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Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 TOSRV Granfalloon

05/12/12 109m

I have ridden in the 2007 TOSRV and the 2005 TOSRV, but this was the first year I'd be riding without a few friends.

Riding is initially a physical activity, but it is later a matter of conation - the decision to ride, and the decision to keep riding - and those decisions can be swayed and made easier by the presence of good company. With a group of friends a long day riding is a pleasure, but with a group of strangers it's a different experience; the company in today's organized ride is at best a granfalloon, and I missed riding with my buddies.

I was up at 0530 and started sorting my kit into piles of "bring/don't bring", choosing to leave rain gear and cold weather gear behind. Then, in spite of a long-standing personal policy of never fooling with a bike just before an event, I spent some time re-routing my aero-bars and my brake cables, and I think I ended up with a much better layout. I was now armed with a duffel bag of supplies I'll want in Portsmouth, and another bag of things I'll leave behind in the locked car.

There is no better way to summon people to a point of assembly, to give them a way to proceed together smartly, than to provide a band of musicians, and this morning I heard the unmistakable sound of bagpipes echoing off Columbus' buildings.

I dropped the duffel bag off into a waiting Ryder truck (which would convey it to my destination, they've really got this figured out) and then joined the queue for the 0730 start, which occured at about 0750.

In preparation for a mass start, organizers were marshalling riders into various clusters in a process that looked a lot like herding cats. I saw some folks wearing this year's newest accessory, the smart-looking but decidedly drag-inducing helmet cam:

It makes me want to speculate whether somebody's making this stuff up and placing bets on whether they can induce people to go out like that.

In this photo of the group start, you may see one particularly stylish cyclist with an orange triangle on the back of his bike, imagine if you will the smooth pedal stroke:

The beginning of a ride is somewhat thrilling because it's both exciting and scary; the frisson of a new day and an unknown experience, and the risk of butterfly-induced foolishness or distraction leading to a pileup. Fortunately, the riders within my range departed the city without incident, with policemen blocking sidestreets.

About ten miles into the ride I was passed by a formation of two HPVs (human powered vehicles), recumbents in fairings with fully enclosed cockpit. Extremely cool.

The first quarter of the ride seemed to be taking too long, and I was warm enough to remove a layer but hanging on to the Circleville stop. We passed the Circleville laundromat where we'd stopped to put our soaking wet clothes into the dryers in 2005 and I was missing my karass.

When I got to the rest stop I was surprised to see that it was at MP29, so it was a somewhat late position. A great stop as always at TOSRV, lots of good snacks, water, plenty of room, mechanics to assist riders with problems, the usual great job.

Centreville to Chillicothe was a nice leg, only 21 miles, and with the sun popping out, the temps rising, and the jackets coming off there was a down-to-business vibe on this segment. I saw a rider on a SlingShot racing bike with a mid-suspension design, it had a carbon fiber wedge in the top tube and a tension cable in place of a down tube, a very unusual design especially given its early 90's timeframe.

The first half of the ride, there was a lot of unannounced passing not only by individuals but sometimes by twin pacelines of twenty riders. They made an awesome woosh-noise as they passed, but it really seemed that a few calls or bells would have been prudent.

In Chillicothe there was another well-run stop, lots of food and drink, a first aid station and bike mechanics, a live band; it was like a bike swap meet with a Woodstock vibe. Saw a tandem made out of wood. Although I thought it was a Calfee it was a one-off, a beautiful bike. Usually (?) a wooden bike has wooden support members with steel or carbon fiber joiners, but this frame was wood from stem to stern. It was beautiful.

I did get lost coming out of Chillicothe, made a wrong turn and started following the signs for the next day's trip back to Columbus, but after a while I got it figured out.

The third leg from Chillicothe to Waverly has a few climbs in it, and on this segment I noticed something missing from previous years. Used to be, scout troops and church groups etc. would give away free hot dogs / drinking water, and there'd be a cigar box for donations - everybody understood they weren't licensed or certified to sell food to the public, let alone collect taxes but they could give it away and maybe you'd leave a donation? This dodge seemed to work very well in the past but this year there were no wink/nod supply stands.

I really felt the need for one at the top of Schoolhouse Hill - while the hill isn't too demanding, it's at just the right point for a water refill and none was available. Later in the ride, I did see two places giving away free water, and those folks weren't taking any donations - something must have changed. I hate it, sometimes, when things change.

I saw a woman riding a bike with a mirror mounted low on the frame, I've never seen that before. When I asked her about it she didn't have much info, turns out it's a Bike-Eye.

Approaching Waverly the residents of Bristol Village, a chronologically gifted community, were out on the street cheering and ringing cowbells for every bicyclist, that was very nice of them.

The Waverly rest stop at Lake White at MP75 was great, everybody seemed tired but there was only a last leg to go. In the beginning of the day, with the rush and vigor a lot of courtesy dropped by the wayside and people would pass without notice and other unspeakable outrages, but by the last leg it seems like everybody had calmed down and good practices resumed.

At about MP97 I developed a loud squeak in one of my rear derailleur pulleys, but a bit of WD40 fixed that and there were no other bike problems.

Camping Overnight

In addition to logging some miles and doing a century ride, which I haven't done in a few years, a big part of the mission for this trip was camping out overnight in preparation for an upcoming DC-Pgh trip.

I rode across Portsmouth to the once-famous Spartan Stadium, which was the home of the Portsmouth Spartans before they moved and became the Detroit Lions. This was also the venue of the NFL's first night game.

There were quite a few tents set up on the soccer fields outside of the old football stadium:

I was walking around, checking out all the equipment (skewing toward BigAgnes and Marmot) when somebody made eye contact with me as if I were a peeping Tom, and I hastily explained that walking around all that gear selected by knowledgeable people was better than any REI seminar.

There was one Hennessy Hammock from the alternative crowd:

And of course, there's always more than one alternative view:

It was a very nice day.

   May 12, 2012 Week 18
this week:
209 miles
  2nd Qtr 744 miles
17 mi/day2-QTR
2012: 1760 miles

1 comment:

  1. Granfalloon. You may have nailed it! Consider that the ubiquitous sunglasses and alien-like helmets reinforce that. When I started riding TOSRV as a child, bare heads (a keep in mind, no fatalities) and eye contact were the reality.