to refuel, we shoved off but I hung back with Kenda Janet and Paul and Kevin Kramer. It's always a good idea to spend some time with Kenda Janet, she of the fun personality and knowledge of what is going on in the peloton. Her knowledge is so vast about our group that it makes me wonder if part of her job at Verizon is monitoring our calls as part of some kind of surveillance software. We grimly tackled the hills on Palomino, Pen, Flag Dale and Marietta before cruising into Bremen. Here, a couple of new people watch a horse and buggy pass. I think the guy on the right is Ron, from Dublin. Seemed like good guys and it's always good for newbies to slot in with us.
Here, the circle of trust was formed and despite their understandable lack of it in me, didn't mind when I slotted in. So, from Bremen, about 15 of us headed out on the loop that produced a total distance of 80 miles including the two new guys, Mitch, Mark C, Andrew, Flyin Tuna, Nathan, Dean, Kevin H, Retro George, Tri Andrew, Jeff S & others.
Eventually, we reached Thornport where we took our 3rd break. Tuna asked me to take her picture so I did, of her stalking toward me to grab my camera out of my hands. I was able to put it away before it got in her clutches. Wow, amazing what a 100 mile, 10,000' ride the week before does to ones endurance. I was still feeling good at the end of this 80 mile ride and enjoyed the pace that kept most of us together. Well, looking at creating a route for Tuesday that includes the great Becks Knob climb, one I don't think we've been on for a long time.
The very welcome rain moved through, radar looked good so I headed to the New Albany parking lot. Turnout was, as you would guess, light yet around 35-40 eventually showed up to sign in and start a "Pelotonia taper" ride of only 40 miles or less if that's what you wanted. Cruising through the parking lot, I approached Billy Campbell and he asked, "There aren't any mixed couple tandems riding tonight are there?" Now that is funny. That Billy is a class act.
This Tuesday, Shannon was riding a route he intends to use on an upcoming tri event, I think around Marion. As he was motoring along at a high speed, an elderly women shot out of a car dealership, trying to jump between oncoming cars. Shannon saw her coming but was helpless to act and her car struck him, he went airborne, flipped and landed on his feet. Miraculously, unharmed save for a very small scratch. The bike is ruined but a replacement is on order. This description does not do justice to the description Shannon gave, which is harrowing. Very, very fortunate is the outcome and I'm shaking my head just thinking about it.
Paul Stock showed up with a new Trek, bought just this weekend at the Trek store. Hope his experience with the Trek frame is better than mine. Two replacement frames already due to frame cracks and bottom bracket issues and patiently waiting for Rick Miller to determine if my current frame will be covered by Trek.
Those checking the current radar situation noted a large cell was moving NW to SE, south of us but Nathan noticed it was also enlarging and mushrooming in our direction. Hmmmmmm. Shannon called out the A group and only 9 departed, with other A's hanging back for the B group, such as Marty, Mike Rea, Mick and others. Good thing because while the A route was a taper distance, the pace was not. Shannon, Billy C, Paul S, Ron, Tattoo Dude (impressive array of full body tattoos) who I had not seen on earlier rides, OSU kit dude (I should know his name as he is there every week) and a couple of others, one of whom was also new. No warm-up tonight, they just killed it to the turn at Kitzmiller and my average was already 21mph.
My legs felt terrible during the "warm-up" but after coasting down from the overpass, just like that they felt great. We turned right at Central College/Jug and then left at Clover Valley. With such a small group, I could not inconspicuously hide in the back and also maintain a shred of shame so I took a pull alongside Shannon, he burned me out in a few yards so I had to rotate back. We reached the usual turn at Green Chapel but someone yelled "straight" and we kept going, all the way to Rt. #62, where we turned right and then quickly right again, discovering we were off the route. I took a pull but was quickly passed by OSU kit dude, which was ok with me but Billy must have been concerned I was losing it and shoved me forward, which is also ok but I was in good shape.
Crossing Mink, a couple of guys held up to allow traffic to pass and it gave me a chance to scan the skies as we slowed to regroup. Wow, to the south and east, the sky was very dark. I told Ron I was going to bug out and intended to do so at Green Chapel but as we approached, there was the B group having followed the correct route. I could only imagine the derision to which I would be subjected by the usual suspects who were populating this group if I turned out so I kept going. We turned left at Caswell and approached the ramps that would carry us to Johnstown. I moved to the middle of the group and then saw an opportunity for fun. There was Billy C in the 2nd spot, behind Shannon. Oh, that would make a good story, to be able to say on the same week he got passed by a mixed couple tandem, worse yet, he was beaten out of KOM points on Caswell (I know so what, especially if he was oblivious to a challenge I made up out on the road). So, like an old, worn out Green Mamba, I STRUCK!!!! I pulled ahead of the group but unfortunately, Billy is a young, full of energy Black Mamba, realized what I was up to and beat me by a bike length (or two). Our average was 23 at the top of Caswell and with 13 miles.
We stopped at #37, I scanned the sky again and decided, these guys are going to get wet, probably drenched and I turned around. Sure, I was greeted with a few shouts like, "That didn't last long." You're sooooo funny but I don't mind having it dished back at me. It's all in good fun. I rode back in, got sprinkled on but arriving in the parking lot, things were very grey and sheets of rain could be seen approaching. I got into my car, pulled out of the parking lot and suddenly there were lots of cyclists diving into their cars as the rain began. I drove out old 161 and saw this group heading back in. Don't know what happened to the A group.
The A route is only 40 miles as many are tapering for the weekend.
I have not seen the Shannon Thursday New Albany route map yet. In the meantime, The Pelotonia ride is this weekend but if you are not participating, allow me to draw your attention to a little known, COP roving ride put on by none other than Flyin Tuna. Yep, that's right. Cindy B volunteered to host a roving ride on the same day that thousands will be riding elsewhere but someone had to fill the Saturday on the COP schedule and she bravely stepped up. Not only is the ride obscure but so too is the start location, Heath High School at 300 Licking View Drive in Heath, OH. Distances of 55, 70 and 80 miles available with the long route going to Bremen. In Bremen there is a gas station or I think still a small restaurant.
Part of the route is marked, at least the part getting you in and out of Heath and there are maps!!! Tuna maps you ask (so small and vague as to be worthless)? She says no, these are maps that even the blind could read but she has said that before. So, if you want to ride and for whatever reason did not or could not do Pelotonia, THIS IS THE RIDE FOR YOU! 8:00am start and the weather should be fantastic with winds out of the south blowing you back on the return.
Prior to the ride, Karen Rossi, she of the famous Rossi tandem led by husband Mark, was talking quite a bit of smack. This normally mild mannered and dignified woman had taken on the personality of a brash, NBA point guard. "We're riding stronger then we ever have.", "I doubt there's a tandem anywhere that could beat us." and "I 'm trying to talk Mark into riding with the A group to show those putzes just how strong we are!" Actually, I wish they had because I thought riding behind them for 44 miles would be a nice recovery ride but it was not. Anyway, 3/4 of the way through the route, what remained of the vaunted A group, having taken the 48 mile route, approached.
Swiftly, Billy C, Euro Patrick, Dustin, Steve O and Scott, pulled away. Karen was heard grumbling but not sure what was said.
Suddenly and without warning, the stoker quickened the pace, forcing Mark R to put in a rare bit of effort (we all know Karen is the real muscle behind that tandem) and with that, the tandem began to gain, here with Nathan struggling to hang on.
Here, the shocked 5 can only watch, helpless as the tandem passes and pulls away. I had to put the camera away at this point as I was getting left in the dust. Poor Billy C, as if having Dennis and I cling to his wheel at an earlier ride was not bad enough, to have a mixed couple tandem pass him, I don't know what to say. More to come later.
Arrived in Monterey, to register and pick up the coveted T-shirt at 4:00pm. Of the 7 people in the parking lot at the time, 6 were from Ohio, Steve O, Dustin, Andrew C, Mark C & wife Beth and me. Arriving later were Flyin Tuna and long suffering husband Rod, Mark V, Denver Dan, Mike Murphy, Miya, Amanda, Franz, Ted M, Greg Dubois, Joe G, Kevin Swabb, Mark Waites, Mike Rea, Chuck L, Bob Stoll....I think that's everyone so 20 from central Ohio or 9% of the total cyclists at this event. Approximately 320 cyclists, unknown how many were doing the century. I think this is a fairly low turnout and I can't wonder if the fact the finish times are not posted deters some from attending? Several thousand come out for Mountains of Misery and similar rides.
I headed south to Warm Springs, a drive down a valley between mountain ridges so it's straight and fairly flat, all the way to the Inn at Gristmill Square. Neat place with restaurant and bar so can't beat that. I missed eating at one of the area's better restaurants last year so stopped at "John's Steak House" where I sat on the patio looking out over this scene and used the excuse of a high calorie burn the next day to eat lots and lots of food, dessert too!!!!
I showed up early the next morning intending to follow Ted M around and identify all the members of "The Others" who are rumored to attend this event. I figured I'd spot a secret handshake or head butting to signal a member was found. However, I could not find Ted and then whacked my forward, realizing this shadowy group would not ride with the masses on Saturday but instead would ride the route on Sunday. Later I did see Ted but he was probably just doing a double, 100 today and 100 on Sunday. Here, Flyin Tuna on the left, hubby Rod, Mark V on his Golden Jamie, Franz and Miya. This is Rod's annual opportunity to punch me for all the unflatteringly remarks I make about Cindy on this blog but in reality, I'm channeling Rod, saying things he wants to say but does not dare to. Rod is developing into quite the golfer, shooting a 33 on Thursday. Naturally, I could not let this pass without drawing on my extensive background of golf jokes, "Great Rod, that's a good score for 6 holes.", "Is that 33 with handicap?", "What was par on that course, 25?", "Were there any witnesses?" and "Did the pencil have an eraser?" Yuk, yuk, yuk.
I was going to roll out at 8:00, the official start time, but Cindy, Mark V, Andrew and Mark C wanted to depart at 7:45 so I shoved off with them. The first of 9 climbs begins immediately after the parking lot and it's not a bad idea to get up and over and avoid the mass of cyclists coming down the back side. Mark C told Cindy he would ride to support her and see that her average speed was above 15mph. What a guy, wanting to help a cycling buddy and I admired that. I found Cindy's mark of success, average speed, to be rather curious. Not total time but average speed...why not ride hard, take long and frequent breaks to recover or, sprint and stop every 10 minutes? That would keep the average speed up. Anyway, I was realistic that, with no rides of similar distance or climbing under my belt since March, except for the previous week's Ridge Runner ride at which I sucked, finishing was going to be a challenge. Therefore, I decided to ride slowly up the climbs, try to recover on the descents, limit my time at the food stops and just have enough in the tank to make it up the final climb and finish. Not an ambitious goal.
We headed up the first climb and soon Mark C left the gang and I followed. On the descent, we discussed if we should wait. I could tell Mark was conflicted but a stop light brought our gang together and we soon started up the 2nd climb. Mark pulled away from poor Cindy, to whom he had made a sacred oath that he would assist. I was shocked that this man of the cloth would so cavalierly abandon cycling friends and jettison his promise but then, since I was able to hang in there and selfishly had my own plans for using him, didn't give it too much thought. We traded pulls after the climb and reached a food stop, just before a long and nasty climb #3. I refilled, ate a peach, gobbled a GU and started up this 2.4 mile climb and the steepest on the route. Mark pulled away from me and I pleaded with him to wait, begged him, sought to appeal to his humanitarian side and all I got out of him was, "I'll just coast on the down hill so you can catch up." Oh that's rich, as if I'm going to hammer on the down hill to catch after climbing this beast. To be fair, I would not have waited either but I've always held Mark up to a much higher standard so was surprised by his behavior but was especially disappointed I was losing a drafting opportunity! There are so few cyclists participating, there is little group riding (drafting) going on. However, just as I turned south into a nasty head wind, here came a group of 7-8 that included Dustin, Steve and Mark Waites. What a break and I rode to the next rest stop with this group.
So, now I was at mile 48, with 4 climbs behind and 5 to go. My average speed was 19 and one can not help but extrapolate what the finish time would be but, I've done this ride enough times to know the next 50 miles is brutal. At the food stop, Kevin Swabb was having work performed to his bike. Later he staged for this with his authentic Italian jersey.
Leaving the 48 mile food stop, I jumped in with another group that included Mike Rea and a head turning woman with jersey zipped all the way down. I could not help but wonder what Poobah would do in this situation but figured I didn't want to end up in a ditch. We turned onto the infamous Snowy Mountain climb, a 5 mile leg buckler. I was in good shape at the top and thought, maybe I'm going to do better then I thought but noted too my average had dropped from 19 to 17, how sad. Around mile 61, I pulled into a market and drank a Monster. A couple of miles later I pulled into a food stop and consumed more, before starting up climb #6, officially 5 miles but the length of the entire climb is really 9 miles. When I reached the top of this one, my mood had changed and I cursed myself for not knowing the short cuts to get off this torture track.
About one mile from yet another well placed food stop, I remembered it was here, a year ago, where I spotted Joe G throwing up all over the ravine to the side. When I reached the food stop, who was there but Joe G again, what a coincidence and this time, sitting calmly and asking if I remembered last year's setting. He and Kevin S were encouraging me and asked me to join in as they departed but I needed time to decide if striking the sheriff, standing to the side, would get me a free ride into Monterey and anything other than an overnight stay in the jail. Soon, I shoved off, up climb #7, 3+ miles, a down hill and then immediately going up climb #8, only 1.7 miles to the top. Gawd, what a freakin grind and my speed was barely above the point at which lack of inertia forces the bike to fall over. Cramping was an issue, not the lock up kind but twinges in both legs, seeming to communicate to the brain, "What an idiot you are for putting us through this!"
The final rest stop at the bottom of the final climb, just under 2 miles to the top. A mule pulling a heavy plow would have zoomed by me on the way up but I made it to the top, coasted to the bottom, cleaned up and headed out of town.
On the way out, I passed Mark V, then Tuna, then Andrew, later passed an unsmiling Greg D and Ted M powering up the final climb, Amanda and Mike starting up climb #8, then Miya, then Dan coming down climb #7 and for the first time, drove straight through to home, arriving at 10:00pm. Note to self: Let's not think about doing this again unless I prepare for it.
The legends of Thursday gathered, here Pete C, Terry and Billy Campbell. My goal was not to draft them but to head out with the B group and ride comfortably, getting ready for the agonizing ride Saturday out of Monterrey, VA. Maybe 15 went out with the A group, you know, the usual suspects.
Huge, I mean huge group of B's but then no one cares what happens in the B group, unless you were one of the 35 who started with the B group. The group was large, unsteady and on a sketchy Morse Road with lots of crummy sections on the right side. In fact, at one point, I turned to David S and said, "I'm, getting nervous riding with these guys." Lots of twitching going on as people avoided the worst of the pavement so I drifted back. There I found Tri Mike and Jeff Webb. Motoring along Morse and just before Watkins Road, I heard Mike yell "Man down". I looked back and of course turned around. Between Mike and I, we called 911 and Jeff's wife and had everything under control. Jeff simply did not have control of his bike when it hit a pot hole or crevice and he lost control and went down. Probably has dislocated shoulder, rib injury and of course road rash.
Meantime, back with the A group, a star showed for the ride, Kevin Henschel, who recently finished 3rd in the "Tour of the Valley" race in Pro/1/2. Kevin did not know the route and that kept him in the group but he showed of what he is capable when he rode away a couple of times. Certainly a shout out to Muscle Dude, aka Craig Rice who has worked on his climbing and finished among the first couple on the climb up Thresher. In addition to having massive muscles, he weighs over 200 pounds so that is impressive. The A group finished with a freakin 24.6 average.
I've got those images of beeeeautiful women in the memory and will post soon. Just running out of time for now
Shannon sent out the above route but a modification may be made because Hardscrabble and Concord are freshly chip & sealed.