Sunday, June 28, 2015

GOBA 2015

Weather predictions all week were rain. In fact I almost went home the first day. From the moment I got there all the Ohioan's were talking about was the massive amounts of rain and flooding they had over the month. In fact they were concerned the fields we parked out would be flooded on our return. Everyone had a constant check on their weather app. It rained from the moment I hit Ohio to about 60 miles before Van Wert, the starting point. I was so excited, the 650 mile trip seemed minimal. I pitched my tent and immediately began cruising looking for old friends and already acquiring new ones. We had the usual bike parade to town and then opening ceremonies with a band and all the towns people. One thing for certain, Ohio people are warm welcoming folks. Of course, it helps when you bring 2,000 people worth of money too. The weather showed 50-80 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms all week, not unusual for Summer especially in Ohio. The first night at about 2 am, I heard light rain on my tent. At 5 it was raining hard and the wind was strong. I began to doubt my ability to ride a week in rain. I got up, grabbed some coffee and headed indoors to decide. A half hour later the rain had stopped and there were breaks in the clouds. I decided to commit and there was no turning back. This ride was advertised as flat and we were fortunate to have no rain and the wind at our backs for an easy 50+ miles to Bluffton. Although the riding on GOBA can be anticlimactic as to scenery,(riding through fields off corn, wheat and beans), it's small towns are quite charming and welcoming and Bluffton is no exception. Ohio is hot in the Summer and being a slow rider I am never back early enough to find a shaded spot to pitch my tent. My trike however provides a rolling chair and I have no problem striking up conversations. The next day was again any easy trip to Defiance for our 2 day layover. Many people on GOBA are not avid cyclists and train just a few hundred miles prior to coming, so it was no surprise that some chose not to ride the layover day. I ride all days and this day was another 55 but 40 had to be in head and crosswinds. Although it was a beautiful day, it was a grind, and I was having a hard time recovering. The next day was again beautiful for our ride to Bowling Green, another College town with lots of bars and restaurants. It was another great choice for our next 2 day layover. The weather changed a bit on my layover ride and I only managed 32 miles, 10 of which was in the rain. Fortunately, it cleared later in the day so we could enjoy the town. It was the Century ride and many people did it including my buddies Gary and Terrie from home. They said they rode about 70 miles in rain. Big kudos to them and it was their first GOBA. The next days ride, which was to be my last, was a supper easy and fast ride to Ottowa. It was a beautiful morning but the afternoon promised rain and heavy winds for the night and next day. Many people decided to ride on through back to Van Wert to pick up their car.  In hindsight I would have done the same. Some local riders were able to bail by calling friends and family, but, many remained toughing it out for the last day. Luck was on my side and I was offered a ride to Van Wert to pick up my car. By the time I got back to Ottawa is was raining hard. The last nights festivities and song contest was moved inside, upsetting for us and the town. I decided to spend the rainy night in my tent and get an early start home in the morning. At 2 am the winds were fierce and my tent was failing so I packed up and took shelter in the school. It was no surprise to see many riders huddled wondering how they would manage the days ride. I later learned they cancelled the ride at the lunch stop and shuttled people back to their cars in Van Wert. Unfortunately, they had to drive back to Ottawa to get their bags. I was surprised GOBA organizers did not have a better plan. They always have safety in mind and do a great job protecting 2,000 riders. I only know of 3 injuries on the ride. One cyclist fell off his bike, one tripped while walking and one pedestrian hit by a GOBA cyclist on a bike path. It's a shame the ride ended on a negative note but for me it was another fantastic trip and I look forward to next year. If it is not on your "Bucket List", it should be.

First night, Van Wert Fairgrounds

Tim's 700, Bentrider buddy

Loading baggage truck first day

Home Defiance 2 day layover

Gary and Terrie from New Jersey

Carl, Sam, Rosie, JJ, Marybeth, me,Joe and Ron

Salt lick

The Miller's

Gary and his 700

Paul, Barb and his gang

Van Wert party

GOBA parade into Van Wert

First day loading luggage trucks


Typical rest stop





Greg riding 559 self contained

Last day Saturday ride courtesy of Tim

Friday, June 19, 2015

Heading to Gobaville

Today I had my last training ride before heading to Gobaville. Started as a warm sunny Summery day and ended with torrential down pours. Good practice for what's ahead. The forecast is typical with scattered thunderstorms all week. My bags are packed and all things except the tent are wrapped in plastic. I decided on 1 big duffel and let them carry. I tried to go light but it seems the last few days I keep adding the "just in case stuff". It's a great week and I am very excited. I'll be leaving quite early for this 10 hour road trip. I hope I can get some sleep.
The side pods now have 20 lbs of stuff.
This bag has been growing daily.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Decisions Decisions

I'm having trouble deciding on which way to go on GOBA. It's a flat route so only issues will be wind which sucks no matter how you tackle it. I did GOBA 2 years ago self-contained. It was a bit hilly and no problem. My tour in Florida, especially the hilly central part again no problem. In the past I have done supported tours utilizing 2 duffle bags. I purchased 1 large rolling duffle to carry everything and it does seem convenient. My past trip to South Carolina with my wife was a much needed mini VK. Things continue to be crazy at home. We have a big job to tackle when I get back that will consume a good part of July so I am very much looking forward to this trip. I think I will keep things simple  with 1 bag.
There I've decided.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

In Preparation Of

Being down to 1 bike I like keeping spare parts on hand. Although I still had some tread left on my Tryker tires after 6k miles the right one was showing many small cracks. Time for relacement. Chains don't seem to last more than a year for me and mine was 50% worn for a couple of months. It hit 75% and so I replaced. My crankset has over 28k miles and I found a good deal so it got replaced along with a new front derailer cable. The rear was replaced a few months back. The original 9 year old rear fender cracked many months back and I did a make shift repair. While taking the trike out for a test ride I noticed a rattle and low and behold the rear fender broke. I had 2 old fenders and many spare parts and I was able to make 1 good fender with sturdy mounts. I hate rattles. I also setup my new tent and seam sealed. All this in preparation for GOBA which is always a good time. The only thing left is to decide whether I do it self-contained.
old tire 6k miles

new tires

new crankset

new chain and cassette

broken fender with shitty mounts

new fender with nice mounts