Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cyclist for a day

Monday's bike ride was a struggle to start. Already I had two days of heavy training. 8.5 hours, 92 miles on the bike, 23 miles running. So Monday was a struggle to get going for my 2.5 hour ride.

My father-in-law lives in Newbury, OH. Aimee jokes that he lives near the border of Pennsylvania but it's not that bad. Actually this is out near DaisyDuc.

I picked my road bike for this ride to change things up and give the tri bike a rest. It was almost 30 minutes into my ride by the time my legs warmed up and I felt like riding.

Then a transformation happened. I wasn't a triathlete anymore, I was a cyclist. No brick run afterwards, no aero bottle, no aero bars......just sitting up and enjoying the view. I didn't have a planned route since I don't ride in this part of Ohio very often and not for this many miles. I had a general sense of the direction I wanted to take and went for it.

The details I'm providing are for DaisyDuc because it's her 'hood I was in. Once I hit the end of my first road I could turn left or right. I chose left because it would take me away from cities I knew. I didn't even realize I was heading east on Route Speed limit was 50MPH but traffic wasn't too bad, wide shoulder and I'm comfortable with traffic.

As I'm riding along enjoying the sights I see a sign for Camp Asbury. This is a United Methodist Camp & Retreat that I had been too when I was a kid, almost 30 years ago. I never knew where this place was. At that young age it could have been near Columbus. But here it is near Hiram. I turn off Rte. 82 and work my way back to the camp. When I reached camp, at the bottom of a hill, I stood in the parking lot trying to remember being there. The setting was very nice. The green trees, fields and lake looked like alot of fun. I did remember canoeing on the lake. It was a nice trip back in time.

Heading back up the hill I continued east and made my way to Garrettsville. I saw the oldest Giant Eagle sign I've ever seen. Giant Eagle is a grocery store chain and the sign looked to be an original.

In Garrettsville I headed north on Rte. 88. At this point I started seeing other cyclists. A large touring group was out for a country ride. I would pass, going in the opposite direction, clusters of 5-6 people at a time. I probably waved to a total of 30 people. It was great seeing them on the road enjoying the day.

I eventually passed the Hermann Pickle Farms. Pickle Farms???? I took a picture of the sign but it didn't come out very well.

I finally started getting into Amish country. Ohio has several areas that are widely populated by the Amish. Riding through them is interesting as you pass buggies, farmers plowing with horses and clothes drying on the line. The benefit is that Rte. 528 between Parkman and Middlefield has 6 foot wide shoulders for the buggies. This was great for me on the bike. I didn't have to deal with the buggies but the horse poop had to be avoided several times.

From Middlefield I finally headed back west towards Burton. This would be my last town before heading back to dad-in-laws. Burton is like the maple syrup capital of Ohio. They have festivals and other cool events in their little mountain top town. The road up to Burton was probably the biggest hill I climbed for the day.

Out of Burton I took a little road named Hotchkiss. This road was a beautiful way to finish my ride. Nice homes set back from the road and spread out from each other. The trees lining the road provided shade from both sides, I was in a tunnel of trees.

By the time I finally made it back to the house I had ridden 3 hours instead of the 2.5 prescribed by coach. But you know what, that didn't matter because I truly enjoyed being a cyclist for the day. The mental refresher I received from this ride hit the spot and it was a great way to end the weekend.

So Daisy, yes I was in Portage and Geauga counties. You are lucky to have such great terrain to ride in. Get TriSaraTops out there for some riding.

Get on the bike and ride.


TriSaraTops said...

Sounds like fun! Except for the poop.

See ya at the pool?

qcmier said...

Holy crap, that was one long training weekend. I can't imagine how that is going to suck for me in a few weeks.

DaisyDuc said...

Too fun, familiar with all of it!!!

I actually spent the first 18 years of my life on Asbury Road and my entire dad's side of the family still live there.

Ran the 528 buggy lane as usual again this morning!!! It is so much easier to avoid horse poop now that is light out in the morning--woohoo!!