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


Greg Veal said...

hey, Buddy! I was one of maybe a dozen that finished day 7 back to Van Wert. I had started out pretty early. We were held up at the first rest stop while they rerouted around closed roads due to flooding. I left the second rest stop with a gal I had met on the first leg. Shortly after we hit the road, a SAG car passed and told us that they were closing the road ahead and that we should go back to the rest stop from where we would get bussed back to Van Wert. the gal turned around - I pressed on. When I rode through the flooded area (about 150 ft), my trike seat was under water! What the hell, my ass was already soaked! : )) It was cold and miserable the way only a cyclist could enjoy! The really miserable part was trying to pack the trike on the car with frozen fingers.

All in all, a great week. I mention you in FB post at "Greg's Long Ride Home".

Martin Garnick said...

It was great riding with you. You will have no problem on your epic ride to the Keys.
Tailwinds my friend.