Pop-up thunderstorms on Saturday morning and the long drive to Athens likely contributed to the low turnout for the ride, i.e., just me (Andrew) and Luke in for the long haul. By 8:30 the rain had stopped and we headed out shortly after 9 a.m for the clockwise loop of the 63-mile route on wet roads that were drying out quickly. After missing the turn on Millfield road we stayed on SR13 into Chauncey and Jacksonville for a rolling route before heading towards Burr Oak on SR78 and the big rollers and the scenic "Rim of the World".
About 20 miles into the ride we rode past Bishopville (since it’s not a true town per-se that you ride through) and out from a trailer bolts this ugly mongrel dog. I hear Luke behind me shout "here he comes" and look back just in time to see the dog t-bone Luke’s wheel and the bike flip. Luke lands on his side and quick we get him and the bike off the road! (All the while the dog still barking in it’s front yard and no sight of the owner) Respectable road rash and thank God - no broken collarbone, or worse. Bike aerobars needed some straightening but everything worked so Luke insisted he was alright and we should ride on. Once we got on SR555 the tough part of the ride started and we rode and named the three steep climbs referred to as the Three Sisters: Twisted Sister, Farm Girl and Easy-Sleazy Sister. By this time the day was gorgeous, full-sun and getting HOT – stopped for some good cold water in Chesterhill and then onto 550 to Amesville and one last big climb into Athens, down the backside on Central avenue and into the westside ballfield park. At this point in an ironman-distance race a person eats his or her lunch for the day, so back at the vehicles that’s just what we did: I went with my tried and true tuna sandwich, Doritos and coke and Luke did the PB&J.
Then we got back on the bikes to do the exact same route but in reverse. Stopped to fix Luke’s tire since the sidewall had this nasty bulge from the crash and was rubbing the brakes, thankfully it popped right back in. For the return trip the sisters were not as steep and even the dog that took down Luke on the first loop did not have the guts to try a second time. Finished the ride strong with 126 total miles, 4551 feet of climbing and then immediately slipped on the running shoes for a 30-minute transition run on the bike trail. Long day but we agreed this was the perfect Anchor Training Day to do 45 days out from Ironman Like Placid (July 24th, 2011).
Here is Luke’s Garmin of the route, make sure to hit the "Player" button