Awake officially at 5:15am (actually, I had been awake since 12:35am) I arrived at the parking lot to discover the weather here was unchanged from the hour before, the hour prior to that, etc... light, wind blown rain as remnants of tropical depression Cindy were still in the area. The image does not do the gloomy conditions credit. Ain't no way I was going to ride in this. I pulled on a rain jacket and rode to....
...the start line to watch the 124 milers shove off at 7:00am. Always smiling Kristie with Eric on the right, more reflecting my mood at the time. I went into Garrett College for a restroom break and when I emerged, I saw some blue sky and just then, the rain had moved out and would never be an issue again. Now my....
....mood reflected Paul Djupe's facial expression. I got rid of the rain jacket, pulled on a couple of arm warmers (60 degrees with fairly strong wind still) and....
...listened to the pre-ride announcements for me mere 100 milers. Above, Rex bends over bike in concentration, unaware that 10 miles into the ride a broken spoke would take him out of the action...lucky guy! Behind him, Matt points his phone at me with a smile that would be missing at the end of the day, Dean in lime green, Mitch ahead of him and there on the side, Cindy with her game face on. In total, there were around 20 from the central Ohio peloton.
And we were off at 7:20am. Actually, the above is from later in the route cause after mostly riding down hill for the first 2.5 miles, a right is made onto Overlook Pass Road and thus begins a .7 climb having an average grade of 11.1%....at mile 2.5!!!! Then at mile 11, there is a 1.03 climb having an average grade of 10.8% and then....
...we arrived at aid station #1 at mile 21. There are 7 timed climbs on the route but so, so many more climbs, some more difficult then the official timed ones. I was unable to take many images because I was either grinding up a hill lost in my cave of pain or navigating technical descents with brakes applied, dodging wash out from gravel drive ways or other debris. We caught the CAF group just as they were departing. That Katherine appears to still be enjoying herself is amazing. Soon after this she had a derailleur problem and the chain was kept in the small ring in front. For this route, that's not much of an issue.
So here is the deal. The event does not keep track of total time, only the times on the 7 climbs so why the heck should we not stop at each of the 6 aid stations and not ride particularly hard other than those climbs? Exactly right!
Aaron C makes an appearance, also doing the 124 miles.
There were a variety of entertainment options to distract, including a guy on the unicycle who provided liquid refreshment. There were bands, one of which played "Deliverance". Cindy B on the right, putting in a gap as usual. The odd thing is, she interpreted the orange cones, indicating the start of a timed climb, as a caution warning and took the climbs off. On only those climbs did I manage to stay ahead or maybe she gifted me the climbs. Yeah, that is more likely.
One constant throughout the day was the sight of and/or sound of rushing water. It oozed through the pavement, sprung from springs, cascaded down hill sides, roared in rivers....saw it all, in all forms.
Hey, a rare flat portion of the route. When they were building roads back in the day, rather than have straight ascents or descents to/from summits that vehicles could bomb up or down they made the roads twisty nightmares. If you look at our average speed, you will chuckle to yourself but with the technical descents and road crud, no one took chances when descending and applied brakes frequently.
At mile 45 and with 5 of the timed ascents out of the way with an accumulated 5300' of climbing, a 3rd aid station. Reunited with Ohioans including.....
....Deniece Davis. Smart of her to remove some items for drying. Wish I had thought of that. At this point, the balance of the route is nothing but ups and downs (well ok, there is a 7 mile non twisty descent but I was being driven like a fast cow to stay at the front and pull s0.....), during which fatigue, coupled with more fatigue, kept me from taking any more images but.....
....Kristy Boltz was a prolific image taker throughout so I stole the above and below from her. Entrance to one of the timed climbs and.....
....entrance to an evil, untimed climb. It was weird. At the base of each timed climb there was a sign with length and average grade but so, so deceiving was the message. I remember one climb that was 4.9% but the first mile was wall after wall, 12-15% and then rather have the end of the KOM at the top of the climb, you would descend, ride on some rolling section and then hit a final climb. Yeah, ok the average was 4.9% but... Now....
...some of us did well, some of us had fun and some of us did both. Peggy Cook came in first in her division. Deniece and Cindy were 8 and 10 in theirs and that is really impressive because their division is rather broad, 40-60 years old. Gus Cook came in 34th in the Male 40-60 which, considering he is giving close to 20 years to some attendees, is really impressive. I was 80th but had 2 really bad climbs cause..well..I was tired when I arrived at those two. Ha, ha. There were around 400 in Gus' and my division. Hardest bike ride I've done. Some multi-day backpacking adventures were harder but on a bike, the Garrett County Gran Fondo is it.
6/27/2017 08:30:43 am
I just looked at the results after reading your post - Weird timing results. I thought we were ranked by total time for 7 climbs, but looks like strava KOM data plays into "finish" rank. I aint no strava dude, so 5 or 6 guys with slower times ranked higher? wtf
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