Monday, July 20, 2015
At dinner the night before, the group consensus was that we’d ride out starting no earlier than 8AM, which meant of course that we’d almost all be rolling out of the lot precisely at 8AM! Cyclists tend to be early risers. Surveying the group, although there were only 14 of us, I could see that overall there were some serious bikers present who would not be intimidated by any distance or climb (although I was not one of them!).
At the route presentation the night before, we had been warned that there was only one “significant” climb on the route, which would be right near the beginning, followed by relatively easy riding the rest of the way, so I opted for the longer 46-mile route. They were not kidding about the hill, either! It came before I was really warmed up and was a preview of what was to come, rising about 350 ft. at an average 6% grade with some steeper portions near the top — a long slog and a tryout of my lowest gearing.
From there the road was quite enjoyable and what I had hoped for on a tour in this part of the state. The most interesting roadside attraction of the day was when we approached Dresden. This town is famous as the home of the Longaberger Basket Company. One of our stops was at the Longaberger Homestead where the home of founder Dave Longaberger was located along with the original company headquarters. It wasn’t anything I was particularly interested in, but it was good for a couple of photos.
In the town of Dresden itself we had our day’s rest stop in a park alongside the river under an old historic bridge. They had made sure to pick a spot well-known to the local mosquitoes, so some repellent was called for. BCR had four staff members on this tour, with Les and Chris helping out in addition to proprietors Rod and Joe. Their system was to have two people riding or sweeping the routes, one setting up the rest stop, and the other driving another SAG vehicle who would also scout out the next day’s route to make sure it was clear. This worked well throughout the week.
I rode out of the rest stop on a bike path and into downtown Dresden, which is full of shops selling baskets. It was only about 11AM, but since it had been several hours since I had eaten breakfast and there was no sense in getting back to Coshocton really early, I looked around for a restaurant and ended up having an easy light lunch at a pizza & sub shop. The 15-mile ride from there back to Coshocton was unremarkable and I arrived back at the hotel before 2PM, giving me the rest of the afternoon to explore Roscoe Village and sample its wares (read: ice cream) while meeting up with some others of the group who had wandered into the same store (cyclists also tend to gravitate toward ice cream on a warm day).
At the day’s 5PM reception, BCR explained the next day’s route, describing it as one of the hilliest of the tour. Considering what I’d already seen of eastern Ohio’s hills, they managed to scare me off of doing the longer route since I didn’t want to burn out less than halfway into the tour. As was the usual pattern, we were also concerned about the weather, with thunderstorms in the forecast. In fact, this trip really illustrated the disadvantage of everyone having smartphones and tablets for checking the weather: for the entire week, I think that Thursday was the only day that did not show up at some time on some weather app as being certain to be wet. The actual weather? We stayed dry for the entire week, save for some light rain on Friday afternoon.