Silent Dave has again stepped forward and will be leading the "Winter Wonder Series", a weekly ride (weather permitting) from different locations, every Saturday, beginning this Saturday (weather permitting again). Check out the Columbus Outdoor Pursuits website for more information. This Saturday's location, (weather permitting yet again) is Cyclist Connection in Canal Winchester. I think 9:00am is the start time. Silent Dave is this year's winner of the "Best Map of the Year" award but more on that later, along with all the other award winners (best dressed, worst dressed, rider of the year, rider who does the mostest with the leastest, etc....). Thanks to Andrew C for the above image.
An Epic Day
I deserved it. I know, if Steve O had done what I did today he'd have ordered salad (hold the dressing), if Dave Chesrown had done it he'd have ordered a hamburger (hold the bun), if Grand Poobah had done it he'd have ordered BLT (hold the bacon and bun), if Flyin Tuna had done it she'd have ordered a triple bacon cheeseburger (add the kitchen). Anyway, more on this below.
So, I left the parking lot in front of "La Buzz" a popular cyclist eatery at 9:30am, a little late but it was great to ride along with temps in the mid 70's and plenty of sun. I arrived at the foot of Mount Lemmon after 4.5 miles and began the grind up. Previously, my Garmin had always been stuffed in my cycling jersey so I never got a good look at the steepness of the climb but I put the Garmin on my winter beater bike and was able to follow the % of the climb. On the way up, an emergency vehicle passed me with sirens blaring, then a sheriff's SUV and then another emergency vehicle. At mile 10, I saw this couple try to flag down the sheriff as he was headed back down. I stopped. They had been hiking in a group, a mix up resulted in them being left behind, without a means of getting off the mountain. I got all the info and later where cell service was available, called one of their parents and got them a ride. Meantime, the emergency vehicle stopped, not offering them a ride, but told me a cyclist had been descending and ran into a deer that had jumped into the road. He said, "He was busted up pretty good." Told me to be careful, ouch.
The incredible views are plenty and help pass the time. In previous attempts, I guessed the % grade was 9-10 all the way but it is an amazingly consistent 4-6%, a few pitches at 7 and a couple of 8 percenters in there but 80% is 4-6%. Towards the top, 6% feels so much harder.
The road is a ribbon of asphalt descending to Tuscon. The air was chillier higher up and felt great.
About 2/3 of the way up, the scenery is awesome. At mile 20 of the climb, I stopped at a campground that had water and filled two empty water bottles. At mile 21, I reached the end of continuous climbing and enjoyed a 2 mile descent before climbing about a mile, then descending into Summerhaven, a small village close to the top of the mountain. There is another road that heads 2 more miles further up the mountain to the ski slopes but having done that once, that's enough.
I sat on the patio of the restaurant and ate part of the hamburger and a few of the fries. My fingers were numb even though the temp was in the low 60's. Must have been a circulation issue. The 2004 Aspen Fire is still in evidence as this was once covered in trees but they are coming back. Coasted back down and finished with 60 miles, 6850' of climbing, a very sad 9.2mph avg on the climb part of the ride and a very, very sad 3:12 climb time (from the parking lot to Summerhaven which I put here only for my personal reference next time I do this ride). Doesn't seem right that this ride report is positioned in front of Marty's. Kind of like an Edsel leading out a Lamborghini.
We had a group of local riders that were interested in doing the Hincapie Fondo this year. This is the second year for the Fondo
and all the reports from last year’s Fondo made it sound fantastic. The morning started out brisk, it was the coldest morning
yet for the season. I am guessing that it was probably 34F at the start and it was clear and sunny. It quickly warmed up and probably hit the low 60’s by afternoon.
Hincapie invites some of his pro cyclist friends to add to the celebrity atmosphere. They had remote controlled helicopters
with cameras at the start and plenty of news people. The ride started around 9am and for some reason the cold start did not seem to bother anyone. A peloton formed that included the celebrity riders and maybe 150 or more fondo racers. There would be prizes handed out for the fastest chip time up Skyuka Mountain (largest climb of the day at about 1,800 ft) and the overall finish. The pace for the first 20+ miles before Skyuka Mountain was not as much of a problem as the curves in the road. We saw numerous riders overcooking turns and I had my wheels slip a little on some of the turns.
The peloton was largely intact at 22+ miles when we hit the base of Skyuka Mountain. The climb is a little over 4 miles long and has an average grade of 9%. It seemed much longer when riding it. There were 7 riders that individually broke off the front of the peloton soon after we hit the climb. The peloton slowly became smaller and the pace was set by the celebrity riders (I think there were 6) and George Hincapie himself. After a mile the pace had thinned the peloton and I was riding shoulder to shoulder with George Hincapie. Michael Schär was in front of me, Christian Vande Velde was to his side, Taylor Phinney was in front of him, Steve Bauer was in the mix. The celebrity riders were setting a hard pace up this climb but they would stick together for the rest of the ride and were not racing. The remaining riders in the peloton were there to win the prizes which included a top of the line BMC road bike for first male and first female finishers. There was some commotion in the peloton about half way up the climb when we were joined by Tom Danielson who had a flat tire and who was pulled up the hill by the Mavic motorcycle which was carrying spare wheels just for this purpose. Tommy D. took the spot in front of me at the front of the peloton. I noticed that he was riding a Cervelo that had a very similar paint job and I wished that I was wearing my favorite Garmin Jersey. The celebrity riders were joking around and talking about someone’s contract, then George did a fake attack. He rode off to the side and gapped the group while glancing back repeatedly. Everyone laughed and he fell back into the group. Two more celebrity riders played the same
game and more laughs. After a while, around 3 miles into the climb the road flattened just a little and the pace stayed about the same. I stayed in the saddle and just slowly rode ahead of the group. The group may have had as few as 20 riders in it by now and a long stream of riders behind them. As the road steepened again, I was off in front of the group and I tried to pick up the pace. Not long after, there were two riders out of their saddles passing me on the left. I was working hard and just kept my same pace. The first of the two kept going but the super skinny second rider stalled and I soon passed him. I asked him, how are things going, as I passed him. He was not amused, he gave me a dirty look and just fell back to the group. The other guy stalled after a short time and he would not look at me as I passed him.
As I passed through the chip timer near the top, I was told that I was the 8th guy up Skyuka Mountain. Jon Morgan had already told me that he looked at last year’s results and the majority of the guys who finished first up Skyuka Mountain did not end up doing well in the overall finish. I was a little worried myself but quickly passed most of the guys who crested the mountain first. I was not really sure how many of the 7 guys that I had passed. I was solo on the difficult hairpin turns on the decent. They had caution signs for some of the difficult turns and volunteers waving flags on the more deadly hairpin off camber turns. Billy Campbell had scared us pretty good with decent stories the night before at dinner and it was probably a good thing.
At the bottom of Skyuka Mountain a dark Ford police car pulled out in front of me and lead the way. It had lots of red and blue
flashing lights all over the car but no lights on top. He stayed about 25 yards in front of me and I was feeling good. I now took all my arm warmers, vest and extra gloves and put them in my jersey pockets. Somehow while transferring everything from the vest pockets to the jersey pockets I seemed to be missing some snacks. At this point in the ride I had about 50 miles until the finish. They had police at every intersection, and volunteers helping them. I could see them talking on radios and calling out split times. After riding really hard for what seemed like 15 miles, I was at the top of Howards Gap and I finally asked a volunteer how many guys were in front of me. He told me that there was only one guy in front of me and that he could see at least a mile behind me and could not see the peloton. I later learned that I had put 5 minutes on the peloton around this time. The Skyuka Mountain climb had broken up the riders and it was not until they regrouped and started working together would they start closing the gap.
It was very windy and I was having some trouble judging my pace. I have a good idea what my maximum pace is for the last 40 miles of rollers. A friend that was familiar with the area had told me to expect a course with mostly rollers. I figured that I would ride my max 40 mile roller pace and I would just have to keep it up for 50 miles. I was not expecting a 78 mile course with 8,700 ft of difficult climbing and brutal winds.
Somehow that did not really matter at the time. I was more focused on just trying to catch the police car. Sometimes he would
shoot up a hill and slow at the top and wait for me. I did not want to keep him waiting and would motivate myself to race up another hill. I also was a little confused by the attention I would get when passing through small towns with the police escort. They would clear all of the cars out of the way and people would cheer me on, I assume they saw the police car and thought that something important was going on. The guys with radios would be yelling split times like they expected me to catch the guy in front of me,
everyone would look at these guys with radios yelling and then look at me, more cheering. As I started to tire, I turned up my music and just rode harder. I stayed focused on the cool air, eating my snacks and taking sips from my bottles. But it was chasing the police car that was my main motivation.
Then police car pulled over to the far side of the road and stopped. I was not sure what to think. I wondered if he knew that the peloton would soon catch me and was giving up on me. Soon after that I started another big shady climb, one that had signs on each switchback and I was at switchback 16 out of 17. That did not make much sense for two reasons, first, this did not look like the rollers that I was promised. Second, why would they count the switchbacks in reverse order. All that I knew was that I needed to ride as fast as I could and that is what I did. I now knew why the police car had stopped, no one would want to drive a car up this
hillside. It was only one lane wide and two cars would not be able to pass if someone was coming down.
After this 17 switchback climb, the rest of the course was mostly rollers, flat or slightly descending with wind being the main
obstacle. I just pedaled as fast as I could and I finished second place with the peloton slowly breaking up along the way and working itself down to something like 6 guys. They were able to work together and close the gap to about 1.5 minutes and they sprinted for the remain podium spot.
Marty on the left, next to Winston David and then Steve Bauer next to Podium Girl. David's time was 4:02, Marty's was 4:17 for this 80 mile route. Other times of some of our local favorites who populate our rides were Jon Morgan--4:38, Terry Griffith--5:08, Gus Cook--5:10, Steve Nelson--5:52, Rick Miller--5:52, Peggy Cook--6:40.
Tour De Tucson & the Wash
The Tour de Tucson attracts cyclists from all over, numbering approximately 9000 and this year will include Tym and Lisa Tyler and Marty Sedluk. I wonder if Marty is aware of the two wash crossings though. I rode from Oro Valley to Mount Lemmon and scoped out one of the crossings, one side shown above. Note the boulders that serve to "thin" the line and at the other end....
......trees and more boulders. Note too the size of the rocks and what is a very flimsy piece of plywood. It appeared at one end some fresh pea gravel had been poured and my tire sank above the rim. A local claimed the area is smoothed a little but I think this will be a good place to visit with the camera on 11/23 and take images of the three Ohioians.
I reached the base of Mount Lemmon and headed up to mile 9 where I stopped and....
....took an image at one of the many pullouts. Good place to turn around and head back, finishing with 66 miles and 4500' of climbing. The day before I rode back up to Oracle and did the "Coody Loop" a new road recently paved and finished with 55 miles. Also got in a hike out of Saguaro Park. Saturday was a rest day and we headed to Patagonia, a small town in the grasslands at a higher elevation than the Tucson area. The weather has been great but a front is coming through on Monday and the temps will drop into the 70's. So, planning an epic day on the bike, Sunday.
Catching Up and Awesome Mount Graham
So, arrived on Friday evening, got everything opened up at the condo, picked up the necessary supplies at the "Frys" (the southwest's version of "Krogers"), pulled the bike out of its 4 month hibernation in a closet, got it running and good to go for a Saturday ride. I headed north on Oracle Road through the town of Catalina, past the retirement community of "Saddlebrook" (was in the national news yesterday when a 60+ year-old guy found his 60+ year-old wife with a 24 year-old man and shot him) and to Oracle.
I ran in to "Theresa" a very fit woman probably around 65 who regularly wins half Ironman events in her age group and finished 4th in this years 'Worlds" event in Las Vegas. After refueling, I headed back to Oro Valley, 47 miles, 2500" of climbing and in time to watch the Buckeye kick-off.
The next day I drove 135 miles to the base of Mount Graham. At close to 11,000' elevation, it is Arizona's highest peak and one passes through five major botanical regions on the way to the peak. It is similar to driving from Mexico to Canada but in only 30 miles. Each year, the Arizona State Road Race Championship is held here was participants go from the base to the 20 mile mark but the road continues onward and upward but rolling thereafter to mile 30.
Close to the base is a market and federal prison. I stopped at the market and inquired where I may be allowed to park. The two ladies working in the market said I could park next to their cars and I pulled in, got everything together and prepared to shove off. I had two water bottles and a 3rd in a rear pocket as I had heard there was no water along the route. One of the ladies came out and I asked if there was water anywhere on the route. She replied, "What do you mean by water?" This had me stumped but I replied, "Drinking water" as if that couldn't be obvious and she shrugged and said she did not think so. I hit my Garmin and headed up.. The Garmin searched and searched but could not acquire a signal. I chalked it up to the extensive power lines running in to the prison and figured I'd get a signal eventually. Five miles later I did.
I arrived at a sign and paused to check the route. I paused to wonder how much farther I wanted to go. I had intended this as a scouting mission rather than attempt the summit. The miles ticked by and even though there is no berm along the road for a bike, there is also no cars. On the way up I had a car pass at the rate of one every 2 miles and maybe one every mile coming down. Talk about remote. This is in the middle of no where and while the sign above indicated there was water available, that was at two spots and only from Memorial to Labor day.
Around mile 10 I paused to snap this image. Damn, this was steep and much more difficult then Mount Lemmon. Lemmon is ranked the 9th most difficult climb in the US while Graham is #8. Big difference. Saw a rather large snake along the road so turned around to check it out but not a rattler, just a really quick snake that slithered away too fast for an image.
Reaching mile 12, I stopped, took an image of the destination, which you can barely see above with the antennas on the ridge, through the trees. The temperature up there was in the low 50's and I didn't have the right gear so stopped and plan to go back soon for the full summit attempt. From bottom to top the elevation gain is almost 8000'. Well, time for a hike.
Well, I have some news that will be very disappointing to all, well most....maybe some of you. I want to let you down slowly so I'll begin with a hint:
Note the vegetation difference from our usual surrounding. OK, another hint:
Note the difference in the view from our normal surroundings. Yes, I am headed to Arizona, this Friday. While I will be gone for a glorious long time, I will continue to post available ride or hike or cross country skiing options for those of you who will remain in central Ohio. I'll post my ride and hike reports here as usual and welcome anyone sending me their ride or hike reports to be posted here.
This is a trade-off of course for me. I'll miss many of you and the fun times me have on the bike but I'll try to compensate for that loss with warm weather, sunshine and tons of outdoor activities. Lastly, don't hate me. I want to be here and suffer through the coldening days with you, really I do.
We, the dew sweepers, arrived at Rick Miller's house for an awesome ride north, south, east and west. Great scenery, great weather, a great route and a great deal of pain. 3 out of 4 isn't bad. Among the riders were two, wearing authentic merino wool jerseys. Set a record for most wool jersey cyclists since the 1950's in an Ohio-based group ride/
Kevin Swabb, in the background, wearing a "Seven" branded, long sleeve wool jersey having the OSU colors of scarlet and grey. How cool is that and rare too.
Our host, Rick Miller, demonstrably making various points about cycling etiquette and telling all that drivers are friendly toward cyclists in the area so don't do stupid stuff that screws things up for him.
We shove off, missing a late arriving Marty Sedluk & friends. Hendra, an early arrival, hung back to wait for Marty, thus forming a "super" group behind our fun bunch of 18-20. We rolled in to Danville, following a rolling route, at mile 25. where I thought we would stop to refuel. However, while Rick, Frank Seebode, Farmer Mike and I stopped, everyone else kept rolling, including Marty's bunch who caught and passed us. Rick pulled me though one climb after another until we finally caught up with Greg Dubois, Joe G, Flyin Tuna, Jeff S and Kevin Swabb.
Finally, at mile 40, we arrived in Glenmount for a stop. Here the group split, some for the 100 mile route, others for the 77. Immediately after leaving Glenmount on the 77 mile option, we hit the wall on Clifton Road, a climb I remember well from KCBC or maybe from the COP Gambier roving ride. Steep and long, just the kind I try to avoid but we managed to surmount it and continued on to Bladensburg.
During our break in B-burg, I mentioned that we were 12 miles from the end. I based this on it being a 77 mile route and we were at 66 miles and earlier I heard Rick tell us Bladensubrg was 12 miles from his house. Curiously, the always combative Flyin Tuna challenged me, saying we were no more than 6-7 miles from Rick's house. I challenged her to put her money where her mouth is and bet $1. Geesh,that was too easy.
Finished with 77 miles, 6900' of climbing and a fun day on a bike with brilliant weather and scenery.
Saturday is shaping up to be a great weather day and coincidentally, there are great riding options too! COP has a ride at 7:45am of 50 miles off Clear Creek Road and then there is the Leaf Peeper's Tour out of Nelsonville but sounds like many of the locals are headed to Utica for a Rick Miller ride with the details below from Rick. I believe there is a broad mix of fitness at Rick's ride with Flyin Tuna making an appearance. I heard Grand Poobah is doing the Leaf Peepers ride, along with Kenda Janet.
Time: 8:30 AM
Where: Rick millers house 18735 Utica rd Utica, oh 43080
There will be 3 route options 55 Miles 3500 ft (3:40-3:50)
77 Miles 5300 ft (4:45-5:00)
101 Miles 8500 ft (6:50-7:20)
will have maps for each ride also
All three share the first 25 miles option two and three share the first 39 miles
Plenty of food stops along the way, make sure you bring some cash!
All are welcome, pass along to your riding buddies.
Here are the GPS routes to download
55 mile routehttp://ridewithgps.com/routes/3489656
77 mile routehttp://ridewithgps.com/routes/3489608
101 mile routehttp://ridewithgps.com/routes/3489787
If any questions please email me or call me.(614)266-8822
Dang, Marty's time from the Levi Leipheimer GranFondo. Results are not assembled by route or by category so don't yet know in which place our boy finished although do know Neil Shirley came in first with a time of 4:38 on the 103 mile Gran route with 9000' of climbing. Dave Chesrown's time was 6:51 so must be a story in there.
The Fall HOOT Ride Report
The dawn of what is likely the final ride of the year at which it is warm enough for the basic wear, the Fall HOOT ride out of Carroll, OH. Interesting to have a route that goes into the Hocking Hills area but with only one significant climb. Kind of nice after months of hilly monsters. More to come.
I Rode Alongside the Winner
Steve Oxley, riding furiously on top of his "Mean Machine" stormed through the "Bridge to Bridge" riding alongside the eventual winner. Steve finished with an impressive time of 5:55 for the 100 mile climbing event. Hard to believe that a sub 6 hour time nets only a 71st place finish but that speaks well of the 70 who finished ahead of Steve. As for riding alongside the winner, Steve says he sat next to the winner (time under 5 hours) on the shuttle bus ride down off the final mountain.
The guy who used to ride away from us all, sent me the below update and added that he is thinking about hosting a series of winter trail runs at various parks such as Burr Oak, Great Seal, Tar Hollow, etc... More to come on that later. But from Craig:
Lest you think Luke and I have devolved into fall beer drinking marathons, well, we have, but we ran the Not your Mama ultra this
weekend at Great Seal State Park. I run here a lot. By my and all standards an ass kicker, but a great place to run or mountain
As I'm off to Chicago next weekend for the marathon, I backed off and ran the 100k. It was a 4 lap affair that was 65 miles. Despite stomach troubles I finished in 14 hours and change. Second place overall.
Luke, fresh off his ironman decided on the 100 mile affair. The sick bastard finished in just over 30 hours. Awesome. Not certain of how many finished the run this year, but last year only 3 made it.