Sunday, July 12, 2015
I knew pretty much from the start that this tour was going to be top-notch as far as organization and amenities goes since it was production of Rod Hutton and Joe Florian’s Buckeye Country Roads outfit, whose Erie Shores tour I had done a year before. Driving down across Ohio to the tour’s home base in Coshocton on Saturday, I had driven through the edge of the same territory that the ride would take us through. At the time, I remarked to myself that these steep, hilly roads would make for a great drive in a sports car or on a motorcycle, but “surely they wouldn’t route us on these kinds of roads this week.” Little did I know…
But let’s begin at the beginning. We met and registered Sunday at the Coshocton Village Inn & Suites, which is clearly the nicest hotel in this tourist-oriented town. Coshocton is in eastern Ohio — northeast of Columbus — and sits to the south of the Amish territory where we’d be spending most of the week. Since our warm-up ride wouldn’t be getting underway until early afternoon, short routes of 23 and 30 miles were available. Not being in the best of cycling condition, I opted for the shorter distance to “save myself” for the anticipated hilly days to come.
One great advance that BCR has made this year is to forego the pavement-marking hassles (which I often miss anyway) and supply each rider with a basic Garmin 200 GPS unit that has each day’s routes pre-loaded. For riders like myself who have our own Garmins, the routes were made available for download a few days before the event. This not only makes following the route pretty much foolproof, but also makes it easy to make last-minute route changes by simply loading new files into the units. Kudos to them for implementing this convenience!
We started the ride as a group, but swiftly became separated by individual paces as we headed out to the north and east of Coshocton. Our first “significant climb” (more on that later) came less than 4 miles into the route. That was the only real hill on the short route and served as a preview of what was to come. The always-well-stocked rest stop was at about the 15-mile point, and after that it was a smooth ride back to the hotel. We actually came into town at the north end of Roscoe Village, which sits across the Muskingum River from Coshocton and is the main tourist attraction in the area.
Today’s wine-and-cheese reception, which of course also included selections from the Great Lakes Brewery, was at the Warehouse Steak ‘n’ Stein restaurant in Roscoe Village, within walking distance of the hotel. Roscoe Village is a restored old canal town along the former Erie & Ohio Canal and features the usual selection of tourist-oriented eateries and craft shops. After the presentation of the next day’s route, our dinner was served at the tables in the outside seating area and we had a chance to start getting to know each other. We were on our way!