Timon of Athens, 2011-03-27 15:25:41
mtanders and I met Steve and coverjim at the Ottawa depot at 9:30 in the morning. It had rained the night before but the clouds did not look too threatening. It was, however, to be a day without sunshine. Average temperature was about 47 degrees.

Setting out we quickly arrived at the trailhead and stopped so that Steve and mtanders could pay their fees since they had not picked up a year pass like coverjim and I. We did talk about how the outlets for Fish and Game licenses didn’t seem to know that they actually sold these passes. Both of us had to explain carefully that the pass did actually exist to the people who were meant to sell them to us.

After the preliminaries, we took off. Hitting the limestone at the edge of town. We were quickly reassured that the trail was going to be okay to ride. The rain had been absorbed and the surface was firm.

As expected, Steve and coverjim leapt out to big lead. mtanders had done the least amount of riding of the four of us and I spent a lot of time riding with him. The Boy Scout in me lives by the rule “No rider left behind.” It’s a good way to avoid a lot of trouble that can arise from group travel. Besides, as advertised, we were not in a race. I had a lot of time to speed ahead and take pictures. Naturally, Mike and I arrived at Princeton well after the other two.

Since the restrooms hadn’t opened for the season, I let the others rest and biked ahead so that I could get some good pictures of them coming down the trail. About a mile down the trail, I stopped, ate a granola bar and got my camera out. Soon the were coming down the trail and I was getting low for some action shots. They zipped by and I had to gather myself together to make sure that I could catch up with them.

Between Princeton and Richmond was were I really started to see that a good amount of trail maintenance was being done. The entire was I was only seeing one branch fallen on the trail. Also, it was obvious that someone was trimming back the evergreen branches that were starting to intrude upon the trail. Finally, the major washouts that had been on this part of the trail at the end of last season had been filled in and nicely packed. Some of them were firmer than the older parts of the trail itself.

We arrived at Richmond and quickly took off for Garnett. I think this was the only time I have been through the tunnel under the highway and it has been dry. Nice change from the usual splash. The downhill after Richmond is always a nice respite after climbing from Ottawa, but you always know that it comes at the price of the final climb into Garnett. After a quick break at the Pottawatomie bridge, Mike and I began the climb. I noticed that in a week or two the scenery it going to be pretty spectacular on this part of the trail. Many plants looked ready to flower or bud.

We met to others at the picnic table at the edge of town and headed off to the Coffee Shop for lunch. Tasty and a nice break before the return.

After a nice sandwich and German potato salad, we headed out. I let the others go while I got a couple of new shots the courthouse. This meant that I had to really put it in gear to try to catch up with people. Unfortunately, I caught up too soon. Right before the Pottawatomie Bridge, mtanders looked like he was having trouble. I think that it was because he was the only one of us who did not have his legs covered and the muscles got cold. Luckily there was a bench nearby and after some talk, I convinced him that although he could most likely make it the whole way he would pay for it the next day. Since the had driven us and had the bike rack, I took his keys and we agreed to meet in Richmond.

Luckily, I caught up with speedster Steve at the Richmond trailhead. I gave him the keys to go ahead and come back with the car. The Boy Scout in me took over again and I went back to make sure that our ailing companion could make it to Richmond. I said goodbye to coverjim at this point and told him how mtanders was in awe of his skills.

Armed with a razz-ma-tazz bar from the Coffee Loft and full water bottle, I headed back to mtanders. He had been making good progress after a rest and we met up at Scipio Road. He was feeling better after putting his legs up. He was able to make forward progress, but not really get up over 7mph. We made it back to Richmond and waited for our pick-up.

Overall, it was a really nice ride despite our difficulties. While it was chilly out, the exercise kept me warm. It was really nice to see the trail ready to burst out into spring. This ride was a little tougher for me than it had been in the past as it was my first time on the bike this season.

Looking forward to our Ottawa-Iola-Ottawa ride in late May. I think I will finally get my century.

jlovitt, 2011-04-20 11:19:40
I think I might be interested in an Ottawa-Iola-Ottawa ride. Is that being planned on a separate thread?
Keep me in the loop if you don’t mind.
Timon of Athens, 2011-04-20 12:54:21
Sure thing.

The current planning isn’t any further along than “sometime in late May.” When things get a little more solid. I’ll post the details.

You would be going much faster than the rest of us.

Speed Demon.

Yes, I am jealous.

jlovitt, 2011-04-21 10:51:50
I’m not all that fast. And I do enjoy riding with other people.

However, I do have to confess that having lost my title (very briefly held indeed) of fastest end-to-end, I am interested in setting a new record of fastest round-trip.

So I might let you guys leave earlier, and then try to catch up, or else head off faster near the end.

Timon of Athens, 2011-04-21 13:36:02
Setting a record shouldn’t be hard, given that the current one is just a placeholder.

Sounds good to me. Most of us were talking about a leisurely 10 hour pace, so you could most likely start 3 hours later. We could leave messages at the trailheads.

Guess that I should start organizing and putting in more saddle time.

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