Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 34 - August 7 - Short sharp hills and short sharp thunderstorm

Day 34 - August 7 -  Mansfield, OH to Dover, OH- 63.7 miles (102.5 kms) - total so far; 2787.0 miles (4485.2 kms)

Distance: 63.7  miles (102.5 kms)
Total time: 6hrs40mins (including lunch stop, chat on the road with another tourer and sightseeing) 
Average Moving Speed: 12.5mph (20.1 kph)
Maximum Speed:39.3mph (63.2 kph) 
Calories burned: 3440
Elevation gained: 4009 ft (1222 meters)

Weather: Cloudy in the morning with the threat of imminent rain. Even more humid (90%) and felt very clammy. Temperatures rose to 80F (27C) with south and south east winds but in the trees and on the hills, it was not bothersome.  Very severe thunderstorm with lightning, hail and downpour of rain about 4pm.  And even more muggy when it passed

Powered by:    Breakfast -a bowl of Raisin Bran,  yogurt, a huge Danish roll, a banana, and lots of orange juice.  Lunch of 2 giant pizza cheese slices, 1 liter of Gatorade, a McFlurry when sheltering from the storm and 2 liters of water. 

At the day yesterday, in Mansfield, I got my first taste of the hills that I faced today.  After the hundreds of miles of flatlands of corn and soybeans, the short steep hills surprised my legs and it took a while before they got back into the rhythm of climbing.  Since my legs are much stronger than when I started, I had not used the small ring in front since somewhere in Montana but that changed today.  I can get easily up hills up to 6% on the middle ring but on today's 8-11% grades, I needed that small chain ring.  It's the old conundrum - one climbs for half a mile at (say) 8mph and descending at 30mph plus. It hardly seems fair that one descends in one-quarter the time one spent climbing.  Since the day was very humid and warm, sweat poured off me and the quick downhill quickly cooled me and evaporated the perspiration.  And then it was repeated a few minutes later.  Unlike climbs in the West which are usually long and gradual, these climbs are short and steep, as is evident from the day's elevation profile.

The second surprise of the day was the amount of tourist and truck traffic on the roads of east-central Ohio.  I had a hard time finding a hotel room in the Amish country which was my first clue that this was not western Minnesota when I was often the only guest in the hotels.  Some of the roads had good wide and smooth shoulders, especially around the tourist town of Berlin. Most, however, had narrow and pot-holed shoulders.  I saw quite a few Amish horse and buggies, and also a few Amish women on bicycles.  Their white bonnets and long skirts seem strange on multi-speed bicycles that they need to climb the hills.

Second best street name I've seen - best was "Yer Lost Lane" in Helena, MT but I did not take a picture

The undisputed king of retro biking - from Oregon to DC on a 12 speed 1980 Miyata.

The highlight of the day was chatting with Dave, a retired professor from Oregon State who is riding his 1980 Miyata 12 speed bicycle from Corvalis, OR to Washington DC. He is mostly camping but is traveling with minimal equipment.  As the photo shows,it looks like he is riding to campus for a lecture, though the panniers suggest something else.  Not only does he not wear biking clothes, he eschews biking gloves, clipless pedals, and taped handlebars.  He rides many more hours a day than I do and rode continually for 36 hours in Illinois.  He says that his strategy is to walk hills with more than a 5% grade and I first saw him walking up a particularly steep incline.  He is truly a giant of retro biking and of course, demonstrates that one does not need a huge amount of expensive equipment to make it across the country.  We compared bikes of the late 1970s as I have a 1976 Peugeot PX-10 with its original components.

I feel downright overdressed and ultra-chic compared to my fellow tourer

Lots of 8-10% grades and even more 4-6% grades today

War memorial from before World War I in Millersburg, OH 

Downhill going to Millersburg and uphill going out of town

Lots of Amish kitsch for sale in Berlin

Shortly after I passed quickly through the touristy town of Berlin, it began to rain so I pulled into a conveniently located rest area for it to pass.  After about 30 minutes, I set out in a light drizzle but when I came to the next town, Sugar Creek, I saw flashes of lightning and saw a squall line of heavy rain coming fast.  The golden arches appeared from the gloom and I headed quickly over there.  Just as I made it to the door, heavy rain fell and hailstones began - and I got a tornado warning on my mobile phone.  I thought that the giant windows of a typical Mickey D's would not provide much protection in the event of a direct hit.  After a McFlurry and a short wait, the storm line passed through and I could proceed to Dover, my destination for the day.   The road splash from the trucks was a bit annoying but I was pleased to have avoided the worst of the rain and hail.  Nothing in the panniers seems to be wet, again a tribute to Ortlieb the manufacturer.

Tomorrow, I head to 'almost heaven' West Virginia as I plot my way to the Cumberland Gap through the Alleghenies.  I was in southwest Pennsylvania a couple of years ago and I then noticed all the trucks and construction around fracking.  It seems as if there is no way to avoid this traffic completely so I have to grin and bear both the traffic and the innumerable hills.

1 comment:

  1. awesome!!! what a neat story about Dave. He does look he's headed for a lecture. How special to get to chat with him and share stories and notes.

    I can't believe how far you are Johno. I drove 660 miles from Nashville to DC today, and it aches me to think of biking that distance, yet you have done so much more. You are truly impressive.

    Be safe and hope you avoid rain. The drying perspiration on downhills sounds refreshing, as does the well-deserved junk food after all those hills.

    Welcome to the east coast!! :)