Many showed up for the COP Heart of Ohio Tour, including Marty, spreading sunscreen, under the flawless sky. The horizon, so flat and so unlike where we were going on our bikes.
Kenda Paul modeling the latest Kenda clothing. Mark V on the left, sang once during each 25 mile segment, adding pain to our ears that rivaled that in our legs.
Dan Farley (in yellow) slotted in with our group of around 20. To his right is Dustin aka Old Chubbs.
To the west we rode through pastoral summer scenes and then a couple of miles from Amanda, a late starting Marty, Dave C and Luke R rode by, picked us up and pulled us in to the village. As it was only mile 25, I decided to keep going. Upon cresting the climb to the top of Revenge Road, Paul Stock rode by and so I swiftly yanked my bike behind his and drafted him to Blue Valley Road, where we descended. Towards the bottom, Gus, Peggy and a group of around 8 coasted by and so I swerved in behind them (see a pattern developing here?). I drafted the group to the tiny village of Sugar Grove, so named because at its founding, there was a grove of Sugar Maple trees in the vicinity. Here I refueled and waited for the original group to arrive....
...and they did, led by Mark C who eschewed the usual Hershey bar for a banana but still drank the usual Mountain Dew. We shoved off and soon hit the slopes once again. While on one ascent, I felt a prolonged tug at my jersey and turning, there was Tym and Lisa Tyler. Note to readers, I much prefer a slap to the head, elbow to the ribs or splash of water over anything that impedes my uphill progress. Not too soon, we arrived in.....
.....Bremen, where the route splits for the 80 and 100 mile options. Having already eaten back in Sugar Grove, I paused, formed up with Gus, Peggy and Paul and kept going on the 100 mile route. I followed as Gus set a fearsome pace east on Marietta Road and then north on Flag Dale. Partly from my desire to try to enjoy these rides at a more moderate pace but mostly because I was gassed, I waved them on when I fell back.......soon, Tym and Lisa passed me yet again. Lisa commented how hard was the route and I said "hard" did not begin to adequately describe it.
I had gone about 35 miles without a break so stopped in Rushville where I was joined by Crazy George and Lisa A. George and I headed out but at Pleasantville Road, where the route headed north on a 3 mile loop, I stayed on Pleasantville and headed back to the parking lot, finishing with 98 miles. There, Lisa Tyler asked sincerely if I had a bad day and to shrug it off because everyone has a bad day now and then. My bad days are piling up at an alarming rate that far exceeds the "now and then" description.
With the forecast for Sunday looking dismal, I figured I better do the century route and so no surprise that the Sunday COP ride was cancelled on Saturday evening, the John Martin Granville ride was cancelled Sunday morning and Rick Miller's ride out of Utica was cancelled too. As it turns out, probably the COP and Martin rides could have been completed as most of the rain stayed north. Oh well, chance to catch up on things around the homestead.
The annual COP, Spring HOOT (Heart of Ohio) tour is Saturday and it sounds as if many will ride this including possibly Marty & Friends. COP is being coy about releasing the gps file for the route and if the maps are as bad as in previous years, you don't want to rely on that unreadable document so here is the route from the 2013 Spring HOOT, with no guarantee it will be the same as tomorrow's but probably so: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2599743.
Most are starting at 8:00am.