Eve was a lonely, female as none of the usual female suspects showed up for Saturday’s Canal Winchester ride.. No, Sarge, no Flyin Tuna, no Canal Susan, no Kenda Janet no Hot Mama, not even a cold mama….…just Jeff S, Pastor Mark, Steve O , Mark R, Tim F, Ross, Bob Allen and Wily Veteran Todd. Even Todd had to be coaxed to join us as initially, even with electrically heated shoes, he was put off by the 28 degree start temperature.
The closing of the Rushville Coffee House caused Bob to opt for last Sunday’s hilly route down to Stoutesville. We started out Winchester, drafting behind Eve at a pace with which I was satisfied but soon Pastor Mark, Jeff and Steve jumped around and so too did Mark R, Ross and Tim and then after turning onto the hills on Amanda Northern, things settled out to a group of Pastor Mark, Jeff, Steve, Todd and I. My multiple layers of clothing, perfect for a medium paced winter ride, were soon yielding buckets of perspiration for the high intensity pace Steve O was setting and I volunteered my plan to drop back. Except, no one was back there and I spent a lonely several miles between Steve’s group and the others I could not see. Turning left on Royalton, I still had Steve and gang in sight and after topping out at Rock Mill & Royalton I was surprised to find them waiting for me—what a great bunch of guys! I decided to hang with them and soon we were cruising through the tough route with Steve, curiously, jumping out of our pack midway through each climb to claim fictitious KOM points. Eventually, I commented how impressed I was with his demonstration of summiteering but noted the rest of us, as worker bees, contributed to his success. Pastor Mark, aware I had not yet taken a pull, observed I was more like larvae rather than an actual adult bee. Very funny but also very true. Towards the end of the outbound route I took a decent pull up a long hill, turning things over to Todd who hammered for a mile and then Steve took over for the balance of the ride to the Shell station in Stoutesville. By then we had 34 miles and 2400’ of climbing.
We walked into the market to find Mark R, Eve, Ross and Tim preparing to leave but Mark R was talked into staying behind to join us. The usual verbal jabs were thrown around and I noted how life someday will really suck when age prevents participation in this fun group of cut throats whose competitive zeal is only modestly muted by the off-season. We enjoyed a wind aided return but got split up and eventually Todd, Pastor Mark and I reached the base of Cedar Hill. Todd pulled up the first ramp and rotated back, leaving me to pull. I’m no dummy, well alright, but smart enough to recognize city sign sprinting 101 tactics and calculated Todd expected me to pull for 1/8 of a mile, then Mark would put in a monster pull and Todd would swoop around for the sign sprint win at the end. However, I was feeling good and pulled all the way to within 100 yards where, predictably, Todd took the Lithopolis sprint. I shockingly continued to pull all the way into Canal where Todd and Mark gifted me the win there. We finished with 55 miles, 3300’ of climbing and temperatures for most of the ride in the 40's and finishing in the low 50's. Great day for a ride and so too was Sunday but with a nasty SW wind. Still, a smallish group of 14 showed up including Dennis, Jeff S, Trek Echelon guy, Savage Hill guy, Canal Susan, Dentist Brad, Tim F, Bob A, Donna, Rick from Cyclist Connection, Mark R and a couple of others, including.....
.....a guy who spent the 30 minutes leading up to the ride start warming up on a trainer. Now, that's serious preparation. We headed directly into the wind via Winchester, jogging onto 188, a quick right and then a left on Stoutesville-Oakland Pike back to Stoutesville, where I have spent more cash at that Shell station than any other place in the last few weeks. Although the route had options for 45, 55 and 65 miles, a large group of us took the 45 mile direct route back. 46 miles, 2000' of climbing and yet again, a brilliantly sunny day with a start temperature at 52 degrees and an end temperature close to 60!
Don't let the snow and rain of today get to you. Tomorrow (Saturday) it will be sunny and 52!!! The Ride to Rushville Cofee House is on for 9:00am, starting at Cyclist Connection but note the RCH is closed so event organizers are plotting an alternative stop. Sunday's forecast has suddenly turned grim but the usual Sunday ride also from CC at 9:00 is available, weather permitting.
I had heard the Saturday Canal ride had been understandably lightly attended so I anticipated a large turnout for Sunday’s Canal ride but apparently too many were nursing hangovers because we had only 12-15 cyclists, Jeff S, Mark R, Canal Susan, Dentist Brad, Bikin Bob & wife on a tandem, Ross, Tim F, Steve H, Really Tall Dude, etc.. Start temp was 38 and Tim F exhausted every conceivable warning about riding safety before sending us off.
Wow, a very hilly route, heading out Winchester all the way to the hills on Amanda Northern where I ATTACKED…well…not really but I was very cold so picked up the pace a little and after coasting to the stop sign at Slough was surprised only Jeff S was there, riding comfortably and looking bored. We headed up the next hill and decided not to drill it but ride so someone could catch, which I expected it to be Mark R but instead another guy I don’t know much, let’s call him Rider A. Riding with Jeff is fun because he is offended if someone else attempts to take a pull..my kind of guy!!!! We turned east on Royalton and I thought I should take a pull but after 1/64 of a mile, Jeff went around me and I latched onto his wheel up to Rockmill. We proceeded east and Jeff hammered on the hills all the way to Zion, where turning right, we kept going to Zion, Crumley, Shaw, Westfall and then the dreaded climb on Delmont, staying straight for a screaming descent past the old pig farm before emerging on Hamberg.
Here we did a map check and I switched from winter gloves to lighter weight gloves and wished I could do something about the other outerwear that was drenched. I asked Jeff if he had a race next weekend, to which he replied “No, why do you ask?” Because, I said, you’re riding like you’re training for a race. We headed west and then soon took a left on Landis, a wonderful stretch of gentle rolling stretches with ironman Jeff continuing to pull. Soon we came out on Julian, then Stoutsville Oakland and soon the Sunocco at Stoutsville. The three of us sat down and waited, but not tool long before Bob Wadell on the tandem and Mark R rolled in, followed soon thereafter by the others, including Brad riding without a seat. A bolt had been sheared so he had to ride standing for awhile but fortunately, a couple of locals offered to fix it and with a new bolt, the bike was as good as new. A group of us headed out for a fairly straight forward return via Ringold, onto Marcy and then Cedar Hill. We ended with 55 miles and 3300’ of climbing. At the food stop, we had 32 miles and 2600’ of climbing. Our average speed was 17.2mph. Probably, after a glorious stretch of weekend weather we have reached the end but there are many of us ready to ride in dismal conditions and I’ll keep the options posted. Also, while at the rest stop, I listened to Bikin Bob Wadell describe an adventure he and his wife took too the Artic Circle via their bikes. An excellent ride report can be found at this link:
Having once competed and finished 10th in a field of 11 at the Hocking Hills Challenge, a reallly real race many years ago in a CAT 23 level I can attest this link is freakin funny: http://jaredroy.blogspot.com/2009/11/bike-racers-are-bunch-of-unappreciative.html If any of you have ever raced, hosted a race, thought about racing oir watched a race on tv, this is very funny.
I was horrified to have received the above image from an anonymous sender. It could be Rhino, the last place prize for the Granville CC, with a cloth wrapped around to prevent the positive ID, being squeezed in a vise. The sender obviously wishes to give me reason to think it is Cindy, torturing the animal. I'll need more proof before believing, the very believable. WEEKEND RIDES: With the OSU game set for noon on Saturday, attractive ride options are few. For Sunday, there is the 9:00am start from Cyclist Connection for the route to Rushville and back. That is a fun route. I have been told by a friend that there are hills north of Martinsburg that are far more difficult than what we typically ride and I have asked for specfic roads so maybe we can get in another moutainous route before the bad weather sets in.
Good turnout for a mid November ride. Rumors swirled that Woody, fresh off his big win at the Granville CC, was going to make a showing but it was not to be. Instead, we had the legendary Todd Lee, Steve O, Jeff S, Flyin Tuna, Kevin K (shown in image), Kevin H., Dennis, Ginger, Amanda, Dentist Brad, Scott, Mitch the Engineer, Ryan R, Kenda Janet, Kenda Paul, Ned, Franz, Tim F, etc...
Kevin H made a rare appearnce. I had inquired about him many times in the last few weeks and must admit, the adjective "portly" had been used to describe his condition but I could not comprehend how vastly his physique had changed. Kevin says he is going to lose 10 pounds this winter but it appeared that would only be a good start to what needed done. Oh well.
Ryan Roe showed up sporting a full beard and talking about becoming a Civil War re-enactor. He certainly looked the part, save for the lack of guant cheeks and protruding ribs and so I looked through dozens of images of generals from the Civil War and found one that is a dead ringer for Ryan's new look.
Bob Allan gave us final instructions and we shoved off at a leisurely pace until hitting Slough, which broke things up a little but the long ride out Winchester, into Carroll got a good group together. A turn onto Plum and that long hill split things again but I noted Ginger, in the midst of racing cycle cross, was with us as our group of 6 crested the hill and coasted down to Havensport and then a quick jog onto Coonpath before turning onto Rainbow. I had to bug out at that point to take off a jacket, put arm warmers on and change gloves. The sun was warming the air and the day was turning into a spectacular day for riding. I waited for the next group to arrive and soon Amanda, Brad, Scott and another guy came by and I jumped on for a leisurely ride all the way to Rushville and a very nice stop at the Rushville Coffee Shop. I had not been there before but the location, service and food selection was great (note, they aren’t open on Sundays).
We made a right out of the coffee shop and coasted down that nice hill, braking for a turn onto Gun Barrel. A few of us took advantage of a hill there to put a gap into those who wanted to ride at an off-season pace and we had a smallish group turning left on Pleasantville and eventually onto Leonard, Bader and then Basil Western. The pace was fairly intense and our group had been whittled down to Steve, Dennis, Ginger, Ryan, Todd and Jeff S. With wind out of the southwest, the wily veteran Todd kept me working hard, keeping his bike on the 4’ of asphalt to the right of the white line so I was unable to draft, even when he took his turn at the front. Dude, don’t do that to a fellow wily veteran! We cruised back to Cyclist Connection with 55 miles.
I returned to Canal Winchester for the Sunday ride and I suspect Roy will have a good description on his blog of his experience taking on Amanda as a stoker on his tandem. While we were riding south on Cedar Hill I noted it appeared Amanda’s calves were neither tightening on the upstroke or down stroke but I don’t know if that means anything, necessarily. Unfortunately, a broken cog ended their expedition at Canal and after Mark R arranged for his wife to pick them up, we continued and I ended up with 40 shortcutting miles.
Ride Update. Seems like most are heading to Canal Winchester for a 9:00am start from Cyclist Connection. A 55 mile route to the Rushville Coffee Shop and back is the planned route. Judging from email traffic, should be a good turn-out for what appears to be a good day weather-wise.
It was a sad, sad day on Wednesday, when I transferred ownership of Rhino, the Granville Climbing Challenge's prize for last place, to Cindy B.. But what was I to do? Technically she "won" the prize and she has been relentless in her pursuit of it. Rhino's usually happy smile was replaced with what surely will be a perpetual frown, if he is lucky, rather than looks of horror. Cindy, Mark C, Jeff S, Susan adn Mike rode to Bremen or something like that on Wednesday. I had intended to ride too but the strong NE wind discouraged me and I ended up running the trail instead. Cindy's group got in 60 miles.
Taken during happier times, Rhino was pleased to get a mention on Roy's Blog.
The awarding of the last place Granville Climbing Challenge “trophy”, a particularly happy go lucky rhinosarus named Rhino, had been unresolved following the completion of Sunday’s ride. Cindy, Mitch and Jeff arrived last in the parking lot because of a flat tire. Apparently, Cindy out manuevered the other two for the “honor” of finishing last among therir group of three. Saturday evening, I began being bombarded with emails, from Cindy, demanding her prize. She rightly claimed she had worked very hard for it. Ignoring Ms Persistent was not an option because she works for the government and can therefore spend hours every day sending out mass emails and perhaps could even mobilize the IRS against me.
I inocently inquired about their incoming route, hoping they had taken a different approach into Granville, permitting me to disqualify her but alas, they had followed the route. I had many concerns, not the least of which was a very real fear Cindy would take my little buddy, stick a needle through his belly and send me the image or worse, lope off his head or leg and send me the body parts (she is very capable of such horrors). Losing all leverage, I asked that I at least have visitation rights and without hesitation I would call Child Services if I detected any cigerette burns or other abuse. She agreed to bring Rhino to a ride each quarter so I could check on him and with that, I gave Rhino the sad news.
Craig Butler completed the Bobcat Trail Marathon, a 29 mile trail run around Burr Oak State Park. Craig, likely somewhat delirious at the time, took a wrong turn that got him briefly off trail but still, he finished 19th with a time of 4:53:05 but more like 4:45 without the detour. 200 people signed up for the event, 170 recorded a finish time although the results page shows something less than that. Craig's average pace was 11:12 over a very hilly, log strewn route that crosses streams forces one to skip around rocks, etc.. Trail running is very differrent from street running and a 11 minute pace for 29 miles is exceptional.
Results can be found here:
A brief run report can be found here by one of the participants.
A guest appearnace by Jamie added to the fun and Amanda, cheerful at the start but less so later, looking around to see if anyone would notice she was taking a second doughnut.
Jeff S, demonstrating a nifty repair trick. I got out my Leonard Zinn bike repair book to see if this is an option to a bike repair stand but could not find any referernce to it.
An all-star cast of cyclists gathered in Granville for the 1st annual Granville Climbing Challenge and boy, did it deliver as advertised and then some! All those hills plus an unexpected gusting wind out of the southwest that was forecast to be at its peak about the time we headed into it. There at the start were Steve O, Woody P, Larry P, Dennis, Roy, Ginger, Friend of Ginger, Cindy B, The Podium Girl, Susan H, Mitch, Jeff S, Franz, Rick, Ned, Kenda Dave and Jamie Roberts the Running Man!
I arrived with doughnuts, large maps, an envelope with the cash prize, winner’s certificate, winner’s stuffed lion and losers stuffed Rhino. I had grown quite fond of that Rhino and had been conspiring to keep it but more on that later. The doughnuts were quickly consumed and everyone seemed prepared for the death march except Dave, who volunteered he would cut the ride short. We turned left out of the parking lot and immediately hit the Thornwood climb (on Sunday’s Canal ride someone in so many words essentially told me that was really dumb to have put a significant climb within 100 yards of the start and I agreed) and then out Burg to Dry Creek and Chatham out to 657, the normal route. Cyclists had gotten very strung out and as the model host, I stayed back to make sure everyone made the turn onto Preston. On one descent, a certain female member of the group got into the aero position with her head way down and rear stuck way high and Roy stated, “You could project a drive-in movie on that space!” Very funny and wish I had witnessed. At Preston, Amanda was the caboose but clearly she was saving her energy for the podium girl performance and after all, had not ridden since mid October. Eventually we all arrived in Utica via Reynolds Road. I scanned the crowd carefully, looking for signs of desperation but everyone appeared in good spirits, still. Curiously, Ned had decided to skip the stop and continue solo. We wondered aloud if this was his way of getting a jump on the hills or had he planned an audacious solo attack for that cash prize.
At the market in Utica. Amanda leaning against her bike for support, Cindy, Ginger, Jeni's rider friend of Ginger and Roy.
No ride through Utica is complete without a ride by the chocolate wheel out Blacksnake and we were not disappointed as even on the weekend, the wheel is churning away. For those who had not seen it before, we tried to convince them it was a subsidiary of Ye Olde Mill, producing a tasty treat in bulk. At the top of the Blacksnake climb we turned left on Cooksey, right on Bell Church and at Purity, the real climbing began. I again played the good host at Purity and waited for the stragglers. Amana came into view and somewhere behind her was Susan, who with a GPS device, would have no problem with the turns. I shadowed Amanda through a stretch that is very much like Blue Jay, GOOD HEAVENS! Eventually I reached Eden Church and there was Roy, Ginger & friend and Franz. I assumed they were being nice and regrouping but no, they had enough and were planning a short cut. Soon, Amanda rolled in and in a millisecond, decided to join the short cutters. There went the podium girl. I had been a nice guy and hung back as the broom sweeper and now was stuck alone. I continued south on Purity and eventually reached Houdeshell. Pleasantly surprised, I found Mitch, Cindy, Jeff S, Rick and Jamie. I explained we had a mass defection and a large group had gone west on Eden Church but soon, that group came riding by, apparently going farther south to reach a different point of egress to the west. Jamie peeled off from our group and joined them, as they continued farther south on Purity, skipping what is a brutal stretch of knee buckling, lung busting climbs.
Having had a relaxed pace for the last several miles, I felt good and got ahead of my companions, up the wall on Houdeshell (22-24%) and subsequent other climbs before reaching Pinewood Trail and a monster of a long and steeply constant 18% grade (what was I thinking when I designed this route?!?!). Eventually came out on Reform, made a right on Smith Chapel, stayed straight onto Montgomery, more climbing, left on Wilken’s Run and then, thankfully, pulled into the market where Steve, Larry, Woody and Dennis were waiting. While we fueled up, we thought Larry may have found a local red-neck who finally appreciated his humor. The first four started back out before the rest of us and we headed north on Purity, turning left on Loches, another climb, headed into Louisville before turning south on 13 and then right on St Joseph. By then, we were again all strung out but I just wanted to finish and kept going. Half way up the Joseph climb I could see the front 4 with someone zigging and zagging across this steep climb.
By this time, the wind had been strong with gusts surely above 30mph. Thankfully, the hills had given some protection but turning southwest onto Chatham brought me into the teeth of the wind and I covered that stretch at a crawl, finally reaching 661 and then Dry Creek Road and after motoring along at a speedy 2mph on Burg, reached the final climb and descent onto the main drag and a quick right into the Wildwood parking lot. I would love to know how many calories we burned on this killer course of climbs and wind. We ended with 63 miles and 5400’ of climbing. I gladly presented the winner’s check to Woody, assuming Ned, who we never saw, had taken a short cut somewhere. Later, I discovered a note on my car from Ned that indicated he had finished the entire route so technically, he was the winner but….. Now, regarding the Rhino, I had expected Susan to claim it but Mitch had a flat with Jeff and Cindy hanging back to watch. Susan finished ahead of them but, the GAME was to start in an hour, I had a bottle of wine to buy and I wasn’t going to stick around to give my favorite Rhino away to someone who really was not deserving of the last place prize. Therefore, my favorite Rhino has a new and permanent home beside my computer. A reminder of this epic day. NOTE: Tonight (Saturday) I received a call from someone who wanted to ride but could not. He suggested we throw in a bunch of serious cash and make this a real race next Spring. We’ll see but it is a spectacular route and one I’d like for others to see.
Woody, the "winner" proundly holding the prize, the coveted Climbing Lion (I could not find a goat but will look for one for the next time. Larry P in the background, looking on just like Ulrich in the days of Armstrong at the Tour. Another close finisher said he had gifted the win to Woody to avoid the pressure of having to defend next year.
NEW UPDATE..I have been working the phone, twisting the arms, making various promises to ensure a turnout populated by all speeds and sizes. Rumor has it some elite climber types will be there along with a much larger representation of average cyclists looking to burn some calories at an "off-season" pace. Along with the usual suspects, I believe several Kenda team members will be there, some Team Rolls, as many of the southerners as I could get (the large cabal from around Canal Winchester), a few New Albians, Granvillians, a Heathonian, at least one Newarkite, a few Columbusotians, a teacher and candlestick maker will be there too. At 65degrees and sunny, it should be a great day and the ride organizers are looking forward to seeing everyone.
This Saturday, at 9:00am starting at Granville's Wildwood Park is the first annual GRANVILLE CLIMBING CHALLENGE!!
All are welcome to enjoy the 62 mile route that will start on familiar roads up to Utica before striking out on all new roads that are distinctly hilly and sure to help you burn millions of calories. For those serious about a high intensity pace, there is a cash prize for the first to follow the route and arrive in the oarking lot. Along with the cash prize is an official victory certificate (suitable for framing) and a stuffed goat (think of that Tour de France stuffed lion). For the last place finisher is a stuffed Rhinosaurus. There is sufficient flat riding along valley floors but punctuated by a few significant climbs that should bring the total elevation gain to around 5000'.
Come join your cycling buddies on this sunny Saturday for a slow or fast pace. Large maps for easy reading and food stops in Utica and Wilken's Corner. See you there!
The slowest rider award will be a giant stuffed Rhino, indicitive of a very slow moving entity. Above, I took a picture of the Rhino next to a very large pumpkin to give proper size reference.
Podium Girl for Saturday's Ride! Amanda Orr, who frequently refers to herself as "Hot Mama", has volunteered to be the PODIUM GIRL!!!! for awarding the prizes to the winner of the fastest rider. In addition to handing out the prizes, Amanada will also give two very quick pecks to the winner's cheeks (shorts can stay on if desired), just like at the Tour de France!!!!! This cycling event is starting to become a big deal. There could be thousands of people for the ride with Amanda's commitment.
According to Dennis C, this image is of me as a child. This is too funny. One person came back and observed I had not changed much. I am going to use the offseason to look inward, become introspective and try to figure out what I do to compell people to express themselves this way. I promise a new me beginning January 1. I will become a revered and beloved figure in the future!