Apparently, judging by the turnout today, there were a lot of people who wanted to burn calories prior to an overactive evening of eating, if not drinking. 19 of us rolled out of the parking lot and others were left behind waiting on others to arrive, including a late arriving Kenda Stefano. At the start, several who had said they would ride were not there including Da Boss (wickedly sick said his email), Recumbent Dude, Ginger & others. However, there were plenty to pick up the slack including Steve O, Mark C (riding a Gary Fisher mountain bike with XXX Lite carbon wheels), John, Mark V, Rick G, Cindy B, Kendas Janet, Paul & Dave, Dentist Brad, Mike Rea (I think he is the real deal judging by how remorselessly he wore us down), Jeff S, another John (new guy and friend of Ginger), friend of John, Jeremy, tandem Rossi's, Ryan R & Blair B. Oh yeah, my zipper front on the jacket was broken and failed to cover all of well rounded tummy and my good friend Flyin Tuna alerted everyone to the fact. I assure you, the broken zipper is a function of overuse and not pressure from a rising stomach! Here, Kenda Janet shows off the new Kenda jersey for 2011.
As I passed out maps, it began to lightly rain and in a millisecond, Janet began making noise about not riding in the rain and just as quickly it stopped. So, we rolled out at a relaxed pace, making a right on Babbit, working our way over to the ultra-bumpy Cable and then to the Col du Alward where Steve O.....attacked!!!! Mark C was quick to his wheel and I to his and I got around them to the first summit on the multi-summitted Alward. I expected the weight of their mountain bike and cross bike would wear on them but they just kept going without breathing heavily. I put in another good spurt and turned and....there was the entire freaking peloton. How disheartening, even Flyin Tuna was right there. Reached the turn at the top and there had been some minor slippage of the peloton and at that point, Steve O and Mike R showed the off season was no excuse not to turn up the screws and off we went on Hollow, right at York, across #16, left on Deeds, left on Gale and then right on Granview. We passed my house but I am reluctant to allow some to know where it is (Steve O) for fear of stalking.
We finally arrived at the River Road Coffee House in Granville with 25 miles and some sun had broken out too. The coffee, crumb cakes and (for me) chicken salad sandwich were great. Road grime was obvious on all of our faces but I noticed for some, black gritty spots made them look better.Unfortunately, we had to ride back. Here, Steve O explains how his 8000 road miles had made him the storngest cyclist in Ohio, with a few caveats. I desperately wanted to go the long route but the crushing burden of responsibility forced me to escort the Rossi's, Mark V and Kenda J back on the most direct route to New Albany. So, we separated with our small group taking the direct route of the new bypasses finally hooking up with old #161 while everyone else took a somewhat hilly route back.
Not wanting to miss out on a final accomplishment for 2010, I bided my time riding on 161 while Mark Rossi spun himself into exhaustion. Then, on the climb up to Kitzmiller, I ATTACKED!!!! After drafting for 15 miles it really was not much of a contest. I captured the summit finish and the sign sprint, capping a nearly perfecto year. In the meantime, the others completed the 54 mile route and I guess had a good time. Our group had 42 miles and that was enough. As I drove home I saw quite a few other cyclists and get this, my front tire exploded while in my car. My ears are still ringing and can't figure out what caused it. Oh yes, Kenda Janet cemented her reputation as the worst pre and post ride cyclist, sporting this raccoon skined coat.
Well, it's 11:42 and I lost all my cash playing Texas Hold-em with the boys from Cambridge (wife's side of the family) and I am into my second bottle of wine (New Zealand Sauv Blancs). As I look back on the year I have concluded I am a very lucky guy. I have some great cycling buddies...well...ok....I have a couple of cycling buddies and I have a heck of a time riding with all of you...well most of you... If this blog continues for 2011 depends on your vote, which I hav eput off for next week when you are all back to work. Watch for the "Keep the Cycling Bog Alive" challenge next year. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!
The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbour, US astronauts land on the moon and just as stunning, Kenda Dave will be at our ride on Friday. Yes it's true, Kenda Dave, says he is coming. Note too a special invite was extended to the Fat Man, Jamie Roberts, but so far he maintains he hates cycling and ain't coming.Seems to be a lot of interest in riding on Friday and why not, after a month of, except for Steve O, unridable weather. So far, Craig B, Cindy B, Steve O, Evie, Jeff S, Ginger, Jeremy, Kenda J & P, Mike R, Ross, Ryan R, Blair B with 3-4 friends and a few others. Will start at 9:00am in New Albany (directions below) and work our way over to Granville. Mileage will be around 40 and 60. Some hills but at an off-season pace unless you want to ride faster. Please, no excuses in the parking lot about having not ridden since October, who has (other than Steve O)? No one is in good riding shape. The ride location is the traditional Thursday COP ride start.
Meet at New Albany Elementary School located at 97 N High St (Rt 605 just North of the Rt 62 intersection. To find the school take 161 east stay on the New Albany bypass until you get off on New Albany Rd then turn left and stay in the far right lane. Waltons Parkway comes real quick and turn right onto Walton Parkway. Go until you come to a major 4 way intersection, Rt 605 and then turn right, the school will be on your right about 1/2 mile.
Yes, today Steve Oxley announced he rode 21 miles so has exceeded the 8000 mile line, a great achievement if you have that much free time to spend on a bicycle. Some would be ashamed to admit they rode that much but even more noteworthy is Evie Adelman told me she surpassed the 8000 mile mark some time ago. Can any one else beat that distance, for a year? Probably Flyin Tuna did with all that free time from a government job, or maybe....
In a stunning reversal of weather fortune, the forecast high will be mid 40's on Thursday and Friday. Therefore, we are riding on Friday on the "Burn Them Calories Before the New Years Eve Partying" ride. So far, we have rounded up commits from Da Boss, Jeff S, Flyin Tuna, Jeremy, Recumbent Dude, Ginger, Mark C, with Kenda Janet & Paul as likely. Exact time and start will be posted on Wednesday. Let me know if you can make it.
What ever happened to Kevin H, Ryan R, Mitch, etc... Get your asses out there.
By the way, if you want to be on the official ride email list, let me know.
Flyin Tuna sent me this link http://www.horriblyhilly.com/home.html for a 200k and 100k hilly ride in Wisconsin. One thing for sure, if Tuna recommends it then she must be getting a cut of all entry fees originating from central Ohio. Anyway, looks interesting for mid June.
Menwhile, Kenda J sent me this image and a link to information about Pittsburgh's "Dirty Dozen", a ride that includes, at 37%, the steepest road in the US. Entertaining read: http://www.dannychew.com/dd.html
11:00pm on Christmas Eve and I thought to put something on the cycling blog....what the heck is wrong with me???? Anyway, for those who have the distinct privilege of riding with me, Merry Christmas! For those who have not yet had the experience, Merry Christmas!!! Oh yeah, I'm getting cross country skis, boots and poles for Christmas, a new pair of arm warmers, cycling shoes, freezing weather lobster style gloves, T-shirt and this is just what I bought myself. Who knows what the wife and kids got me. Oh yeah, update on Steve O's quest for 8000 miles of riding. He rode with Ryan R, that crazy, self deprecating and generally good guy for 37+ miles on Wednesday. That means Steve O needs only 20 more miles to reach 8000. I'm thinking of riding with him on the momentus day he reaches his goal....but probably not. Trail ran 7 miles today but geez, the trails are kind of crummy with deep frozen foot prints and slick trails, at least at the Dennison Bio Reserve, got a Christmas Card from my good buddy Amanda, saw I think John Gorilla riding through Granville on Tuesday, I'm thinking of picking up golf for 2011 and foregoing cycling for a year, I'm rambling but that may be a function of a small glass of wine, I'm tired of having sand kicked in my face by some of you and may dedicate myself to a monster year if I don't get back into golf, thinking about nominating Kenda Paul as the best dressed man wearing women's clothing, hard to avoid Kenda Janet as the worst dressed woman prior to the ride and not much better at the ride, biggest eater is probably Flyin Tuna, noticed my front tire on my bike which I keep in my office and stoke it a couple of times a day has a flat front tire so what's up with that, talked to my sister who lives in Florida today and she needs help with some projects so may have to go down there in January, made hotel reservations for freakin California this week....less than 3 months away, will 15 people actually post they want the stupid cycling blog to continue next week, looks like the temperatures are rising above freezing late next week, why does anyone under th age of 60 ride a recumbent, I'm waiting on a guy in China to accept my offer to buy 17,000 putters...he offered $35 I countered at $13 (I'm so bad) he countered at $25 I countered at $15 he is thinking about it, what will I do with 17,000 Yes branded putters, my basement is overflowing with hundreds of golf clubs, one of my prized possessions is an autograph from Arnold Palmer, do you think any of our group use PEDs, I'm pretty certain one of us does, I went on the record this winter was going to be mild so I look really stupid but I still think it's going to turn around and we will be riding lots in January adn February if I'm not hitting golf balls getting ready for the season, I don't think I would enjoy being a student in Peggster's classroom, Andrew said he was going to get into cross country skiing, I've kind of run out of things to type so again, Merry Christ
Receiving anonymous letters in the mail is nothing new. I have offended legions in my search for the truth and a % of them have a screw lose so sometimes I find threatening material, death threats, threats to bike but the latest anonymously sent envelope contained something different. This one has me concerned. It is a pillow case with a very unflattering image of me printed on it. That is scary enough but I took it to a friend of mine who has a forensics background. After exanimation, he told me it has been worn (meaning someone has been actually using it as a pillow, maybe Steve O), but then there was bleach blond hair (this narrows things a bit, maybe....) and he said the person had a mild case of dandruff..... If you can think of someone who fits this profile, let me know so I can out the crazy.
By the way, we still have the year end awards to give out. I am accepting nominations for best dressed, worst dressed, best smelling, rookie of the year, he who does the least with the most, she who does the most with the least, fastest cyclist not riding a road bike, biggest eater at food stops, anything else you can think of.
Also coming next week, the "Should I Continue the Blog Challenge". I'm getting worried there won't be 15 people who will anonymously give a positive response and the blog will be gone forever. That's probably a good thing and will relieve me of an enormous burden. Imagine, going to California in March and not having to record stuff, not stalking the parking lot looking for good people looking stupid,
Above is a temperature map that shows the diversion from normal daily high temps for the period from 12/1 to 12/20. I knew it had been cold but check out the dark blue areas. Ohio is in the middle of some of the coldest areas on the freakin planet!!!!
It's here. On my calendar, one of the significant days of the year, Winter Solstice. Today is the shortest daylight day of the year, a low light we have been digging our way towards since June 21. But now....finally.....at long last.....the period of day light begins to build. Slowly to be sure and hardly noticeable at first but the amount of daylight does begin increasing as the sun has reached its southern most position on the horizon, the planet has reached its maximum axial tilt. Now, the next significant day is 1/27, when the average day time high temperature begins going back up. Oh yes, the annual "Should I continue to make public the content of the cycling blog" poll will be next week. In an ambitious move, I will raise the bar to 15 positive comments from anonymous readers necessary for me to continue to keep this plow horse going. Watch for it. If I don't get the comments, the blog shuts down forever.
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Da Boss put out the alert, he was trail running at Burr Oak and all were welcome. I forgot to post it here so if you missed the email blast, sorry about that. I had been to the Wildcat Trail, north of Burr Oak many times but never gotten down to the park. This helped explain why I was late, having gotten onto the wrong park entrance and ending up at the lake across from the lodge. Back tracking finally brought me to the lodge where I found the gang waiting, Craig, Andrew, friend of Craig & wife and....
.....the man with the over active bladder, Mark C. We headed out on a 3.1 mile loop and mostly hung together on a great day for trail running. We were the first ones out on the trail that had about 3" of snow. Mostly we stayed together on a not too difficult route that had only modest hills. Arriving back at the cars, Craig produced a bag of cookies and we consumed what we had burned. By the time I finished, I calculated a net gain in calories so far on the day. Mark C mentioned frequently while running that he had to go and so while we ate, he made another bathroom run. Monsters apparently run straight through his system.
Then we headed out on a 3 mile run to a parking lot and with the return, would add another 3 for a total of 9 miles. This route was rolling and not difficult but it followed the lake, along the hill side. The path was narrow and our feet slid side ways frequently and a few of us took a fall. I avoided falling but did over cook a down hill corner and slammed into a tree, which kept me from tumbling into the lake. We stopped mid way to regroup and while walking on a pier, scared this duck out from under its cover. We reached the turnaround and ran back. I began to fatigue and started walking but was shamed into restarting and so continued back to the trail head. A little over 9 miles of trail running was enough for me but the others took another 3+ mile loop and they ended with 12.5 miles....that's almost a half marathon on slick paths up and down hills, jumping logs, sloshing through creeks, waiting for Mark to take a leak, etc... Good workout. My ankles are still sore from the beating.
We tried to recruit Steve O for our trail running bonanza at Burr Oak but alas, while there were plenty who wanted to run, no one wanted to hike so Steve bailed to ride his bike. You see, Steve is 76 miles short of his quest for 8000 freakin miles ridden for the year. With the forecast not looking too good, he decided to ride today to inch closer to that 8000 mile mark. THIS JUST IN!!!! Steve, riding the windswpt road of 256, did repeats back and forth to Baltimore for 40 miles so only 36 more to get to 8000. Looking at the forecast, it appears a couple of days coming in the 30's so, with so much free time on his hands (evisorating the personal fortunes of his clients is done quickly in the mornings) So much else to record here and so little time. More to come soon.
The bartender at the hotel bar told me about a trail at the end of Magee Road, a couple of blocks away so after driving the half marathon route with my wife, I headed to it and discovered another state park with myriad trail options. One trail reached the summit at 7000' where it intersected another trail that went on to Mt. Lemmon. Tucson has amazing hiking options and while I ache to join in the many group rides I see, not much point to riding, given what little opportunity there is in Ohio.
Unlike hiking in a typical desert setting, this trail pretty much stayed around a dry creek bed so there was thick undergrowth. The bushes and plants, given the tough environment in which they grow, are nasty. Grab a bush to push it out of the way and there frequently is a thorn as a reward. Grass type plants are like steel wires and bush branches? like rebar. Run into a branch and it will stop you cold.
After 4.5 miles, I reached this campsite, set against some rocks and decided it was time to turn around. Gets dark at 5:00 and don't want to be out after dark. The park rangers hand out warnings about what to do if you see a mountain lion. Maintain eye contact, don't run, if wearing a jacket or pack, take it off and wave it to create the impression you are more threatening then reality and slowly back away. At another area park they warn about African honeybees. Dangerous place I guess.
Dusk approaching with a great view.
Gained around 2400' feet so not super steep and was able to run quite a bit of the trail. Here, along a steep drop is Cryptobiotic soil on the right. This stuff is very fragile and should be avoided as walking on it destroys it. Kind of a soil crust that stabilizes the sand and dirt. Finished with 9 miles.
I've got images of two other hikes to post but on a rest day, we went to.......Tombstone.
Yes, touristy but still kind of neat to sit in a Big Nose Kate's Saloon, on the site of the original Grand Hotel. Kate was Doc Holliday's girlfriend and the Clantons and Earps stayed here. In the basement of the hotel was a corner where a guy slept and stayed when not working in the saloon. In his spare time, he tunneled under the town looking for silver, conveniently starting the tunnel next to his bed, which has been preserved. This guys nickname was "Swamper". I like that name and am thinking who should receive it. Currently, Amanda would be a good choice for it.
Above, I'm examining a real Colt 45, trying to figure how I could miss hitting a balloon while standing 10' away. I hit 4 of 5 but choked on the last so did not get the prize.
Dawn in Tucson. Cold in the morning but the high should be around 80. First, check out Picacho Peak, a landmark on the horizon north of Tucson and see if the hiking trail is worthwhile.
Why yes, the lady at the office said, it would take 3-4 hours to cover the 3 miles to the summit. Like most of you fit types, I smirked and thought, "Yeah right".
At only 3 miles to the peak, I didn't carry water but at the last minute, drove back to the park office and bought a water bottle (good idea). The park ranger said the trail was rolling for the first 2 miles and then goes up suddenly with cables set in the rock to assist. I bit my lip with the urge to tell him I was an experienced Grand Canyon backpacker and this would be nothing. I'm glad I bit my lip on this stupid impulse.
After 2 miles, the trail headed up. Not just up but I mean UP!!!!!!!!!! In places, the walls were vertical and were it not for the cables, not being a rappeller, I would not have been able to proceed.
This image gives a better idea of the steepness.
The views were fantastic.
Sometimes, the trail was not so steep but they had put up a "fence" to keep you from falling off the face of the rock, while walking on a board. Got to the top in 1:05 and back to the trail head in a total of 2:12. Very hard trail and quite a bit harder than the Camelback trail in Phoenix.
Well, as I look at the forecast for Ohio, I get no pleasure by imagining how my cycling buddies must be suffering. Heck, it was not that warm in San Diego either, only 64 degrees, so I was not in much better shape. Had a good meeting with the people at TaylorMade golf but was unsuccessful walking out with dozens of free golf balls. Did pick up a logoed pen. Then jumped in the car and began driving but back to that later. First, our hike/trail run on Saturday was a hoot but there were a few no shows. In the end, it was Mark C and I running with Steve O (who rode his bike to the start and stashed it in Mark's car) and Mike Rea hiking. Mark knew the trails so he started running and I fell in behind. Alley Park is HILLY! I don't remember much other than going up and down then up again and again and down a steep slope taking one step at the bottom of a gully before heading back up a super steep hill. I wondered, "How much longer can he go on like this?" The answer" LOOOONG Time. Eventually, we began hitting forks and Mark would say "Short or long". I managed to gasp, "Short" over and over and finally regained the parking lot with 3 miles, which doesn't sound like much but geez, those hills. Rested for a minute and we headed back out for another 2 miles. Fun work-out.
OK, back to the trip, I headed east on I-8, driving over the mountains to AZ. Glanced at the clock just as I entered Yuma and it was 3:10, I kid you not. Real desert around here with giant sand dunes. The other thing noteworthy for this part of AZ are the vast and I mean VAST RV parks. You could put hundreds and hundreds of RVs into these places so this must be where a lot of snow birds come. Then there are the thousands of acres devoted entirely to growing and harvesting hey. Not fruit or veggies, just mile after mile of giant areas of stacked hey bales. And finally, I made it to Tucson where the forecast for the next few days is around 80 and sunny. I'll not be back in time for the balmy Saturday with forecast high of 41 but I am trying to find out if there are plans for a ride.
Mark Clingan, the well known intersection leaper and stop sign jumper, has volunteered to lead a trail run/hike out of Alley Park at 10:30am on Saturday. For those of you not familiar with Mark's winter activities, he typically leads us on grueling off-trail hikes through Hocking Hills but with gun season, we ought not to be out there so have decided instead on the tamer trails of Alley Park.
Among those who have said they will be there or probably will be there are Kevin H, Cindy B, Donna B, Dennis, Kenda Janet, Steve O, etc... Probably most will hike rather than run but there will be both types represented. I understand the routes are somewhat hilly so that's good. Distance? It appears the trails max out at 3 miles but we can reverse direction and go again. Alley Park is on Old Logan Road just outside the south end of Lancaster off 33, between Stump Hollow and Tarkiln roads.
Business is forcing me to take the long flight out to..................
.....the idyllic city of San Diego. Will be there on Monday and the real quandry is, once out there in such close proximity to other neat and warm places, should I turn around and fly back to Ohio or delay things for a few days? Hmmmmm........