The Final Canal Ride & Fancy Pants
After having been blessed with mostly great weather this season, the last of the Canal rides ended with a weather wimper rather than a bright and sunny bang. At the start, it felt cold despite the temperature being 57. One guy wore a baclava over his head, everyone wore tights, jackets and gloves. Two months from now, such temperatures will produce short sleeved clad riders but not now.with bodies conditioned to 80 degree temps. Probably adding to the chill was broiling clouds overhead driven by a stiff wind. It was dark at the start, darker at the finish, and yes, wet too.
My expectation of cyclist participation was low but eventually, 20 of us showed, probably mostly motivated by the scheduled after ride gathering at Kingys. Despite the ominous looking weather and threat of rain, Jeff S above was busy polishing a minor frame blemish. In addition to Jeff, also there were Amanda, Steve O, Mitch, Pastor Stop Sign Jumper Mark, Peggy, Butch, Donna, Nathan, 6'6" Tall Dude, Roy, Mark Rossi & wife, Margarita Rick, etc... I had put the camera away and was getting ready to huddle behind a SUV with others for warmth when I saw something so shocking, I had to unlock the car and grab the camera.....
.....in a shocking display of blue hued brilliance, THE Mr. Fancy Pants, Steve O, showed up in this clashing outfit with his blue cyclocross bike. Other pre-ride oddities included Mitch prancing around the parking lot in boxer shorts and T-shirt. Unfortunately, images were too blurred to post.
Peggy produced a route that was 21 miles and with so many still nursing muscle soreness from CFC, the pace was sure to be moderate. We headed out to Lithopolis then onto Elder and Winchester Road with some windy gusts impeding our progress a little. A turn east on Marcy produced a wind aided rise in speed and as we were pushed along this long uphill stretch we were not surprised by the unwelcome arrival of drizzle and at times just plain rain. Our ranks had shrunk to around 8, which included a recovering Roy and surprisingly, a very speedy Amanda, who was begging me to designate her the FFC (Fastest Female Cyclist) of Canal award. After passing through 674 and approaching Cedar Hill Road, we debated continuing to Sitterly Road and a vote produced the slightly longer route.
Towards the end of the long uphill stretch on Sitterly, Fancy Pants jumped but his move was telegraphed by the buzz of his nobbly tires and so he caught no one unaware and we all jumped onto his wheel and he pulled us to the summit and then we recovered on the downhill stretch before turning left on Slough and then right on Waterloo for the 21 miles and a modest average speed of 19.3.
Some how, everyone showed up at Kingys dry and dressed and after being moved around by Kingy's staff 3 times, we finally all got together where Donna produced gifts for Mitch and Peggy who tirelessly and mostly without complaint, provided us with scintillating routes and motivation to show up every week.
And so, the evening ride season ends, to be replaced by a spinning class for some but for most of us, we'll retire to our Barcoloungers and begin the process of adding 5-10 pounds. As you can see from the above, we got the process started already. I'll continue to post reports when appropriate and post winter riding opportunities when known. I'll also continue to build on the award list, started below. Next up, Massive Calf Award, Fastest Female and Male Cyclists Award and Short Cutter Award, PLUS Comeback Rider of the Year Award & others.
CFC Report...sort of
The above image is of the two remaining holdouts who had showed for the Sunday Canal ride. Originally, 7-8 of us showed but rain drove all of us home but these two, Canal Susan and this other guy. Now, the real action was happening southeast in the hills between Sugar Grove and Marietta. Below is a first hand account from someone who rode both days but wished to remain anonymous.
Saturday, it rained until mile 84, various degrees of rain, but rain the
whole way. I had 3 flats, in the rain, adding to the torture of the
day, probably riding 20 miles on a rear tire that was aired up to 60 lb.
Ordering new tires today and will never run cheaper tires again. I
rotated the tires on Sunday morning and that helped. Ric was through 20
tubes by mile 66 on Saturday. I did get lucky and had one flat at
lunch; Ric took it and fixed it while I ate. What a nice guy, he was
great. The last flat I fixed by myself, until Todd Lee pulled up in his
car. He helped me get it aired up, and by the time I was rolling again,
Mark R. & Mark C. were on their way back looking for me. Good timing on
their part. It was a long, hard day.
Sunday, we were rained on riding to breakfast. After coming out of
breakfast, it had cleared and was pleasant enough, except for the WIND.
It was one of those rides when I wondered why I do it; I'm still
wondering today. This one will take some time for me to get over.
Susan rode also, and we usually saw her at the stops. I didn't keep up
with too many of them on Sunday for very long. Not a big surprise.
Sunday is a really pretty ride, the stretch from Malta to Glouster is
not much fun, especially with the WIND. It's also a shorter day;
Saturday is 115 miles (taking the short cut) Sunday is 103. I don't
think either day should be much over 100!!!
Did not see Jimmy or Dan; saw Joe G. and he said that Bridge to Bridge
was cold, wet and horrible. They probably did not want another ride in
the rain. I'm not sure how many actually rode, there were 165 signed
YEAR END AWARD WINNERS!!!!
Having been a close observer of all things happening on and off the bikes at the New Albany and Canal Winchester evening rides, and having consulted with other close observers who wish to remain anonymous, we name the following award winners. Please note, in order to be eligible for an award, one must have made at least infrequent appearances. I will update this post frequently in the coming weeks with new award winners. Please send me any ideas you have for award winners or correct me if you think I am mistaken.
Brett Favre Retirement Award--Nominees:
Jamison Roberts (no other qualifiers)
And the winner is:
Jamie Roberts, who made a tearful departure from the peloton after a particularly tough stretch on Pickerington Road. Then unretired several more times before blitzing cyclists convincingly showed why he should remain retired. Last seen running after soccer moms on Licking County bike paths while claiming to be training for a 5k run this fall.
Rookie of the Year Award--New Albany
Nominee: Belinda Hughes, Recumbent Dude, Axel German Dude
And the winner is:
Belinda, who began the year as an overweight slug exercising in leopard-skin leotard outfits in the company gym but through diligent training and sacrifice, emerged as a triathlete (celebrating her mid-pack finish at Akron above) and competitive cyclist.
Rookie of the Year Award--Canal Winchester
Nominees: Recumbent Dude, 6'6" Tall Dude
And the winner is:
Nathan Recumbent Dude. Never saw someone give up so much speed (riding in front of the A group on a recumbent but dropping to the C group when riding his real road bike) when hopping from one bike to another. Shown above sitting in his unfinished cockpit of the plane he is building.
The Sun is Setting
The threat of rain and probably diminishing daylight, conspired to keep the turnout very light, around 22. However, Donna delivered maps that had a route that more than made up for a lack of distance with plenty of climbing and our ride was thankfully bereft of rain, just very humid. No Craig to torture us, just Steve O assuing the role of strongest cyclist with a supporting cast of Mitch, Dennis, Pastor Mark, Kevin H., Jeff S, Greg H., Amanda & others.
I rolled out with the A group and upon reaching the corner, looked back and was stunned to count only 5, Steve, Mitch, Dennis, Jeff S and I. For sure, I was a pilgrim mixed in with a gang of cutthroats. Probably the other usual A’s were still nursing soreness from KCBC or taking it easy in anticipation of this weekend’s fun on CFC and thus making a large group of B riders.
We headed out to Pickerington Road (earlier I had tried to talk Sarge into running the route counterclockwise to put off this climb to the end but no luck) and began the grind up the hills, thankfully turning left on Coonpath and enjoying the rolling terrain while drafting behind Jeff. We hit the hills on Lamb and Mt. Zion before turning right onto Royalton, all still together. Just then, my chain dropped but I was unable to coax it back on by shifting. I yelled (maybe whined) that my chain had come off and Dennis promptly went from 4th in the miniature peloton to 1st, which seemed odd and they soon disappeared over the rise. After manually guiding the chain back on, I headed up the first Royalton climb and once over the rise, was very pleasantly surprised (shocked would not be an exaggeration) to see Steve waiting for me. He tried gallantly to pull me to the group but the two tough Royalton climbs took their toll and I faded a bit but was again surprised to see the others had paused at Rockmill. Like I’ve said many times, what a great, considerate bunch of guys!
We headed west to Cedar Hill and I even pitched in with a pull or two to demonstrate my gratitude. We arrived back at the parking lot with 1400’ of climbing, 28 miles and a 20.3 average. Afterwards, Amanda tried to sneak a banana peel into my car but was caught. I must have had my back turned at some point because later I found it in the front seat. This was the next to last Canal ride and so the sun is setting on another season of suffering and good fun. I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do to fill this void.
Time Out for Something Different
I couldn't get to Gambier, ride decent miles and get back to Granville in time to watch the Buckeyes so I did what any rabid Bucks fan would do...stayed home. I understand some people were surprised Belinda in person did not match the images I had posted. OK, I admit those blutos were pulled off the web and not really Belinda. Rode with the Canal Sunday group and had a good ride down to Tarleton and back. Jeff S was there working out some muscle soreness from the 100 miles at KCBC.
Recumbent Dude (Nathan) has an interesting hobby, building a working airplane from scratch. You can follow his progress here http://www.stealthturtle.com/index.php/building-a-cozy-mark-IV
although he has not gotten much done during cycling season.
Although they arrived slowly, by 6:00pm there were 40+ cyclists ready to go on a flatish 28 mile route. Curiously not there was ride leader Jeff S who was a no-show. This left Jeff Jr. scrambling for maps.
Retro George adn Dennis were taling and I noticed how much Dennis resembles George, just a younger version. I also used to wonder why Dennis wore those 10-year-old Sausage Hill jerseys but now realize it was to be simpatico with George.
I arrived in New Albany, mentally prepared to put out the effort to ride with the A's but after Dennis announced he was not mentally into riding with the A's, I quickly decided the same for me. After the A;s departed, a huge group of B's left adn at a light I looked back and there must have been 30 of us, led by Dennis, Greg H, Mark R, Nathan, Flyin Tuna, Mark V, Kevin, etc... We headed out old 161 at a modest pace but a few people were shelled by the time we turned right onto Watkins. Greg H was at the front and I calculated he would drop the hammer so I had moved up and shadowed him up that climb, looked back and saw virtually everyone was still there. Everyone has become so strong by this time of the year. We turned left on Weslyn Church for a few rollers, left on York and those two dips and climbs and while cruising into Alexandria, there were still probably 15 people with us.
Out Jug Street we went and that long uphill eventually turning left on Beech and a right onto Waltons Parkway and then into the parking lot. 21.9 average for 28 measly miles and 900 feet of climbing. The A group finished with 23/2 average led by Mick and the usual suspects.
Let's Talk About Winter
Good ride and 40+ cyclists at New Albany tonight. Images and story to come. First, before the week day rides end and thus too the reports, last winter many (several, a few, a couple depending on weather) of us got out to ride and I think I only missed 3-4 weeks of riding throughout the winter. While there were many cold starts to the rides, we always had a lot of fun at a more relaxed pace and always a breif stop at a warm place for hot chocolate or coffee. I probably will post ride starts and locations here to let you know about winter riding opportunities. Given that as many as 180 of you check this site on busy days (as low as 40 on slow days) it seems a decent forum to post winter exercise alternatives. There are also kick ass winter hiking trips set up by Pastor Mark, where he takes us to Hocking Hills and goes off trail to some fantastic places (see Moonville Tunnel report from back in February). I'll probably post those too, with Mark's permission. Like cycling, I also enjoy drafting behind people when hiking!
Ahh, another great weather day for the fun in Canal. Early on, folks were lining up to sign up at the back of Peggster's van. Including.......
.......MichiganMan, Nathan and his display of in-you-face partisanship, frequently crowing about Michigan's recent wins, Rich Rod, new quarterback, etc... After listening to him brag long enough I thought George was in front of me talking about his heart issues. Fortunately, Nate has other redemming qualities that allow some of us to overlook his poor taste in college temas.
The pelotons sharpest dresser, Dennis, reinforced why he received the best dressed award with a stunning ensemble of orange, black and yellow jersey, shorts, bike, wheels and helmet. The guy must spend hours planning is cycling wardrobe.
Peggster put up a strong defense that she was not the guilty party who has been tastlessly depositing banana peals in our cars. The image that I previously posted that appeared to show a banana peal resting inside her suv, waiting to be thrown in my car was in fact a towel with a yellow fish. I withdraw my earlier assertion but after returning to my car......
......I found an apple stuck inside my shoe! Peggster had conspired to draw me away from my car to allow someone to insert the apple (eaten--ugh) into my shoe.
Well, to the ride. Not much to say. I was pumped full of Actifed to fight a cold so decided to hang out at the back of the B group so as not to infect anyone. As we approached Kaufman off Pickerington, I advised those behind I was not going to chase down a gap and sure enough one opened. Soon I was riding with Nathan, Mark Rossi, who has lost 25 pounds this year and riding much stronger than in year's past, Amanda and some other guy. We mostly rode together for a long time, making a right on Crumley, right on Rock Mill, left on Marcy but then the A group of Craig, Dennis, Pastor Mark, Mitch and maybe one other came around us, I jumped on and drafted with Nathan joining too. We headed north on Cedar Hill and after cruising through Lithopolius, headed back into Canal for 30 miles and for me, a 19.2 avg with 1400' of climbing. Sounds like a lot of people are doing KCBC and Belinda, she of the tri fame and century ride of last weekend, will be there to socialize, pass out doughnuts and probably hit me for the fatty images I posted below. It's dangerous being me.
Belinda participated in a sprint triathlon on Saturday and then, incredibly, rode her first century on Sunday!!! In her words below is a brief description of the events. Good job Belinda!!!
Saturday I did the mini-sprint triathlon. The swim was not good. I got kicked hard in the chest mid way. As I tried to come up for air and get started again, I got hit in the head from the back. I knew my rythm was shot so I went to just stand up since it was supposed to be a shallow water swim. It was way over my head and I never found bottom. So I fought my way to the top, a bit panicked and had to float on my back which I caught my breath. After that I was just trying to get it over with. My time was over 8 minutes, which is bad.
Belinda preparing to enter the water for the first triathlon event
Coming out of the water, I had a suit problem that added to my time.
The bike portion was my strongest. We looped the route twice and it was uphill all the way out to the turnaround, then down. I passed people constantly. My top speed was 28 and my average was 17.1. My run pace was terrible at 12 minute miles. Overall I placed 6 out of 21 in the Athena division. I haven't been able to download the whole thing yet to get my overall rank. I do think I'm in the upper half, so I'm thrilled. It was a good experience. On Sunday I rode the Horizontal Hundred with Patty, my friend who rode Land of Legend this year as her first real road ride. She's a machine. She kept a hot pace of 18 - 20 for the first part of the ride. When we stopped for lunch we were at 16.1 avg. I still felt good at that point. At mile 60 was had picked up the pace to 16.2. By this time the wind was picking up and I was drafting behind her a lot. By the 75 mile rest stop I was no longer having fun. EVERYTHING hurt. I took some Aleve and laid on a table for a bit. Then she made me get on the bike again. At the 90 mile rest break I was ready to give her my keys and let her come get me, but she wouldn't have any of that. The final 14 miles weren't so bad since she let me bring the pace down. But it's disheartening when you hit mile 100 and you are miles from the destination. I stayed in the big chain ring all day since the route was flat. We were so tired at the end that at mile 102 I finally had to drop to the middle to get up over a highway overpass. I hurt so bad I could barely walk to go change clothes when we finally arrived, 9 hours after we started. It was funny when we realized my right hand no longer had the strength to put my car in gear. Nothing hurts today (Monday) but I'm not moving very fast.
Great ride today with report below but first, I feel compelled to address a growing crisis, the Banana Peal Polluter. Following Tuesday's Canal ride and the discovery of another banana peal in the trunk of my car (this time foumd the day of distribution as opposed to a prior discovery after the peal had turned black and smelly), strong circumstantial evidence pointed to Peggster. Now, more evidence, again circumstantial, again points to Peggy. Peggy was at the ride, she cut it short so she was in the parking lot before the rest of our group arrived so she had opportunity and motive. This time, she placed the peal on the wind shield of Steve O's car. If anyone saw anything they can post it anonymously in the comments section.
Lots of people showed for this classic route, hosted for the 10th consecutive year by Jon Schaer, who is retiring from the ride leader position and looking for a replacement. Whoever is the next volunteer, I hope they keep the route, I enjoy these routes with big climbs and long stretches of flat, valley riding or ridge riding. Above, left to right are Jimmy, Mark R and Steve O. Steve was in for a nasty surprise when he returned to his car.
A large group started at about 8:15 and after a few miles, smaller groups emerged as some went faster and some went slower. I fell in with fellow 80 milers, Larry P, Lisa A, SuperDave and at times, Kevin K was with us, Steve O hung with us for awhile, Mitch the Enginner and Jeff S rode with us but by the time we reached Mooresville, there was just 4 of us.
Soon, many more cyclists arrived, including Flyin Tuna and her huge appetite, always scanning the crowd for a food grab.
I caught an image of this cool lookig hub treatment, which I believe is there mostly for cosmetic reasons but I liked the look of it.
Peggster always asserts I intentionally take less than flattering pictures of her so I gave her the opportunity to pose this one time.
We departed the fun at the food stop and soon, made the left at the walnut tree orchard on Clark Road for the difficult climb to the top of Tar Hollow. Larry and I competed for KOM points, which he won easily. After coasting down to the bottom and emerging on I think #327, we headed north, realizing we would have to reclimb the hill again, this time up the long but not as steep side. Larry again vanquished me but I put up a good fight, whining that 18 holes of golf the day before had taken everything out of me. Eventually, at mile 57 we hit Laurelville for a food stop, which was very welcome. This is where the 100/80 mile split was and we happily headed for the 80 mile route.
Out #180 before making a left on Union. I don't remember riding this "buckley Knee" road of one uphill stretch after another after another. Just when you thought there could not be another ramp headed up we would crest the hill and see another. Larry laid down the law again but I made him work for it, a little, with Lisa A always right there too. A March fall has caused her some difficulty and she'll be going under the knife after CFC to get it fixed. Anyway, the real kick in the teeth was yet to come, a large boulder field about a 1/4 mile long that forced everyone to dismount, except Larry who managed to ride through it. One rider became inspired by Larry and attempted to remount his bike and ride but he promptly took a painful fall. We rolled into Tarlton at mile 68 where I paused, debating about drinking another Monster but decided to continue but withoyt Larry and Lisa, who had kept going.
For some reason, with all the distractions in Tarlton with a farmres market and multiple cars and pedestrians, I missed the turn and headed out #159, riding southwest and off the route. I realized my mistake after I got to the top of the climb but there was no way I was going to retrace and face another climb out of Tarlton so a couple of map checks eventually put me back on the route and then at Circleville with 81 miles. Again, a great route, good map and good roads, mostly.
Another beautiful evening for cycling and another good turnout with between 35-40, including making a first time appearance, Steve Oxley, he who sets a knee buckling pace during the Canal rides.
Nathan too was there, but only briefly. After bravely emerging from his car wearing a Michigan jersey, and receiving a lot of crap for that clothing faux pas, he discovered he had forgotten his shoes and departed. Or maybe he thought retreat was better than having a rabid Buckeye fan thrust a pump into his spokes.
I made my usual rounds to many of the cars, imparting good cheer and encouraging words. At Mark V’s van, I inquired about CFC sign-up. Mark said so far there were around 65, with I think today being the early sign-up deadline. Apparently most people wait until the end to send in their money so likely the quantity of cyclists putting themselves through the grist mill of southeastern Ohio hills will be around 200. After making my rounds I returned to my car in time to see Oxley fling a banana peel toward it…NICE! Not wanting to miss an opportunity to deposit the peel in someone else’s car, I noted Dennis still had his SUV’s rear hatch open. The trick was to get him away from the vehicle so I wandered over and suggested he should get signed up, thinking that would be my opening. However, he closed the hatch before leaving and upon returning to my car, I noticed a dirty paper towel had been tossed into my trunk!?
I had decided to ride with the A group, even though it’s more fun riding with the B’s at a less than hammer pace. Joining the A group was Steve of course, Mick, Dennis, Axel, Colnago Dude, Jeff S, Retro George and others, totaling 14. The route was very flat and with dwindling daylight, only 35 miles. I was disappointed that Steve would not be subjected to Col du Alward, Stone Quarry, Caswell or other climbs, just two longish but not steep climbs on the entire route; up Hardscrabble and later, Miller Road. We rode out Jug Street and Steve took a pull at the front into a strongish headwind with me glued to his wheel. Soon, apparently thinking the pace was too slow, riders bolted from the pack and passed, a shocking affront to someone of Steve’s stature. I thought I was the only one who routinely was subjected to the humiliation.
As we cruised through Alexandria, George made some heart related comments and must have dropped back at that point. We went east on Raccoon Valley Road and Steve turned his head toward me, to confirm I was back there and asked if there was a hill anywhere. I confirmed we would soon be turning left onto Hardscrabble. He said something but I couldn’t hear and yelled for him to say it again. He asked what the approaching hill’s profile was similar to but I pretended not to hear and forced him to repeat himself, louder each time, 3 more times….I can be so funny sometimes. Steve wanted to know if the hill was like climbs around Canal Winchester like Slough, Pickerington, etc… but I was stumped. Hardscrabble is a couple of miles of gradual climbing punctuated by a few ramps and false flats, a test of endurance more than climbing power and the group always gets thinned out along this road. We hit the hill and I survived to the top with a smaller group of approximately 7 riders. We headed west on Concorde, south on Castle and picked up a couple of B riders who had taken a shorter loop so our ranks had swollen again. There were numerous attacks by those coming from the back of the pack. We chased, caught and then inexplicably, the pace slowed dramatically. I’ve always thought if you bolt from the pack and jump the lead rider you should have enough endurance to sustain the pull, not sprint for 50 yards and then fall back into the pack, yet this happened many times on the return. The turn onto the long hill on Miller provided no attack, just a modestly high pace that kept most of us together and we worked our way back to the parking lot with a 22.3 average on only 975’ of climbing.
As we gathered for the usual post-ride chatter, we heard there had been a crash. Don’t take this as the official version but from several sources I was able to piece together that a B rider had touched the wheel of the rider in front, causing him to fall. A rider named Sean had no recourse but to ride over the head of the fallen rider, a maneuver that caused a broken nose and lots of blood. An ambulance was called and one of the emergency workers was talking in Spanish to the cyclist with the broken nose so perhaps this is enough of a clue to allow someone to identify. Apparently the other cyclist, who had also fallen, had a broken collarbone. If anyone knows more pleae post in the comments section.
I walked to Steve's car and apoligized for a less than challenging route. He said, "This ride is severely overrated". I had to admit, I can't blame him for thinking this since he had ridden off the front numerous times with no one able to follow....wait a sec.....actually, he had sat on wheels almost as frequently as me and taken few pulls. I think Mick had a similar reaction when he participated in a Canal ride, rode around with Craig for the entire route and left, less than impressed. It really all comes down to who shows and how challenging is the route. Clearly the Canal routes are much hillier with more skinny climber types and the New Albany routes are flatter and populated by heavier sprinter types. The rides are different, not inferior in my opinion.
Back to George now, he had not appeared by dusk. I drove the route back to the east but did not see him. Instead of a heart problem, his chain had come off and somehow he had made a right where the route had gone left and he ended up with 40 miles and a finish after dark.
Rick Holt, a prolific writer and well known thespian, authored a report on the first annual post Covered Bridge Century/pre Labor Day bike path recovery ride. Enjoy.
As you know, some rides are born great (Peletonia, for example), some rides achieve greatness over time (TOSRV comes to mind), and some rides have greatness thrust upon them. Such is the case with the First Annual Pre-Labor Day Recovery Ride.
The brainchild of Steve “The Ox” Oxley, this ride is destined to become a classic, for reasons both real and imagined. Conceived as an easy ‘recovery’ ride after the rigors of the 100 mile, split-personality Covered Bridge – Millersport Corn Ride, it quickly became apparent this ride had a style and personality all it’s own.
The start was the parking lot off of Bixby Rd for the Three Creeks Park system. From here one can access a multitude of trails across the vast Columbus landscape, and as this was a ‘recovery’ ride, the fact that we would be sharing these trails with a variety of walkers, joggers, runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists of every age and ability, would have little to no impact on our leisurely pace and purpose. We simply wanted to have fun flushing lactic acid from certain overworked muscle groups.
In keeping with this relaxed attitude, we (the 3 people who showed up for the ride1: Steve, Jimmy, and Rick) brought our old back-up bikes (except Steve, who brought his NEW bike, demonstrating how the exception proves the rule), fully aware that speed would not rule the day. To highlight the casual, generous ambiance of this ride, Jimmy furnished oatmeal raisin cookies for the entire group, a tradition we’ll look forward to year after year. The relaxed peleton rolled out of the parking lot at a very sensible 10:45 AM, or as Rick likes to call it… 10:30, and proceeded northward, destination undetermined, drinking in the sights and sounds of a clear, bright September morning; heads pounding with the memory of pounding beers the previous September evening (come to think of it, that was actually earlier that same morning). Anyway…
1 (It should be noted that Mark V AND his wife showed up to ride, and did… although they left the parking lot at 10:30 AM, apparently unwilling or unable to wait until the ‘official’ start time of 10:30 AM, as described above. It’s easy to forget the conversion factor embedded within the subtle math necessary to calculate EDHT [Eastern Daylight Holt Time] The Committee for Responsible Participation is reviewing their petition to be included as original members of the 1st TAP-LDRR)
The peleton maintained a reasonable 14-15 mph pace, dodging the occasional walker, runner, and idiot riding a bike without a helmet, but making his kids wear one, cause a mind is a terrible thing to waste, unless you’re a parent, in which case it’s easily sacrificed, apparently. After a while, Rick got the bright idea to ring the little bell he had tucked away on his top tube, as a warning to the folks we were about to pass, and he would do this every time he remembered, or about 50% of the time. The rest of the time folks would be alerted by the squeak coming from every revolution of Steve’s pedal stroke, which sounded not unlike a mouse partially caught in trap such that neither escape nor death were possible, so it was left begging for one or the other with every revolution. Thus, Rick was ringing the bell half the time, and the other half lost in thought imagining hacking a mouse (bearing a striking resemblance to Steve’s foot) into a thousand pieces with a double-edged machete. A wasted mind is a terrible thing to disturb.
Each of us took turns taking the lead, which sometimes meant riding in front, but mostly meant explaining what we were seeing, and shouting which turn to take when the trail would split into different directions. Steve explained us all the way to Broad St., Rick talked us all the way to downtown, then Jimmy picked up in true tour-guide fashion to take us from downtown up past Grandview and into the OSU area. Did you know without Battelle there would be no Xerox… or was it without Xerox, there would be no Battelle? Well, anyway they’re co-dependent. And did you know there are porta-johns located along the trail just past St. John’s Arena? Steve didn’t either, but he was glad there were! In fact, Steve often stops to check out the porta-johns, so this ride was extra exciting for him. Columbus city trails connect many city parks like pearls on a string, and of course, city parks mean picnic tables, and… porta-johns.
We were close to 20 miles into what many thought would be a 30-mile ride, still heading north, and stomachs were beginning to growl. You know hunger is kicking in when the conversation turns to questions like, “What did you have for breakfast?” Rick suggested we ride the Olentangy trail to its’ endpoint in Worthington, where there would be a couple restaurants, and that would make a good halfway point. The peleton agreed it could wait that long, but the further it rode, the more pointed the questions got: “Exactly what restaurants are there? Are you sure? What are the names of the restaurants? Do they have sandwiches?” “Steve, they’ll be food there if I have to kill the next groundhog that runs across the trail, cook it, and bake and slice the damn bread myself!”
It took forever to cover the last 8 miles to Worthington, even at Steve’s squeaky 17-18 mph pace, but we got there, and found a place called The Rusty Bucket, a Subway shop, and a little ‘gourmet’ grocery store (this IS Worthington). Jimmy insisted we treat ourselves to something nice, we had worked hard, and the peleton agreed. We were 28 miles into a 30-mile recovery ride, and we deserved something special. So we sat down to dine alfresco, under a shady canopy at The Rusty Bucket. Jimmy and Rick would have been just as happy to dine indoors, but Steve insisted we weren’t properly dressed. Rick remembered he had a tie (regimental stripe, navy & burgundy) in his rack bag, but since the others apparently had forgotten theirs, he didn’t push it. The service was a bit slow at first, but eventually the water and ice tea was flowing freely. The food was excellent, the conversation lively. Not ours… the loud mouth woman with the baritone voice at the next table apparently wanted all the people at all the tables, and the gas station attendant two block away, to know how self-centered her friends were, and now we all do.
We ate at a leisurely pace, enjoying watching each other’s lips move without actually hearing what we said, and as we cleaned up the last of our culinary selections, we agreed that this ride should be an annual event. As the checks were being brought out, and Steve was emphatically making the point that he was not helping to pay for any but his own, (having recently been burned in a similar situation), suddenly Rick’s eyes grew large, his mouth dropped, and his face got red. You know how it is when you want to stare, and you know you shouldn’t, and you can’t help yourself, and you get caught at it, and you pretend you weren’t, and it’s killing you to not look, so you do? Like when a woman approaches, and she’s built like a brick…. house, and she knows it, and she’s looking around to see if anyone is noticing, and she’s dressed so people will notice, and so you do, and she gives you that look like… what are you looking at, and she knows damn well what you’re looking at? Well, here comes this blonde across the parking lot, and Rick is the only one facing the parking lot, and she and an older blonde (her mother?) are heading right for the restaurant… and our table, and Rick is mouthing the words… Check this out! Followed by… Are those real? And when Steve sees what Rick sees, Steve responds: No, those aren’t real. To which Rick responds, I didn’t think so. Nature doesn’t do that to a person. Well, we had already paid our bills, but it was obviously not a good time to leave, especially since once the blonde and her mother (it really was her mother, we overheard her say so) were seated, the blonde decided she needed something from the car, went past our table out to her car, and came back in past our table to sit down again. At that point, it was time to leave, since we were having difficulty breathing and so on.
We got on our bikes and headed back to the trail, each silently lost in our own thoughts, and retraced our path south, at a lively pace. When we were able to speak again, we concluded that the blonde’s prodigious assets were an occupational investment, and probably amortized over 10 years. That settled, we continued to retrace the route, and noting that the scenery was essentially the same as the first half, and that the second half would be 28+ miles as well, Rick offered to lead the peleton on an alternate return route. We’d be on some city streets, through various neighborhoods and industrial areas, and, as it was getting late, we would shave a few miles off as well. The peleton agreed, so Jimmy took the lead back through the Clintonville, OSU, Grandview section, and Rick would take over once we hit downtown.
Rick happened to be lead rider as the peleton was passing beneath Third Ave. and approaching the short, ingenious little tunnel that takes you under 315 and away from Grandview, toward downtown. He catches up to a blonde female cyclist (no, they’re probably not related) who, rather than be passed on a short uphill section, stands and rides up the section with skill and power. Obviously, she’s not new to the sport. Rick and the peleton follow her around several twists and turns, and when a straight section approaches, Rick says, “On your left” and passes without incident. The tunnel is next and Rick enters the cool shade, thinking and planning for the upcoming alternate route.
SUDDENLY, the silence is broken by a loud, shrieking string of f-bombs, and disparaging comments about someone’s mother, and the sound is bouncing around that tunnel like a bell tower on St. Swithen’s Day. It’s a female voice, although the language is pure sailor at sea for 6 months, and thoughts are racing through Rick’s mind… IS she talking about ME, and my mother? Or Steve? Or Jimmy? What the hell happened back there?
Rick exits the tunnel, as does Steve and Jimmy, and then a blonde with fire coming out of her mouth. I can hear Jimmy offering an apology several times, but the blonde is having none of it. She powers past the entire peleton, saying unkind things to all of us, although it’s hard to make out exactly what, except for the word that rhymes with luck, which is always crystal clear. Rick turns to Steve and Jimmy to ask what happened back there, and Jimmy explains: “As we were entering the tunnel, I could see it was going to be a little tight if someone was coming from the opposite direction, so I said to the blonde, ‘Careful.’” That’s it? Yep, that’s it. About this time Steve goes powering past us, intent on catching up to her, and Rick thinks: “He’s going to “engage” her in conversation and get her to calm down. I’ve seen him do this before. It’s his gift. He’s good with people, good at diffusing difficult situations.” Steve disappears up the trail and Rick fully expects to shortly find he and the blonde stopped, talking calmly, smiling and exchanging phone numbers. Instead, we come upon the blonde, stopped, alone, and muttering profanities to anyone and everyone riding past. So much for Steve’s gift. The thought of stopping never enters Rick and Jimmy’s minds as the sound of f-bombs recedes in the distance.
Wow, what next great adventure awaits us as we continue to recover? We take the trail downtown, past the replica of the Santa Maria, and then…dead-end; trail blocked by construction. We’re forced up onto downtown streets, but here’s where Rick’s internal compass and unerring sense of direction come into play. Jimmy asks: Where the hell are we? to which Rick replies, How the hell should I know? So much for Rick’s gift. We continue south on Front St., which turns out to be 2nd Street, which becomes an alley; so we leave the alley and stumble onto Front St., taking that to Greenlawn Ave., where we wait 20 minutes for a light to change, cause we’re law abiding cyclists, or too tired to think straight, take your pick. Eventually we dead-end into a side street that takes us to High St. and from there we take a one-way street east through a scenic neighborhood with people cleaning their guns on their front porch, preparing for the holiday on Monday. We cross Parsons, and follow Marion past all the shuttered industry to Fairwood. With Rick in the lead, and dying from thirst, we take Refugee over to Alum Creek where it crosses 104, and THERE, we get back on the trail. Recognizing where we are, finally, Steve can smell the barn. He kicks it up a notch, and leads us back along the trail to the cars.
Done. 54 miles of recovery. Put this one in the books. A classic. Join us next year about this same time. It’s the Pre-Labor Day recovery ride. That way, you have Labor Day to recover.
On my drive to Canal. I received a call from a cyclist who objected to designating Dennis as the “Best Dressed Cyclist”. The caller, who wishes to remain anonymous, insisted there should be a men’s and ladies’ best dressed award and so I agreed. Therefore, Dennis is the best dressed guy and I will hold off naming the female winner until after cycling season, so as to avoid contentious debate.
Kind of a light turnout for the Tuesday ride but making a rare appearance was Tim Tyler. Tim was once a Cat 1 racer and this year won the Masters Division of the Torelli Spring Series and won the 50-54 age group in the Ohio Road Race Championship (note Mitch T, a Canal regular, won the 45-49 division). But other than that, The Boss had no real competition, just the usual assortment of good, strong Boss wannabees. I again headed out with the B group that included Nathan, Flyin Tuna, Mark V, Kevin Kramer (celebrating a birthday) and 3-4 others. I couldn’t get out of the parking lot without Peggster yelling some obnoxious stuff at me but I showed maturity and did not inflame the situation.
The route was 38 miles, which seemed a little long for the available amount of daylight. We hit the Slough hill and picked up Amanda on the way up to add to the group and headed on out Winchester before a right on Kauffman, past the golf course, followed by some decent climbing out to Crumley. I did my best to keep the group together, admonishing another addition to the group, Retro George, to ease up and let a couple of people back on. I was truly looking out for the welfare of my fellow cyclists, as usual. However, the combination of effort from Nathan, George and even Tuna, conspired to cut up the group a little and eventually we were down to 5, with a short-cut thrown in to reduce the route. We rode into the parking lot with 33 miles and a 19mph average. Already there, having ridden the longer route was The Boss and Tim, with a 22mph average. I opened the trunk of my car and there was a banana peel. Who would toss a banana peel into my car and I recalled I had removed another a couple of week ago. The list of suspects with a motive to drop a banana peel in my car is a long one I will admit and I should be thankful whatever is left in my car is not ticking. However.....
......I examined images I had taken before the ride and if one looks closely, between Pastor Mark on the left and Mitch on the right, then focuses a little deeper into the back of Peggster's open back hatch, scan up a little and what's that....what's that yellow object resting on a towel on top of a box????? BUSTED!!!!
Belinda, still feeling the rush of winning the New Albany sign sprint against THE Tuna, has signed up for a triathlon in Akron, set for this weekend. Good luck!
I had intended to skip the Covered Bridge ride to watch the Buckeyes but figured out I could still do a 50-60 mile loop and make it back in time. After Thursday’s New Albany ride, Dennis and I planned to meet at 8:00am but I was a little late. Fortunately, others were late too and so around 8:15, Dennis, Larry P, Aaron, Todd L, Lisa A and I took off. Interesting to ride in an area through which we ride all the time but somehow we did it on roads seldom ridden. Eventually we worked our way over to and through Amanda, out Hamburg and a right onto Meister took us into hill country with good riding up and down. Someone said there was a 55 mile cut-off but having not seen a turn-off following a circuitous route that seemed to indicate more riding to the east was coming, I stopped at the bottom of Macdonald Road for a map check, while everyone whizzed by. This was the first time I had looked at the map and noted there was no 55 mile loop so I decided to take a direct route back to Canal. I was in good enough shape time wise that I could afford a quick stop in Amanda where a local entertained me with a story about Lance’s entourage as they came through Amanda last week. I made it back to Canal with exactly 55 miles and after the game, wished I had missed the game and completed the route. Below is Dennis, dressed in a new outfit he acquired while at Martha's Vineyard for some vacation time. While I have been impressed this year with Oxley's white/black/white ensemble and Belinda's sky blue bike, sky blue jersey and sky blue helmet mix, being the only judge I believe the year is far enough along to go ahead and award Dennis the "Best Dressed Award", even though it does not match that bike.
Having only ridden 55 miles on Saturday, I headed back to Canal to catch the Sunday morning start out of Cyclist Connection and was surprised by a large group, maybe 40 cyclists for an 8:00am start. A 5K run was in progress and as we rode through Canal, the leaders were approaching the finish line. A man was leading with a woman about 50 yards back. As Donna rode by she urged the woman with a scream of, “GO, kick his ass!” We headed out Waterloo and were set for a typical route down to Amanda. Randy Brown and I had been working together and were soon alone, with me mostly gassed. At some point he swung left and I pulled through and asked if he wanted to slow and be social to let a couple of guys back on, or keep going. He replied, “Let’s be social”. No sooner had he said that he kicked it in gear again and off we went, soon cruising into Amanda. With some regrouping, we headed east toward Christmas Rock. Randy swung off the front as we approached the climb and I took over, wrongly thinking with just the two of us again, we would have a undramatized climb. WRONG! At the first ramp, he sprinted around me but I began clawing back on and even though he had an asthmatic attack that forced him to use only one lung and I think he also dropped his chain once, he still reached the top ahead of me. The route into Lancaster designated a right turn onto Stump Hollow but I wished Randy well and went directly to the 4 Reasons restaurant. Good food but I guesstimate we were there for almost an hour, a little long. I kept a low profile to avoid the punishment of riding back with Randy and instead headed back with Brad and Scott. Pulled into Amanda with 54 miles and with 109 for the weekend, that was enough.
A large turnout of cycling types for the New Albany ride and all hailed the return of Jeff S as ride leader and note how attentive everyone was, once Jeff began to speak. The guy should run for office some day as a silk-tongued smoothy. 42-45 people attended but interestingly, A riders were under represented at the top with the notable absence of the Walker, Trek/Echelon, Savage Hill & other racers.
One could cut the tension in the air with a knife. On the one hand, there was Flyin Tuna, the clear cut Queen of Thursday's New Albany rides and the hungry upstart Belinda H. plotting her ascent to the Queen's throne. Man, I expected a cat fight to break out but the two decided to let their wheels and cranks do the talking.
Making a rare appearnce was the gal with the pink brush on top of her helmet. I don't understand the fashion statement but then I don't understand many things so no surprise. On the right is Mick.
Belinda had approached the ride with great trepidation, unsure if her fanatical exercise routine of the last several months had put her in a position to spank Cindy B. After the A’s left, then the B’s there were still around 15 C cyclists and yes, it was a strange feeling to have hung back but I had promised Belinda if she came out I would accompany her and make sure she did not get lost. Jeff S had departed earlier so with no one to announce the start, I yelled, “C’s out” and off we went. It became apparent, as we rode the opening uphill stretch toward Kitzmiller, that Cindy wanted to punish the hapless and so she set a pace that shelled over half the C group. One of the unwritten rules of cycling is if you are an A rider and drop back to the B group, or a B rider and drop back to the C group, you ride at their pace and not hammer them. Cindy, seemed to relish the opportunity to ride these people off her wheel but Belinda wisely tucked in behind and I noticed, drafted comfortably, happy to let George Foreman wear herself out pummeling her opponent on the ropes.
We headed out Jug, left onto Clover Valley, right onto Green Chapel and then down Duncan Plains into Alexandria, skipping a longer loop to stay on the 30 mile route. Early on, we were unsure if we could maintain a 15mph pace to make it back before dark but our average had been steady at 16-17 so it appeared we were in good shape. We were now down to 7 cyclists and heading out Jersey Mill and that long, slightly uphill stretch. Cindy continued to set a brutal pace, trying unsuccessfully to drop everyone. We waited at the top of the climb and while looking back, I noted a large group approach…………SWEET SALVATION!!!!!!!! THE A GROUP!!!!! Like a starving man having a steak waved in front of him, I impulsively jumped in and rode the remaining joyful miles with Dennis, Big Muscle Dude, Mick, Terry, Colnago Dude, et, al. They finished with a 22.5 average, my blended A and C average was 18.6 and the C average was 16.5. Feeling guilty………..
........I rode back to make sure everything was ok and missed the sign sprint, with the result signaled by Belinda's raised arm! There is a new Queen at the New Albany ride. Now, Belinda, suspecting I would twist certain facts, authored her own report, presented here:
Here is MY ride report….
Thursday night I rode with the COP group for the very first time to fulfill a promise I made to Mark Wilson (my so-called friend of 25 years) at the beginning of the year (my rookie riding year) that I would ride with ‘his’ group some time during the year. And his promise to me was that he would take one for the team on that night and ride WAY back in the C group with me. He even gave me this story about how he did a rugged trail run the day before so that I would not be detrimental to his rigorous workout regimen.
Mark meant well as the ride began. He loudly announced that he would lead the C group. Well, that lasted exactly 16 miles. When the A group passed us, he yelled back at us “find your own way back, you bunch of slowpokes!” and he was gone for good, grabbing the wheel of the unlucky rider that was last to pass. Luckily Cindy was true to HER promise to not drop me and she lead on. For anyone that was near me during the ride, you found out that I like to talk. Our little ‘lead’ C group turned into 6 riders and at least 3 of them at some point or another got close enough to me that I had a conversation and each was quite enjoyable.
Now I have a note for Mark. Have you ever actually read the COP guidelines for rides? C riders are between a 13 and 16 mph pace. So you lead us, but how many times did I look down and find the pace well over 20 mph?!? The others in the C group made comments about how aggressive the C group pace was tonight. I ended the night at 28 miles at 16.76 mph. Thank goodness it was a flat route.
Thanks to all the really nice folks I met tonight. Thank you Cindy for accepting the duties of ride leader after we were unceremoniously dumped. Thank you to those who invited me to The Eagle afterwards (sorry I couldn’t). And Mark, the best I have for you is…..Karma is a B$#@%.
Belinda H., once a hopelessly overweight chubster, is making her first appearance at the Thursday, New Albany ride, tonight. She'll start with the C riders, work her way up to the B's and then put the hammer down and catch the A's before the finish. Take a moment to welcome her before the start.
After a 2 month hiatus, during which he cared for his wife and new baby, worked several jobs, volunteered at soup kitchens and must have found some time to ride, Ryan Roe returned. One of our pelotons true good guys but a diabolical route maker, he was welcomed back but I dread him producing maps for future rides. On the left is Jeff S., recovering from a vacation, during which he caught a cold but has almost recovered
Recumbent Dude, returned from India and bearing tribute, in this case a Made in China refrigerator magnet purchased from a stall at an Indian market. It is now hanging on my refrigerator door as I fend off efforts by my kids to get rid of the bizarre looking thing
Kevin H, apparently in good cheer despite making the drive up from Circleville without his normal driving companion, Randy Drum. Randy's back pain has become so bad he is contemplating going under the knife.
Perfect weather night but surprisingly lower turnout. The diminished daylight must make the drive less than worthwhile for some although there were still 35-40 cyclists. We faced a flatish route and a large group of 12-15 rolled out with the A’s. We headed out Waterloo into Lithopolis at a very high pace that reduced the quantity to maybe 8 as The Boss & Mitch T took turns turning the screws on us. The stoplight allowed some regrouping and then back to hammer time with Mitch taking a pull and missing the turn right on Oregon Road. Those of us who realized what had happened, slowed while Mitch, Craig, Jamie and 2 others kept going. There was some frantic discussion about continuing or turning around. I began to turn just as everyone else shot forward, never to catch that front group. I headed back to Oregon Road to get back onto the route but was too late to catch a large group of B’s so had to ride hard before acquiring them and enjoyed drafting to recover. This group included, among others, Mark V, Nathan, Kevin K, Amanda and soon we came across Jeff S and Ryan, who joined us. At one point, Amanda took a pull but with wind out of the east, as we were going south, she clung to the right edge, almost in the gutter. I rode alongside and yelled. "Todd Lee,....Todd......., quit riding in the gutter". She didn't get it so I explained when one is pulling the goal is to allow those behind to draft, not punish them by making them hang to the left in the wind., a tactic Todd, as a wiley veteran, enjoys pulling on me.
We worked our way over to Fosnough School Road and the climb up to Ridge, which eliminated a few and when we turned onto Cedar Hill there were 5 of us left. By staying on Cedar Hill we followed the route but having been recently chipped & sealed, it was a bad road to follow. We turned onto a newly paved Mitchell Road and then onto Sitterly and into Canal. My average was skewed low because of a couple of stops and slowdowns but it was 19.9 for 39 miles. Jamie, the former Group Killer, did come out and rode well but eventually fell back. He remains on track for a half marathon in October and is running 6:45 miles for 12 mile runs.
After the ride, a large group of us hit Shades and had a good time in there, although service is very slow. Prior to entering we had all changed into street clothes except Jamie, always on the lookout for a score walked into Shades in cycling shorts and jersey. I noted more men turned to stare then women and soon Jamie became embarrassed and left to don a pair of sweatpants. Steve O again ordered a no calorie water and half a salad, instructing the waitress to scrub the lettuce of any calories.