Archive for August, 2008

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Morrow to Oregonia

August 29, 2008

Before we finished packing for our week of cave diving in Northern Florida, we decided to get in a 17 mile bike ride, especially since we would be sitting in the car for almost 12 hours on Sunday.

Driving over to Morrow, we parked at Veteran’s Park and headed toward Oregonia.  Almost everytime we’ve done this section of trail it’s rained, so we joked about the possibility.

One of the nice things about this section is the number of canoe liveries along the way, and the reduced number of road crossings that we experience in the southern stretches of the Little Miami Trail.  Passing underneath I-71 Jerimiah Morrow bridge is another highlight.

Once we reached Oregonia and turned around, we traveled along the parallel road to get more riding on the rolling hills.  Using the trails too much, we’ve gotten too used to the flat and slow inlines and declines.  Throwing in some road work changes things up nicely.

The rain held off, and the ride was uneventful…. no falls, no runs, no errors!  Now, we just had to get home and finish packing for a “crack of dawn” trek down to the Northwest Panhandle of Florida with a keen eye on where Hurricane Gustav was going to make landfall.

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One Deer and Two Hares

August 28, 2008

Tonight we went on a 14 mile ride to Morrow and back. I opted to make it more of a power ride with low cadence and high gears rather than my typical high cadence cardio ride. It felt great on the quads, but it was a little tough to keep the RPM’s and speed down. I was pedaling my highest gear most of the time, and there were times despite a slow cadence that the speed got up between 18-20. Penny wasn’t looking for a tough workout, but more of a relaxing ride, and we managed to satisfy both of our goals.

On the way, we saw a deer and a couple of rabbits. The trail had been cleared nicely since the storm the other day.

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Wabash Cannonball Trail: Wauseon and East to ??

August 26, 2008

The plan when I came up to NW Ohio this week was to try to ride more sections of the Wabash Cannonball trail that reportedly runs from Montpelier (near the Indiana line) over to Maumee (outside of Toledo). When I was doing some training in Montpelier several weeks ago, I brought my mountain bike and rode the unimproved path starting in Montpelier and heading over to near Archbold. Based on what I’d read, the paved trail started in Wauseon and headed east, so I brought my road bike to see if I could bike over to the Oak Openings Park just west of Toledo.

Well… rarely do good plans “survive first contact”. I got a hotel in Wauseon so that I could start on the trail here, got the bike stuff square around (I had to do some maintenance after riding in T-Storms on Sunday).

I hit the trail starting in Rotary Park in Wauseon, and the paved trail was quite nice. There was a warning in one of the trail reports that from CR13 to CR11, the trail was closed because it hadn’t been completed over the busy freight rail corridor that goes East and West through this section of Ohio. It required a brief ride north onto CR F and then East a couple of miles before dropping down to the trail again. This is where the plan started to break down. The trail did indeed start up again, but it wasn’t paved. Rather, it was a rough grassy trail, in some respects worse than the cinder path I ridden earlier in the year to the West.

Anyway, it mattered little because it wasn’t suitable for a road bike with 23mm smooth tires. Thinking that maybe the paved trail started another mile over, I rode back up to CR F, headed east another mile, and looked again… more of the same. So I did this 3 times before I gave up and stayed on the road.

What made matters worse was the strong headwind from the East that I was experiencing on the road away from the protection of the tree canopy on the trail. Frankly, it sucked… especially as it constantly buffeted my front tire. I went about 10 miles like this before I cried “Uncle” and figured any further search for a paved trail was fruitless. Naturally, before I decided to turn around, the wind started abating, and the strong tailwind that I was counting on to fly back to the starting point became a breeze. Even so, it was a heck of a lot easier on the return leg…. logging me right at 20 miles tonight.

There were a couple of interesting sites along the road.

After traveling over half of the Wabash Cannonball trail this summer, I’ve concluded that there is a very weak commitment to the rails to trails program in this area of the state. Not surprising, since the population density is rather low here compared to the Cincinnati-Dayton area. This was supposed to be the longest and most publicized section of trail in this area of the state, and it’s primarily a walking path, suitable in many places for a mountain bike. However, with the exception of sections that run through some of the towns like Wauseon, it is a long ways from becoming a premiere multi-use path like the Little Miami Scenic trail that runs over 70 miles from lower Cincinnati up past Springfield to Urbana.

It’s little wonder I didn’t hear much about the rails to trails program during the 25 years I lived in NW Ohio (except for the 7 mile section between Fremont and Clyde). When I lived in this section of the state, I was within 15-60 minutes of good quarry diving for scuba practice. Now that I’m in SW Ohio, I’m with minutes of some of the premiere biking paths in the State. It all just goes to show you… wherever you live geographically, make the most of the recreational activities that they afford you, because you never know when you might leave that area.

Carpe Diem!!!

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Riding in the Rain Part II

August 24, 2008

The plan today was to ride 21 miles up to Corwin and grab a bite to eat at the Corwin Peddler. They have a good English style menu and cater to cyclists. Penny had mentioned that she might be up for a Metric Century (100K/62miles), but I wasn’t feeling that ambitious today, but had some options in mind should we feel strong enough on the ride.

All was going well on the ride. When we started it was about 93F outside and quite humid and I was ready for a nap. The deal was we would take a nice leisurely pace up to Corwin, and it felt pretty good. However, when we reached Oregonia, 15 miles up toward Corwin, the clouds got dark and some drops started falling. Before we had gotten a couple of more miles toward Corwin, we were soaked pretty thoroughly. It was nice to stop at the Corwin Peddler for some food and under cover as the storm intensified. Once we finished our food, we had to wait a while longer for the rain to subside and actually quit, so we made a run for home.

it wasn’t more than a mile or two down the trail before the rain started coming down again. Unbeknownst to us, there was a continuous train of T-Storms cells barreling down on us for the remainder of the ride. There were times when the rain was so heavy that the rain running off into our eyes made it very difficult to see, yet we still managed to hold a good pace.

I had chosen to wear a sleeveless shirt today because the sun was out pretty strong when we took off, but after the drowning from the rain, I was pretty damned chilled. Only high RPM’s kept me “warm” at all. Yes… I have a rain jacket, but we’d taken it out of our packs when it was raining in Canada a couple of weeks ago, so they were sitting at home… bummer.

When I got home, I changed out of my bike shorts, which felt like a wet diaper most of the trip, and hosed the bikes down… they were coated pretty solid with dirt… and watched the lightening storms continue as we finished putting gear away.

I think next time I need to remember to check the weather report… {rolleyes} Evenso, it was nice to get a 42 mile/68K ride in today.

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Drafting practice on the Kingsview to Loveland Loop

August 22, 2008

I picked up a bike mirror for my helmet today on the way home. It made a nice addition for telling if Penny is right behind me or not without having to turn my head and break pace/cadence.

Tonight we made nice pushes. Penny led most of the way down to Loveland at a comfortable pace, and I played in and out of the draft as my legs warmed up. On the way back, I pushed fairly hard for a long stretch. With the mirror, I could comfortably see her without worrying if she was “loosing the wheel” or for me to turn my head and break pace. My cardio was good, but my legs finally started feeling like lead with echos of the long solo ride a couple of evenings ago.

Penny jumped in the lead and gave me a nice recovery pace for a couple of minutes before she turned up the heat and started pushing hard herself. It was weird in a way. It was the first time where I’ve drafted behind after pulling a hard segment, and while it certainly wasn’t as hard, I was surprised at effort I had to continue to exert, even in “the rocking chair”.

We had to tail off at the end of the ride because a bug picked an inopportune time to lodge in the back of Penny’s throat, making it difficult to push while hacking… LOL

I’m looking forward to more rides like that!!

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50K/32 Mile Ride from Kingsview to Oregonia

August 20, 2008

Tonight, Penny needed some quality time with her daughter, so I was able to get all my bike gear ready and hit the trail before she got home, gaining some valuable daylight.  I debated whether to take the extremely hilly route and tackle the “Hill of Death” or go for distance…. distance won…. so I quickly charted some options depending on how I might feel once on the ride.  I figured that Oregonia would be about the maximum that I could make happen riding by myself with just a couple of hours of daylight, so off I went.

Not more than a mile into the ride, something hit me in the stomach, and I felt a sting through my shirt… damn… pulling off, I gave the sting a couple of squirts of the benadryl spray from my pack, and continued on.  After a while, I didn’t even think about it again.

Stopping in Morrow at the 7 mile mark, I did some more stretching after my legs had warmed up, then continued on.  I’d forgotten that this section of the trail is a deceptive incline up toward Oregonia.  To the eye, it looks flat, but when you stop pedaling, it doesn’t take long to come to a stop.  Everytime I reached a road I recognized, I made a mental note of how I felt, then continued on.  So far, it wasn’t feeling too bad.  In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the seat.  Getting closer to Oregonia, I started encountering more families out for a ride on the trail, so it made passing a bit tenuous with kids darting to and fro on their bikes… brickin’ brackin’ sassafrassin’……

Reaching Oregonia, I downed an energy packet and energy bar, then did some more stretches.  I also made a quick call to Penny so that she would have a clue where I was on the trail.  Heading back toward home, it quickly became apparent that most of the trail was on a decline, so I pushed the pace as much as I could.  As always, the wind rushing past feels pretty great.  There are a couple of sections that are slight inclines, so I used those to give me legs a break from the high RPM’s, but when back on the declines, I stood on it as much as I could.

I got back to the vehicle just as the day was turning to dusk.  As I loaded my bike, the caucophony of sound from the insects reminded me what a great summer evening this was for a 50K/32 mile ride.

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Loveland to Camp Dennison Loop

August 19, 2008

I was hungry when I got home from training in Springfield tonight, and running far enough ahead of schedule that I decided to fix some dinner for us before we rode.  That put us a bit back on time, but Penny wanted a short ride anyway and I agreed.

Instead of lining up to do the usual rides, we loaded up the bikes and ran over to Loveland to get a different starting point.  Often times we do a loop that turns around in Loveland, but we haven’t started a ride there since we got the road bikes.  This section is a bit rougher than I recall that it was, especially since the road bikes are “hyper sensitive” to all of the patches and roots making bumps in the trail.  It was a whole lot smoother on the mountain bikes… LOL.  …. I know… stop you’re whining!!

I find it a bit funny that when heading south out of Loveland down toward the Ohio River, it seems the trail should be mostly down hill, but quite a bit is uphill.  When my perception doesn’t match reality, I start imagining that my brakes are dragging, or bearings are going out… but on the way back from Camp Dennison, we enjoyed a much better pace and had to keep bumping the gears up higher to keep the pedal cadence under control.  I wasn’t looking for a 100+ RPM cadence tonight, so just gave in and kept shifting.

We made one short stop for some light stretching, but otherwise, since we got started well after 7pm, we didn’t have much daylight to burn to get back to the vehicle.  Two things we need to add to our list: Lights on the bikes for night riding, and clear or yellow glasses to keep the bugs out of our eyes when the sunglasses are too dark for riding.  I’m thinking I also need a mouth guard ’cause I keep inhaling and choking on bugs… {rolleyes}