I was determined to do a hard ride as I desperately need one. As mild as this winter has been, weekends have not been so nice and I am behind my peers (don't ask who my peers are as many are in wheel chairs or pushing walkers). Flyin Tuna told me she had gone for a walk during one of her many federal mandated breaks and she noted it was so windy the stop signs were gyrating wildly, always a sign of a strong wind. Fine I said but were the poles supporting the signs bent in two? No was her reply so I was good to go with a forecast of 20-30mph winds with gusts up to 40mph out of the south-southwest.
I headed out of the Newark YMCA, the traditional starting point and successfully navigated through downtown Newark, not always a simple task. Soon I arrived at the foot of the brutal Blue Jay Road and headed up and up and after 250' of climbing, reached the top only to encounter more climbs and more climbs and after 5 miles, finally reached Brownsville Road with 800" of climbing during that 5 miles. Rode the traditional Blue Jay route clockwise and over time, lots of time, reached Zanesville and the West End Market which remember, does not allow access to their restrooms so always cross route 40 and hit the "C Plus Market" where they are bike friendly. I still was in good shape and downed a Monster and Fig Newton. Note the first giant hill after Blue Jay is a 205' climb and the second monster climb is 210' and friggin steep. (you know to which I am referring if you have ever ridden around this area).
Soooooo, now went briefly east on 40 and then a right on Kopchak and the loooooooong stretch into the wind. As many of you know, Kopchak is famous for the debacle last year during which a homeowner who also owned dozens of wild animals committed suicide prior to releasing the animals. This made national and international news and I was on the lookout for a wild griz or baboon that may not have been caught or shot. I did see a wild squirrel but he did not seem very threatening and I plodded on, making a right on Ridge Road and feeling the full impact of the wind, made a left on Morgan and felt that wind even moreso, right on Coopermill and just kept slogging through the wind. Finally, I reached Mt Perry Road and headed north with a glorious tail/cross wind. Upon reaching 40 again, I took the 2 miles west to get to the market at 40/668 where they welcomed my purchase of yet another Monster and peanuts.
Wow, the creatures to which I refer to as "spring peepers" were out in full force producing a cacophony of noise produced by these little frogs that always signal the start of spring for me. I headed north on 668, passed Flint Ridge Park, down that long hill and reached Blue Jay Road again where......I turned left to attack it again. Good heavens!!!!! Blue Jay into the wind, just what I always wanted to do. Eventually, I crawled to the final summit and then coasted down to Newark, 65 miles, 5800" of climbing and a calorie burn of 3950...no way with that head wind so I stopped at multiple markets on the way home and ate Snickers, Almond Joys, etc...so I think I ended the day at a neutral point, calories burned to calories consumed.
Now for the real news of the day. Steve O's tickler about there being a century ride on Saturday produced an inquiry from two of the nations top cyclists, whose identify I will protect for now. Mark C, originator of the route, is waiting for confirmation on the wind direction before committing to a route but I should have it tomorrow. As I learn more, I will post but the route will start from Mark's church on Coonpath Road, south of Baltimore. More to come soon.