Thursday, December 13, 2012

Group Bike Ride (December) To John Bryan State Park-90 Miles

– DECEMBER 10, 2012 -
Myself, Kristen Arnold, Chris Arndt, and Taylor Kruse and Trent Saksa all saddled up about 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning to ride out to John Bryan State Park. The idea was, ride out, buy some waffles, hot chocolate, and watch some of the OVCX Cyclocross race. We also wanted to make some rowdy noise for our teammates, Tori, Doug, Joel and Chris Knapp.
The waffle and hot coco purchase was important because all the proceeds were going towards the LionHearts team and their venture to Cyclocross Nationals.
We pedaled out of the Battelle Darby Picnic area and headed south just a bit to turn right and head towards the newly created paved Trail heading to London. The path was wide and smooth. The chance for rain was 80%. However, we had only a little bit of sprinkles on the way out and no rain whatsoever while we were at John Bryan Park.
As you can see from the elevation profile, there was a slight climb into Cedarville, I believe. The trail is wide, and starts out parallel to the actual railroad, but then as we rode out of town, the steel rails disappeared and we began riding on blacktop where those rails rested for so long. 

One of the highlights of the ride was hearing some noise off the left side of the trail, looking over and expecting to see several deer down in the ravine - I was shocked and excited to see a coyote staring me down in a scared dog sort of way. He looked as freaked out as I was to see him. His fur was beautiful, full, colorful and quite large compared to a fox. More looking like a small wolf. (He looked like this). Top 5 thing ever seen on a bike ride.

The actual Camp Chase Railroad was utilized at one time to transport prisoners from outside of downtown Columbus into the Westside of Columbus, very near where the current and new Columbus casino is located. 

The creation of Camp Chase here in Columbus is an interesting Story.
            Shortly after the April 12, 1861 bombing of Fort Sumter, thousands of men headed toward Columbus, Ohio to volunteer to fight for the Union Army. Camp Jackson was formed where Goodale Park now stands, in the "Short North" of downtown. Due to the number of recruits coming to Columbus, it was decided to move the camp away from town. Camp Chase Union Military Camp was established May 27-28, 1861, four miles west of the then boundaries of Columbus, on the National Road (Route 40/Broad St.).                    
At one time, Camp Chase held 27,000 Union troops and the prison once contained 9,146 prisoners. July 5, 1865, Camp Chase Prison notified the US War Department that Camp Chase was free of prisoners. All available equipment, along with remaining ill soldiers, was transferred to Dayton.
Along the way, some familiar names were involved in the operations and ownership of Camp Chase, such as the Zettler Family (of Zettler Hardware-still in business today). Interestingly, Members of the Quaker Church, living along the Ohio River, traveled from the Ohio River area in 1870 to look at 4631 acres of Camp Chase and other land on ‘Sullivant's Hill’, (now known as the Hilltop Area) and formulated their dream of a Quaker settlement. They returned in 1872, and purchased 400 acres.
And today, most of the streets in and around the Hilltop area are named after the founders and past Quaker landowners.  Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery was located on the southernmost portion of Camp Chase Military Camp, on a dirt road known as Sullivant's Free Pike. In 1999, the Hilltop Historical Society wrote a grant proposal and received a Historical Marker for Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery.

We arrived at John Bryan State Park outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio in just over 2 hours. According to Google’s “beta” bike mapping function, the trip was only 37 miles round trip. We discovered why this is still beta it was actually 45 miles. As the path makes it way west, it will route you through a few towns, and keep you on track with green Bike Route signs. Also along the path are various small well-crafted wooden ¾ wall picnic bench type areas, bathrooms, and small parking areas.
At each road crossing, the path is marked with large lettering on the trail stating Road Crossing, complete with stop signs and posts. The construction, maintenance, and development of this paved trail by the State of Ohio is a great investment and improvement to our fine State, in my opinion.Thank you Metro Parks.

As we arrived at John Bryan, the OVCX Series race was full on and going strong. We were greeted by teammates and Columbus cycling friends as we approached the park entrance and racecourse. Hot waffles and hot chocolate were well timed to hit our bellies and replenish some lost fuel.
As the hours for us to return to our car and the end of the day approached, we rang our free cow bells, cheered friends and teammates and gathered motivation to pedal back another 45 miles.

After returning to the car, changing out of sweaty and cold bike clothing, I was appreciating one of my favorite cycling investments - my Pearl Izumi winter mountain biking shoes. I can wear these without double pairs of socks, without plastic baggies, without bootie covers. They keep the wind out and heat inside and around my little old toes. Generally they are good down to 40 degrees without extra items other than one pair of smart wool socks.

We arrived back at our start point after a total of 5 Hours and 4 minutes on the bike. It was closing in on dark as we approached the final section of the bike path. This time does not include our fun-time spent at John Bryan State Park, only time 'on the bike' getting to and from the park. Our actual moving time was 4:51:29. I have completed quite a few hundred mile bike rides and races and this was an impressive time to complete 90 miles. It's also pretty impressive of a time and effort for December, when generally I am shutting the bike and body down from a long cyclocross racing season. But my cross season has been short, so I think I had some fuel in the tank to get this finished and with a bunch of great people.  
Life is too short not to get out and see things by bicycle.