The 22nd GOBA will go down in history as the hottest and the hilliest to date. The temperatures were in the high 80’s and low 90’s with high humidity. Scattered thunderstorms were predicted several days but we only saw one brief 10 minute shower…..rain would have been a welcome change from the blistering heat.
The ride was 7 days with two layover days and camping at fair grounds, colleges and schools. I chose not to ride on the layover days and ended the week with 235 miles and 12,854 feet of climbing for the five days I rode….that’s a lot of climbing for this flat-lander The Garmin registered double digits several times for the grade on those climbs. The down hills were fantastic and my computer says my max speed for the week was 36 mph. Several down hills were in shaded areas and some roads were rough so I certainly understand why my hands are sore from gripping the brakes.
Each day consisted of visiting small towns in the valleys and then climbing to the top of ridges to enter the next town in the next valley. Local organizations provided snack and lunch stops. These people do a fantastic job of making sure we’re well fed and entertained along the way. One of our lunch stops was in Beverly, Ohio and I stopped at the edge of town to get a picture and welcomed a few riders to “my town”.
I had to climb most of the hills in stages….climb until the left leg screamed for mercy, rest a couple minutes and start again. This became harder as the day progressed and the temperatures rose so a few hills were walked toward the end of the day. I had a lot of company on these walks. The third day was brutal…the temperature reached the mid 90’s and I sagged in after 41 miles and almost 3,600 feet of climbing. My leg threatened to fall off my body if I tried one more hill I counted 9 more hills as my bike and I rode the last 14 miles in the comfort of the air-conditioned SAG wagon.
I did a ride along the western Michigan shore a few years ago and thought the hills were bad but I honestly think Southeast Ohio has worse hills….maybe it’s just because I’m older. It was a great ride and I had a wonderful time but it will be a long time before I tackle another ride this hilly! There were a few people who just hung it up and went home after the first day.
Here’s pictures from the ride: