The route is the safest route we can design for cyclists on road to Ada Ohio. YES, there are some hills that require effort, but also exhilarating downhills and scenery that are amazing. We will have a slightly new rest stop in Bellefontaine that allows us to use the town’s largest shelter. Bellefontaine looks forward to our cyclists coming through their town. Now, a few rules on the route to keep it safe. We know you like to socialize during the ride and ride next to friends etc.; after all this is a tour NOT a race. I like that too. Please be vigilant on the road and make way for cars by getting in a single line so that the cars can safely pass….then after it is clear you can reform into 2 abreast groups etc. It is amazing how the safest route can become dangerous……a car trying to pass a single organized line of cyclists will almost always give you plenty of room if you show common courtesy…..you may even get a wave from the driver because they realize they have good cyclists out there also willing to share the road. Riders riding 2 and 3 across and not paying attention are asking for trouble. Over the years the so called “close calls” I hear about at Ohio Northern almost ALWAYS involve riders not paying attention to traffic…….because I always ask and the answer is usually, “yeah were talking and riding 3 across!” Ok…enough about this…..be smart and you will be SAFE!
It is a gorgeous route with plenty of rest stops along the way……ENJOY the ride! We spent many hours planning and painting this route…..you should be able to follow it easily, but take a map in case (available at Young’s).
Youngs to RS #1:
Good warm-up on flat roads up to Old Mill Road. Careful at train tracks on Old Mill road….downhill, gravel, tight turn left. Yes there is a hill to get out of the Mad River Valley near Springfield, but you have to climb out of the river valley everywhere in Springfield, and Old Mill is the safest route to do so. The “hill” is about 1/2 mile and not steep in all sections, spin in low gear and enjoy the challenge…..don’t go to hard and “spend your wad” too early! The hill is not insurmountable and can be done with just a little determination! We do turn left and ride on route 40 for 1/8 mile, so be careful crossing 40 and use the HUGE berm that is there on your right as you turn right onto New Carlisle Pike. Once on top, the ride to Lawrenceville Rest Stop #1 is only a couple miles further; it is a beautiful part of the route so enjoy your accomplishment and take a short rest.
RS #1 (Lawrenceville) to RS#2 (Concord Church):
Another pretty section of the route with rollers and loop-de-loops and good roads….when Geoff Smith and I marked the route yesterday, traffic was very low ….excellent roads and country scenery. Say Hi to Pastor Dan Engle at Concord Church if you see him and tell him thanks for letting us use their parking lot for our 2nd rest stop. Get a quick snack and drink and get ready for next segment….don’t linger especially if it is hot out!
RS#2 (Concord) to RS #3 (Southview Park in Bellefontaine):
NOW my favorite segment of the whole darn route because we got rid of that “highway with fast cars” section we used to take. Smooth rollers and gorgeous long vistas with a great view of “Jill’s Hill”. I don’t know why or who named it “Jill’s Hill” (all our riders may have had something to do with that) but it is quite a sight! Here are the facts of Jills Hill on township 187 near Hwy 508. Jill’s Hill is 1/8 mile long and 8% grade….no more….no less. I am not making this sound easy , but Southern Ohio would make this gem look small! It will be a heart pounder, but you will feel accomplished upon reaching the top. OK, I think lots of riders approach this hill with much intrepidation…. It is a beautiful sight. As you approach Jill, take it easy on her at the bottom. Be prepared by gearing down slightly so you can spin up Jill. Don’t “spend all your cash” by overspinning on Jill too early…….she likes you to be gentle and go slow when you start up her; if you go to fast, she may bite you at the top! Spin up with a concentrated effort and climb your way to the top. If you have the energy near the top….get those crazy legs going! Before cresting Jill, muster up that award winning smile (and keep to the right near the crest…even though lightly travailed, Jill does have the occasional car traveling down her from the North) ….our photographer Chris Leigeber will be snapping your picture near the top….if you are a little wiped, stop and talk to Chris……one of the nicest fellas around ……Chris always carries extra “ice-cold” water and is willing to share with friendly, (possibly tired) folks….enjoy the rollers North of 508 and the view of “Doke Lake” as you “hairpin” around the lake, making a right onto T-186, then North to Southview Park…our 3rd Rest Stop…..don’t linger!
RS#3 (SouthView) to RS#4 in Belle Center
After Jill, there are no others! Yes, maybe a few hills, but none like Jill. You will enjoy this segment of the route as it will require only soft pedaling for the most part. Pedal North on Troy street in Bellefontaine and enjoy the new part of the route on a 25 mph (speed limit on much of TROY street) stretch through town. A few pot holes, to watch for, but most have been patched and are easy to navigate by bike. Careful crossing 33 (clear view at stop sign) and enjoy the view as you pedal a downhill to meet up with a familiar part of the route that you rejoin from previous years. A little tricky North at Hwy 638, but look at the arrows and you will be just fine…..enjoy the spin onto CR-107 North to Fairview Cemetery and make your left into Belle Center where lunch will be served. Lunch is at a DIFFERENT (LARGER) SHELTER, so just follow the painted arrows…..you will see the lunch stop on your right……..linger here…….but not TOO long…..keep those legs moving every 10-15 minutes if it takes you a while to eat. Enjoy Lunch from Dan Young and his crew!
RS#4 (Belle Center) to RS#5 (Upper Scioto Valley High School McGuffey)
What can I say about this stretch,,,,,hmmm…..probably another of my favorites as you take mainly flat roads and spin those legs out after lunch…….you don’t have too much further at this point, and it should go smoothly. Some do not stop at Rest Stop #5 because Ada (Ohio Northern) is only a short pedal in on flat roads. Go ahead and stop for a minute and visit the volunteers that are there to support all us riders at RS #5.
RS#5 (Upper Scioto Valley High School McGuffey) to ADA and OHIO NORTHERN!
Now, I will say that wind can be an issue later in the day, but the corn is fairly high and we took great care with the route to “stair step” you in toward town so that you don’t have to face a long continuous stretch into a (generally speaking in summer) West Wind. Enjoy this Short stretch on the route as you dream of ice cream and an air-conditioned apartment (only a few years old!). Now, for those brave enough to take the POWER LOOP you will get 100 (or very close to ) miles in before you hit Ada. The power loop is very flat. After the Rest stop in Mcguffey, power loop riders will turn right at County Road 90 just about 1 mile north of our rest stop (other riders will simply go straight). power loop riders will go through the small town of Dola, Ohio and head west to finish out their day. Look out for “Il Pirata” out on the power loop route, I heard he is very fast;-)
I have also heard from a good source that there will be Young’s ice cream, Great Lakes beer (donations accepted for beer), water, pop, warm food and snacks for the afternoon AND entertainment in the Quad!
Oh wait…..no rumors……it is true. Get a key along with towels and linens for your stay (and reminder to wear your key lanyard so you don’t lose your key and incur a $50 fee!!!!!!!) and enjoy the air-conditioning and awesome shower after you settle in…..rest a while and relax and join everyone out on the quad to hear the great sounds from Joe and his awesome guitar! We can share a few lies about how fast we all were and brag about how much darn fun we had! Get a cold one and enjoy the afternoon. This is one of my favorite times of the whole event….(OK, having you all up for karaoke later in the evening is really my favorite part, but that is after dinner!) Dinner is served at 6 where you will be served awesome foods and ice cold beverages. You must suffer me for a bit, but I will TRY to be brief. We will be handing out some door prizes. Relax after dinner and join us for festivities out on the Quad.
After Dinner and evening hours:
You earned your right to relax and have fun! We will set up a projector screen and some music equipment for possible auditions to American Idol….OK…maybe not that, but karaoke will be available and the only intent is to have fun with it. We will be over in the Quad, so we will not bother anyone around us……and what is done in Ada …stays in Ada! We will have cold beverages (again, donations accepted for beer!) and snacks for everyone. If that is not your scene, you can feel free to go uptown and see a movie or take a walk uptown. There is a Rite-Aide in town right off campus if you simply need a few items that you may have forgotten (a short leg-stretching walk is good for you anyway! ). We can also view all our pictures from the day on the projector screen (and laugh at those fake smiles on everyone’s faces on top of Jill!)
We will tell you about Sunday on Saturday evening!
1-day riders will take the bike path from just north of Young’s. 1-day riders doing the 28 mile route will ride to our first rest area near Springfield and return to Young’s for lunch. 1-day riders doing the 56-mile ride will ride to the 2nd path stop in Urbana where lunch will be served and return to Young’s. This is a nice section of the trail and you may see some of our 2-day riders returning from ADA. Enjoy the ride and we will see everyone back at Young’s after the ride.
I heard that it might be about 90 for highs this weekend. It certainly will not break our current record (102 degrees in 1997 I think). But here are some pointers for warm weather riding. You will lose water through your skin as you ride. You may not feel as though you sweat much….that is because sweat is evaporating as you ride. Keep the Fluid levels high during your ride…..water is best with some food as you ride. Resist the urge to fill up on gatorade or other like liquids. Nothing wrong with a little Gatorade, but too much can give you stomach problems and inhibit water uptake a little bit……..
Tonight through the rest of week start to think about hydration…..drink water….drink water….drink water…..then before bed….drink water. If you wake up Thursday night and/or Friday night to pee a couple times….you are ready!
2. Road rules:
Wear your helmet! Stay to right when possible (discussed earlier), but again, don’t make this safe route UNSAFE for others around you by YOUR actions. If you are passing someone, make sure the road is clear of cars (from behind or in front) and let people know you are passing….nothing wrong with passing or being passed, some people are naturally faster than others…..just let them know. Be cautious around corners and when cresting hills, even rollers. If you are too far left and a car comes the opposite way a little left of center on a hidden curve or hill….could be a possible unsafe condition. Use your noggins and again…common sense is best.
3. Path Rules:
We offer the bike path for 1-day riders and as the return route for our 2-day riders from the Concord Church RS. Simply pedal the marked route to Urbana on Sunday, and cruise down the path from Urbana to Yellow Springs (Young’s). The path is not without some dangers. The path can be a great experience and a little easier on the legs as far as climbing is concerned. Use similar rules that you used on the road, allow faster cyclists a passing lane, give on-coming cyclists room to pass by (especially on narrow parts of the pathway). Do not ride more than 2 abreast. Watch for other trail users, skaters, dog on leashes, dogs OFF leashes…..(yes, illegal, but the dogs are not stupid …just the owners). Now, I really doubt we will have any issues on the bike path, if we don’t clog it up. If a large group of riders takes off all at once, make sure you fall into some sort of line…or wait a few minutes and let the path clear….you will probably have it all to yourself. I do not personally recommend “drafting” on any bike path as I had a good friend fall as he touched my back wheel when I had to grab the brakes because a young kid jumped out in front of us (years ago, but be vigilant of other users). Again, not the kid’s fault….bad parenting ….but I DO NOT recommend drafting on any bike path…..my opinion only.
Not an exhaustive list….but a few items to consider…….