Sunday, November 04, 2007
Red Flannel Metric Century
I woke this morning just in the nick of time to make it out to Oberlin for the Red Flannel Metric Century. This tour is put on by the Lorain Wheelmen and took us through the back roads of Lorain county. Yes, it was chilly....probably about 35 degrees when I set out on the ride. It warmed into the 40's for most of the day and I was relatively comfortable. This is in part due to the fact that I purchased some new tights yesterday to use over the colder months here in Northeast Ohio. They rock. Gore Bikewear Class action tights (chamois free) are highly recommended by me, for whatever that's worth. Yes, they were pretty expensive but my legs were comfortable all day. Even the chilly morning air wasn't leaking through to my thighs.
Most of the Red Flannel ride is on back country roads with almost no traffic. The course was very well marked. Other than a few small climbs the terrain was relatively flat. But, as the day progressed the winds picked up a bit, as one might expect. There were plenty of cookies, made from scratch, and other tasty indulgences to be had along the course. At the rest stops the volunteers served up homemade chilli, black bean soup, and warm apple cider. My stomach wasn't so happy with chilli (and a little Tabasco sauce) in the middle of a 100K, but not much would have tasted better (or been more seasonally appropriate).
As opposed to having a rolling start, most riders set off right around 9:00 a.m. so even through there was only about 250 cyclists the roads were fairly crowded with folks to ride with. One of my companions through these country roads snapped a few pics that I will post after they are e-mailed to me. I, unfortunately, left my camera in the car.....with my cue sheet, map, and chapstick.
This morning, I had my first experience of passing a rig that was traveling in the opposite direction on a 2 lane highway. The truck blew so much cold wind in my face I thought I might start rolling backwards. My chest and jacket served as a sail and I slowed almost 5 miles per hour in about one pedal stroke.
About 35 or 40 miles into the ride I was having a heck of a time buffering the lactate that was building up in my legs. After the Fall 'N' Leaf ride I took 2 weeks completely off (but worked really heard to catch up on my beer drinking), which may have been the cause. I also am wondering if the cold played much of a role. With all the climbing at the Fall 'N' Leaf I felt much stronger than I did today. My other thought is that the headwinds were tough on me, as I see many more hills than strong winds around the Cuyahoga Valley.
After the ride I stopped at the Black River Cafe in downtown Oberlin and the food was awesome!!! Organic coffee. Fresh Vegan pancakes with bananas and maple syrup from good 'ole Ohio maple trees. I had a short stack (2 pancakes) and these things were so filling!! My server told me she's never seen anyone finish a full stack of 3 cakes...which I could have done.....if I didn't also order home fries; which came with green and red peppers and onions. I was stuffed and my tab was 8 bucks!! The atmosphere in this place was great. It was a small room that was alive with chatting voices, sounding more like a sports bar on a Sunday afternoon than a restaurant. The folky rock playing from the radio in the kitchen could be heard over about one fourth of the room as could the clanking of dishes.
The floor was wood. The tables were wood. The chairs were wood. The walls were half wood and I sat at a wood bar that was opposite the windows that looked out onto the street. I picked up a new book at the bookstore across the street so I'd have something to read whilst eating.
It was a great ending to this years cycling season. Now I'm off to get some work done on my research of the feasibility of wind power as an energy source in Ohio. The good professor requires us to collect 40 sources, which.....might......take.........all..........night............