It truly was an amazing weekend.
Those Hocking Hills are tough, and I thought they would never end on the way back to Columbus! But it was worth every pedal stroke, as was the over 5000 miles I have pedaled this year getting ready for this event. The suffering I experience pales in comparison to suffering experienced by cancer victims and their families. And the signs posted along Sterner road served as a reminder as I battled that hill.
I've been riding over 20 year, recreationally and competitively, so it was easy to think about "my ride" and overlook the real purpose. I was able to catch up with old friends. I made many new friends. I enjoyed riding through the beautiful Hocking Hills (much easier to say that today, even though it still feels like my legs are somewhere on a road in Hocking County). Good times!
But, we all had a story and a reason to be riding. And we shared those reasons with each other. Most were gut wrenching and I found myself teary eye on many occasions. I rode along side a lady from out of state who lost her mother at the James last year during the Pelotonia weekend. She came back to ride the 180 miles. One of many stories.
The crowds along the road served as a reminder of our mission. The true reality and the reason hits hard when someone offers to shake your hand and say “Thank you for riding. I am a survivor” or Thank you for riding, I lost my mother to cancer”.
Total rider count was 4047, and it is estimated that over $8 million will be raised.
Unfortunately there was a tragic death on Saturday. Please keep the family of Michelle Kazlausky in your thoughts and prayers.
I also found out the a very close friend and training partner lost his battle to malanoma on Tuesday night. I talked to him on Saturday after my ride, and told him that I would call him on Sunday. Sorry to say, I didn't. Made for a very tough week.
At the start. I’m in the bright pink jersey that cant be missed. Limited Brands..than you! This was during the national anthem. See how many have their helmets off? Sorry, that’s disrespectful. There was actually a twit in front of me that was on his Iphone, and continued to yack during the rollout. GOTFP!!!!!!
I’ve lived in Ohio for 10 years and have been to the Hocking Hills only once. Beautiful country! Killer Hills!
Here is the link for the combined two day ride.
I arrived at registration at about 2:30 PM. Check in was not a problem for me. I’m glad I got there when I did, I heard there was some really long delays later in the day
Got checked in, had a few Muscle Milks, and a few Amstel Lights. The weather was great. It was a great day!
We met at 5:30 for a group picture of the Limited Brands Peloton.
Group pic was done, went to Level to have dinner with David and a friend.
I had intentions of getting a good nights rest, but that didn’t work out. I was too excited! I finally got to sleep about 2:00 AM. I was up at 4:30 to make sure I got the start in time to get a good start position as close to the front as possible. Over 4000 riders were going to be riding so I wanted to be poised for a prime spot.
SATURDAY- Columbus to Athens- 104 miles
Got to the start at 5:30, and was able to get near the front for a great starting position
A word about the jersey. We definitely stood out. And there were lots of comments made. Primarily positive. My only objection was the sizing. Mine fit like a toe sack.. I’m a medium but needed a small. Regardless of the design, considering what Limited Brands did for us, if they wanted me to wear a pushup bra and lace panties, I would have done so. THANK YOU LIMITED BRANDS!!!!
Wheels rolled at 7AM-
I felt great from the start, and was glad to get out on the road as fast as I did. I started to push it hard to stay with the lead group but by the the we got to Neal Ave I decided it was a stupid move on my part. I still had 100 miles to go!
I did catch on with a good group who maintained a steady 18-20 pace thru town and all the way to the first rest stop. They made the stop, I felt good and kept rolling. From that point most of my riding all the way to Athens was all solo.
The weather that day really wasn’t that bad. Mostly cloudy, in the 70’s. The forecast called for partly cloudy skies, with afternoon storms in Athens. When I left the house, the radar did show storms on the Indiana/Ohio that needed watching. From my sight, looking to the east and south, I didn’t see any problems with weather. Good thing I never looked over my shoulder!
I got to the Amanda (40 miles) feeling good, but I needed a stop to top of my water bottles and grab a quick bite. The next stop was at the bottom of Starner Hill, and I didn't want to stop and then go into an immediate climb.
Once leaving Amanda, we get into the hills, which was a brief sign of thing to come..Starner Hill!
Starner Hill…Part 1
Heard about it, was hoping what I heard was exaggerated. But it wasn’t! Got to the bottom of the hill (pic above) and thought “I didn’t train for this” And the climb wasn’t made an easier my chip seal two weeks ago.
First part of the climb was not that bad. The road leveled off for a bit, then came part two. It was tougher, and longer. Almost didn't make it. Finally, it leveled off for a bit longer, then you could see Part 3 ahead. It didn’t look that bad, until you started the climb. Once committed there was no stopping.
I have to admit, this was the first time during the ride that I got emotional. People had come out, posted signs along side the road “I”m suffering so you don’t have to” and others to the effect. While I was catching my breath, I said to myself “I’ve got to do this..no walking allowed”
Shortly after we got past the hill, there was an unofficial rest stop set up by a local family. Cold water, bananas, homemade treats! Topped off my water bottles. Just what I needed. From that rest stop it was 48 miles to Athens! Don’t know who you were….but you guys rocked!
Got to Logan and rode on past the rest stop. Logan was a mess. One traffic marshall, who was clueless and was making sure the big trucks with wide mirrors got to Wal-Mart. We did hear horns blowing, but it was not in support of the ride. It was more like “get out of our town”
As soon as we got out of Logan, my left leg starting cramping and I went into survival mode. I came this far, I was going to finish if it took me another five hours to do. About 20 miles out, I started getting my legs. About the same time the Nelsonville hill was in view. Wasn’t expecting that one, but I made it up really well considering the way I had felt.
From that point it was downhill and flats! I actually had my best ride of the day in the last 12 miles. I was really proud of what I was doing and the fact that I was having a better ride than I expected!
Got to Athens about 1:15 ( give or take a few minutes). Gotta say, the volunteers in Athens were great. As soon as I was off my bike..cold water, someone grabbed my bike to take it to checkin, and before I could finish my water, my bag was at my feet! I was in my dorm less than 15 minutes after arrival. Hot shower..yes! And Limited Brands left BBW Aromotherapy Orange Ginger body wash and shampoo. Thanks again LB!
By the time I got changed, and to the food tent (I mean beer tent!) the heavens opened and it poured, and poured.
Had lots to eat, hydrated, and was dead to the world by 9PM..in party town Athens, OH.
Day 1 profile:
DAY 2- Athens to Slate Run Metro Park, 80 miles
I woke up at about 4:30. Legs were screaming. I had a feeling I was going to be in for long day!
We woke up at 5:30, got our bikes, got our spot in the chute, and off to a breakfast of cold, stale bagels and peanut butter thanks to Bob Evans. They did have scrambled eggs and bacon but I thought I would pass on that.
It had rained some overnight, meaning wet roads to start. The first 12 miles were on the bike trail, so we were sent out in waves. It was a easy ride for the most part, which meant I was able to find my legs, and I was feeling great by the time I got to Nelsonville.
Once again, we had to deal with Logan, but at least they weren’t trying to get to Wal-Mart. Still heard horns blowing, again, not in support.
Overall, I felt a lot better on Sunday. But I thought those hills would never end. It actually seemed like we had more hills on Sunday, but my Garmin said otherwise. The hills to the west of Amanda really surprised me..short and steep and they kept coming,I was really surprised at the
I did make one stop in Logan and topped off my water bottles. The next stop was in Amanda. I got there, felt good and continued on.
I had decided that Sunday would be my day to push it, I had a goal to be in by 12PM. I finished at high noon!
Day 2 route profile: