by Jeff Stephens May 10th, 2010
Columbus Mayor, “Bikin’ Mike” Coleman completed his first century ride in challenging conditions. He rode the first day of TOSRV – 113 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth and shattered his previous personal best of 55 miles! In addition to the strong and steady headwinds, the traditional route contained a detour that added 8 hilly miles to the course.
The Mayor was accompanied by Eric Brandon, the new Assistant Director of Columbus Parks and Recreation, Martin from Columbus Police, and myself (Jeff). His companions are both relatively novice cyclists too. Their experience has come from being the Mayor’s riding companions over the last year; I was a bit concerned for all of them.
However, all three rose to the occasion and completed the ride without incident. Granted….they’ll all probably tell me they’re feeling “serious incident” for a few days hereafter!
The first 50 miles to Chillicothe took a toll. Although the spirits remains high, the slowing slog into the wind began to wear the guys to a “quiet & determined” state. They learned from their mistake of a lengthy stop at Circleville…to make the lunch stop in Chillicothe as quick as possible. I could see the a little energy returning from the food, but knew we had a long way to go.
The third stretch from Chillicothe contains some rollers
and probably the prettiest scenery of the day. Mayor Coleman was cursing the hills a little, so I suggested
there was “no shame is using an easier
gear.” For those that know me, I’m not the best role model for spinning a manageable gear. I pushed him hard to learn & practice spinning a lower gear so he wouldn’t turn into an inefficient guy like me. I know from experience, there are only a few opportunities for the student to absorb critical lessons in the early days….so, I wanted leg speed to be near the top.
This third stretch of TOSRV also contained the new detour which added 8 miles to the traditional route. Thankfully, the Mayor and his guys, had no perspective
of the additional challenge to the route this year…so, I kept quite and made sure to tell lots of colorful RAAM and ultra-distance stories and point out the pretty scenery to provide distraction from the challenge.
I could tell that the Mayor and his guys were pretty thrashed at the Lake Hope rest stop. We kept the stop brief, and made sure TOSRV Director, Charlie Pace, paid a motivating visit to the Mayor. I made sure everyone was consuming a good amount of calories, and indicated the final 30 miles would be flat and fast.
And, the Mayor came alive on that last stretch of the route. He rode a very steady pace and we chatted quite a bit. I used this section of the route to try and teach drafting technique. We had more of a crosswind, so I was able to position myself in a place (riding abreast) that shielded him from the wind…without him having to “think about it” too much. He and the guys were tired from a long, tough day, so their bike handling was a bit jerky. I wanted to keep the close-quarters riding as safe as possible.
There was no doubt we’d reach our goal of Portsmouth. As we rolled into town, I shared my third big tip – weight distribution on the bike and relaxation of the upper body. This is not a real “teachable” issue for those that are new to bicycling and are horribly tired from having just pushed far beyond their comfort zone. He said, “How come you’re just telling me this now?” I countered with, “You’ve got to feel the pain before you’ll learn the lesson.” Yes – he’ll feel the sore legs and that contact point with the bike seat for a few days. However, he’ll also recognize that bicycling is a complex, complete body activity when he feels the soreness in his arms and shoulders in the next few days.
It was an honor to shepherd the Mayor on this memorable ride. Every cyclist remembers their first century and we’re excited to have played a role in the Mayor’s (and Eric & Martin’s) success in reaching their goal. We talked about all the joy and experiences that bicycling offers. And, most importantly, we talked as friends – two guys riding along in the country. We laughed when another Consider Biking member rode by and suggested that the Mayor be careful, “…that Jeff Stephens is like a gateway drug into hard core cycling.” He replied, “That’s ok….I’m already addicted!”
Congratulations Mayor Bikin’ Mike Coleman on your first century ride.
We know there will be many enjoyable miles in your future!