Mitch's Rocky ride out of Circleville attracted only 13 but it was a good option for someone who needed to build back a base of desperately needed miles, like me. Also there was Da Boss, Jeremy, Younger Phenom Nick, Father of Nick, Beth H, Evie, Kevin K, Peggy, Butch and another couple who arrived late, rode with us for a couple of miles and disappeared. The 10:00am start guaranteed a ride in the heat but after what we've been through, I relished the heat, humidity and Hell wind out of the southwest......until I didn't relish it any more.
We worked our way over to Tar Hollow and went up and then down and hit the "store" on #327. What is keeping that place open is beyond my comprehension because it can't be the sale of cold drinks or snacks, of which there were few. I stared longingly at the cold, cold beer and almost bought one. At mile #26 we left the store and immediately climbed back up Tar Hollow and the strain began to show on some of us. Kevin K began talking about a short cut and I began listening about a short cut but in a rare moment of will power, I shut off that option. After the climb up the friggin steep Thorton Sprung, Kevin headed off on the 50 mile short cut while our group was now down to Mitch, Craig, Jeremy, Beth and Evie. I was going through water at an alarming rate and began to whine to Mitch if we might be seeing a store any time soon....not until Kingston at mile 60....."Is that before or after the Rocky climb?"......."After"......NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That's 30+ miles between stops. There is nothing quite like riding up Rocky in blazing sun and 90+ degrees.
I reached the top of Rocky out of water and began scanning front porches and driveways for humans and eventually screeched to a stop and asked someone if I could use their hose. Topped off, I coasted down the balance of Rocky and reached a "T" intersection but the others were gone. Long gone. I grabbed the que sheet and tried to figure out what was my next turn and promptly made the wrong turn. Anyway, thanks to some helpful civilians, I eentually got routed to Kingston where I found the group. I encouraged them to not wait and no surprise, they did not. After a suitable break, I got back on the bike and finished the 70 mile route with 72 miles and 3800' of climbing (sure seemed like more than that). Arriving in the parking lot, Kevin's car was still there and we began to worry. He eventually made it back after having spent some time off the bike sitting by the side of the road and turning down several offers of assistance. And now, Nathan's ride report. When someone asks me years from now where I was when Tressel was fired, I'll be able to recall standing in front of a gas station in Somerset and watching Nate dance a jig. Disgusting.
Today’s ride can be summed up in two words, “Que Sheet” (or is that one compound word?) There was a light turnout for the inaugural “Nate’s Ninety” which ended up being a blessing as it turns out. Beautiful maps and que sheets were provided and their worth was quickly discovered. They didn’t have any. We were lost at the first intersection. It was maddening.
There I was with Wilson’s crooked smirk pinning me down and pictures of piles of flaming full-color maps and que sheets burning in an apocalyptic blaze going through my mind. If it weren’t for the fact that Mark was passed Saturday by Cindy twice on the GCC I might have died from shame right there in the middle of the first intersection... Oh the calamity!!!
Fortunately for everyone, Flying Tuna was there and quickly whipped out a real map with real roads on it and provided the group read directions to a real town. It was joked that the ride should be renamed The Cindy Century... I never argue with facts folks. It appears that my policy of just doing what the Dominant Female in the group says really paid off today.
Out of this mishap I can provide one piece of advice: “Do NOT trust mapmyride.com to provide good maps or que sheets no matter how carefully you map out a route.”
Moving on... The group proceeded to the first planned stop of the ride (Somerset) by what I am sure is a different route than originally planned. After the grand rollers and final climb into town were were met with a 21 gun salute and a parade with the entire town present. It was awesome. At least something was going right. We rolled over to our stop and it was at this time that all the ills of the day were healed. A gentleman coming out of the store delivered the news that Michigan Fans around the world have been waiting for for years now.... “Tressel has resigned “
I thought I mis-heard... could it be possible?!?! I was surrounded by a glorious nimbus of light and heard angles singing. I actually levitated in elation !!! I even think I heard a voice coming out of the north like a 20 million people speaking together in one voice saying “Bring back Cooper!”
*(Side note: I received my masters is from OSU but I have been a long time Michigan fan having spent much of my youth in that state)
Nothing could ruin this day, not the oppressive heat, not the bad cue sheets or maps. In fact, as was witnessed by those present, I actually broke out in dance !!! Oh it was a site to behold.
After being asked to repeat my dance (I complied) the group broke into those taking the shorter route (Thankfully provided by Cindy) and those continuing on. Those that decided to go longer, continued onward to the south, and eventually made our way over to Chicken Coop where the decent was quickly followed by a climb up Savage Hill. That hill is steep! We eventually got to our second stop in Lancaster where Kevin managed to depart the store with what could only be described as “groceries” due to the volume. The rest of us got a quick refill of bottles and a light snack. We proceeded to the climb out Stringtown road followed by a fairly direct, relatively hill free route back to Baltimore.
We ended the day with 66 very hot, very hilly miles and 4200’ of climbing. Fortunately the cooler full of very icey beverages was there to greet us. Life is good.....
I vowed to mark the route next year and never to use mapmyride.com again. Now if you’ll excuse me.... I must dance again!!!!