– 19th Long Distance Prep Ride Report
– 9 riders. There were 7 riders at the start and we met Susan and Ward at the second water break in Chagrin Falls. They were riding the course in reverse and ended up riding with some of the riders who were returning from there.
The ride started out about as normal as any other ride but we were a little worried about getting back in before the predicted rain came in. We didn’t realize that it would be one of those days where the afternoon temperature would be lower than at the start. We knew that we would have to fight the headwinds on the return but the course had a lot of trees to block the wind. Later in the ride, our worries about the weather lessened because the temperatures still were ok.
Leaving the lunch break at Kent, we decided to take a more direct route home to beat the rain. That direct route would mean taking the Hike and Bike trail, which would eliminate miles of rollers and a climb out of the valley which would have added to the ride time. When we got onto the trail we ran into a little snow for a few minutes but the temperature was still above freezing so it wasn’t bad at all.
We decided to make a quick stop in Brecksville to thaw out but once we got there the rain started. We noticed that the skies were bright in the west and it looked like there would be an opening of clear skies so we waited for it. When we got back on the road there was no rain for the next 7 miles so we timed our break just right. Right around mile 98 (with 12 miles to go) there was thunder, sleet, snow, and very high winds. The snow was blowing horizontal and right into our eyes. It was pretty painful. Even with glasses, the sleet was still getting into the eyes. Then the glasses started to fog. Every once in a while the sleet would cause me to have to close one eye (so it could recover). Trying to ride, alternating eyes, was making me dizzy. Pushing my helmet forward helped some. To make matters worse, we were approaching the downhill at Ridge Rd. We had to slow down to about 16 mph for the decent. Once we were down the hill, it got even worse. My legs started to get cold and my hands were frozen but that was the least of our troubles. We had very low visibility. Several times I had to unclip because I thought I was going to bail out, off-road. We were down to 12 mph and decided to get on the bike path. It seemed that Mark, Sid, and I had the same idea – to pedal at a high cadence to generate some heat. I wanted to stop so, so bad but there was nowhere to stop to stay warm.
If you want to experience the pain we were experiencing, have someone take a handful of crushed ice and throw it in your eyes. Then have them take a handful of salt and throw THAT it your eyes. Finally, have them smash a dinner plate over your head. That’s what we were going through!
Things cleared up at about 5 miles from the end. The winds calmed down and the snow and rain stopped and we were able to relax during the last 3 miles.
What an experience! Would I do it again? I’d rather kiss a basket of cobras.
|Bryan Sharp||Sid McMahon|
|Eric Overton||Susan Peterson|
|Jeff Kompa||Tammy Murray|
|Jerry Golinski||Ward Peterson|
Newcomers included: Susan Peterson and Ward Peterson
|Max. Miles||110 miles|
|Temperature||34-44 degrees (with winds at 18-32 mph and gusts at 39 mph)|
|Close Calls||A small stick got caught in Sid’s spokes. No broken spoke or damage.|
|Fixed Gear, Single Speed, Cyclocross, or Mountain Bike||0|
— “No Whining, No Cheating, No Drugs, No Motorized Vehicles, and No Abusing the Organizer”