Ohio Hope Ride is an event to promote and fund raise for the American
Cancer Societies "Hope Lodges".
I am told that we had 70+ registered to start and we finished with 45 on the last day. The ride was to go from Hope Lodge to Hope Lodge, Cleveland to
They had a kickoff barbecue on Wednesday night, where I was supposed to give a speech, but we got tied up in traffic driving through
finally meet his charming wife Cathy. We had brought one of the women (Ok, she's 16 years old) that I coach, to ride with us, for a couple of the days, Brooke. She kept
Thursday Morning everyone was up bright and early and grabbed a bite to eat and
boarded the shuttle to the start. We brought our Van, so we had our own
shuttle. (Did I mention that Ken is the BEST support team a rider could ever
We were all assembled in the dark, and as the dawn started to break around 6 - 6:30 am we got on the bikes and did a few TV interviews and started the ride by going down this awesome descent. Link to News report:
Ken and Madison on Tandem, Jan and I helped lead out the adventure. It wasn't far at all till we found ourselves on a gravel covered "tow path". It was part of the Cleveland metro-parks trail system, and was part of the Ohio-Erie canal trail The gravel was fine, but it had been raining over night, so there were all kinds of puddles around. We were speckled from head to toe (and up the back) in no time at all.
Jan was very gallant when my "flasher" fell off my saddle bag, and he stopped and brought it back up to me. I didn't even know that I had lost it. We rode together for a while, until Jan felt obligated to ride with his good friend and training partner, John, and he went to join him.
Ken and Madison stayed with us for a while, till Ken found a pair of lost sunglasses and was trying to find their owner.
and I continued up the path, and then there was a diversion. We had to leave
the path. We were tickled to get off the gravel. The road felt great and we
found ourselves with some skilled riders at the front. When the route left the
path, Ken and Madison turned around to go and get the car. I felt guilty that
they would have to suffer up that monster climb that we all sailed down at the
When we were on the road, we had a group of about 10 of us. When we turned back onto the gravel tow path again, we were down to 5 of us off the front. We came up to a bridge that was still damp from the nights’ rain, and it was a sharp right turn on the bridge. There were 3 Women walking across the bridge and the guy in front of me had his wheels slip out from underneath him and he went down.
was all right, just some minor, mossy covered abrasions; we inspected the bike,
adjusted his brakes, then got back on the bikes. We were just a couple of pedal
strokes off the bridge when we heard another crash! The same guy... But his
front carbon fiber Cervelo fork shattered in half.
Come to find out that his bike was only 2 months old! Guess who is calling the
shop today to check on the warranty?
Cervelo Fork John Anderson, & CCC’rs Jan Frandsen, Cindi & Ken Hart
Fortunately, we were less than 1/2 a mile from Lunch. AND he did not live too far away and he called his wife to bring him his #2 bike from home.
I really wanted to ride with John and Jan, so we waited for them at the lunch stop. The group of us left lunch together, but they never seemed to catch up with us out of the parking lot. There were a couple of small climbs, and we kept waiting, but then we figured they either were having
problems, or they were going at a leisurely pace. So Brooke and I just rode easy together for the rest of our ride.
Fortunately for us, we got into our destination before the
sudden DOWNPOUR of rain!! We got in
around 1pm and dinner wasn't till 5 or 6pm, so we drove around
Madison and Brooke's plans to go swimming in the hotels outdoor pool were spoiled by the storm.
Dinner that evening was great... amazing how food tastes so much better when you have really worked for it. But I think it tasted better because we had such great company to share it with. Then we were "treated" to free bowling and Pool tables... and Madison had a great time making fun of her Mother, who has only been bowling twice in her entire life.... but I DID manage to knock all the pins down once. Ken is much better than I am... well EVERYONE is much better than I am in bowling, and that is just fine with me. :-)
On Friday we awoke to fog... and lots of it!
They served us a great breakfast on the campus of
This, we were told, would be the most challenging day of the entire ride. And they were right. This route had all the hills on it.
Brooke and I found ourselves with the two guys that we ended up with the day before. So we talked them into doing a rotating pace line. They were happy to... and it went very well, except for when we got on a bike path through Amish country, where they drive horse drawn buggies on the path.
Morning Fog in Amish country
The good news was that these trails were paved. Remember the storms from the day before? Well... these puddles left us speckled with darker "stuff", gifts left behind by the Amish buggies. We had a rest stop that had a rest room, and it was right behind a Wal-Mart, so we bought some wipes to help with clean up.
The “Non-motorized Vehicle” trails in
After we left the path, came the hills. The main hill was very similar to hills we have in the "Hilly Hundred", but the main difference is that in the "Hilly 100", you usually get a rest afterwards... after the big hill, came.... I don't know, another 10 miles of big rolling hills. There just wasn't any flat till after lunch.
Lunch was at Subway. I don't think it has ever tasted better... I came into the stop alone, ready to rest, and asked the support mechanic (not Ken) if they had any spray lube. He told me to just leave the bike with him and he would take care of it. That was a nice perk! Hooray, no more horse & buggy souvenirs on my bike!
Ken and Madison and Brooke joined soon afterwards.
Ken and Madison arrive at the cookie / Water stop
We couldn't talk
Then we had to take Brooke home (she lives in
That evening we were camped out in
I touched base with the two guys that we started out with in the rotating pace line, and asked them if they would be interested in doing this again on Saturday. They said they wanted to do it again.
I wanted to ride with Jan, so I had noticed a few other
guys that I had ridden with over the past couple of days who seemed skilled,
and asked them if they wanted to join us. Using plastic spoons and knives at
the table, I demonstrated how a rotating pace line works... then on the 3-4
block walk back to the camping area, we did the now famous, "Walking Pace
Line" down the sidewalks. They were all such great sports and had fun
along the way.
They had a "Blues" concert that evening, but we were ready for bed.
At the previous nights activities, it was announced that Cindi had just won the National Championships, so she started the day with her “Stars & Stripes” jersey.
Ken Cindi and Jan at start of Day 3
This time we rolled out of the parking lot with a plan! We
had 8 of us all together, a rotating machine, rolling through the streets of
Fog was a common morning occurrence, as we depart one again.
Everyone appeared to have paid attention to the walking pace line instruction the night before, as we didn't really have to yell at anyone... much... we did have to nick name Jan "Surge" as he had "happy feet" at the front of the pace-line, and kept trying to go off the front.
Jan, working in the pace line
We were so efficient and content, that when we came to our first stop, it seemed like we had only been on the bike a few miles. The next stop was 22 miles away, and we were there before we knew it, and decided not to stop. Didn't need to... we had plenty of rest rotating.
Lots of yellow in the paceline! Jan and Cindi in the “Working Line”
But there was one thing we did need from the rest stop
that we didn't get... the RIGHT directions. They had marked the course in places,
and given us cue cards... but there was a mistake, and we turned the wrong way
on 42 and it took Ken in the van (with a map) to turn us around.
Today the route was pretty much all flat, except for the finish. There was a road that went parallel to the path, so Ken was with us in the van taking pictures along the way. We became a really tight knit group, and when this other rider forced his way in, it was obvious that he didn't know how the pace-line was supposed to work, and he wasn't willing to learn, so we actually slowed down to try to get rid of him. It's amazing how disruptive he felt to the group. After he was gone, harmony was
back, and the songs and the jokes returned.
We actually ended up doing 82 miles, but it felt like 40. That's exactly what we all needed, especially after the hills the previous day.
As we rode into Yellow Springs, the local paper had a reporter and photographer in attendance.
Here is a link to the next days article Cindi is in 2nd photo, and Jan is mis-identified in last photo.
Upon arriving in Yellow Springs, we were greeted by Mike Fenning and his Son. We had let him know that we were going to be in town, and we all went to Young’s Jersey Dairy for ice cream. It was great to get to have us all together. Ben and Madison both have red hair and standing in line, we almost were surrounded by other red headed kids! We were in the right place.
I went back into the building after we got our ice cream, and I ran into a man wearing a “Relay for Life” T-Shirt. He noticed my shirt and we started talking. I told him that we were doing the “Pan Ohio Hope Ride”…. And he stated, “Oh Yeah, I’ve done that, did that last year. It’s a good ride”. …. Uh…. Did I mention that this was the INAUGURAL Year? So when I came back to our picnic table, we all kind of had a laugh at it.
Another cool thing that happened, we were saying our
Later on, we found out that Brooke won her race. She said
that it was a technical course with lots and lots of sharp turns, and what won
it for her was pedaling through the last turn and coming out of it 5 bike
lengths ahead of the competition and winning. She said the race was won and
lost in the turn.
That evening Ken, Madison and I were going to stay with family. Dinner was at
totally spoiled her! Ken and I returned to a tofu dinner at
The good thing about staying at family members house... is that they had a washer and dryer!! So I spent the rest of the evening doing laundry in preparation for our final day.
Only one day left!
DAY 4, Yellow Springs to
am came much too quickly… especially for
The challenge of this day was going to be the bike paths on a Sunday morning. The area we were heading into this day was fairly well trafficked with bikes and walkers. The good news was that the path was well paved and shaded.
rolled along at a fair clip, making just about as much noise as we possibly
could to make people aware of our approach. When we dropped Brooke off in
Ken was supposed to join us in Waynesville, but I didn’t see him. This was our old “stomping grounds”. It was nice to be back in an area that was familiar. Then following the path, I knew what the terrain around us was like. There were some absolutely “wicked” hills just off the path that we used to train on regularly, and when the Columbian in our group saw one of them, he decided that he was going to take a side trip and climb it. In doing so, one of the new guys to join our group was on the back, and turned his head to watch the rider start to climb what appeared to be a wall, and when he turned his head to watch, he also turned his bike and veered a little too far to the left and an on-coming cyclist on the path had her brake hood hit his, and they both went down pretty hard.
Jan switched into “Nurse” mode, and attended to the wounded. Ken had JUST joined us when this happened and he switched into manager mode… calling 911 and the ride director to get assistance for the fallen cyclists. We all stayed together as a group till we knew that everyone was taken care of.
The woman was very calm and polite, and had a laceration on her finger that would need some stitches. She had earrings on, that were pink ribbons, and in conversation we found out that she too, was a breast cancer survivor. Jan stood, dedicated, with the woman’s hand raised above her head. He was not about to let her bleed one more drop than she absolutely had to… at least not on his watch!
When we re-assembled, the pace line was much more “sedate” and somber…. Well, at least for a few more miles, then the joy of riding came back to us and we were back at pace… only this time, Ken was with us, and he brought a whistle and let everyone know in advance that we were on the path.
Finally, we arrived at the lunch stop, which was located at a canoe livery, located between the trail and the Little Miami River. The best part of lunch, well besides the company, was the shade and the running water where we could clean up and cool down. It was starting to get pretty steamy out on the bike trail.
At lunch they announced that there were reports of groups riding 5 wide on the trail, and that they didn’t want any double pace lines on the trails. So we tried going single, but the thing was, we were 10 riders long! It took a while to pass people safely 10 riders long, so we went back to double for a while in the areas that were not as populated.
The next rest stop had ice cream!! That helped with our spirits, and then after that, one of our riders was from the area we were in, and he took us off the trail for a while. MAN was it ever HOT!! I tell you, the shade of the trees on the bike path made a HUGE difference! When we got back on the path, the shade was very welcoming. Then we went single pace line, and a few of the guys decided to take the pace up to 23-26 mph for some long stretches. We lost a few riders off the back along the way. .
The next stop was pretty
much just refill water. It was so hot and sunny that it was impossible to stop
for very long. So we headed out as soon as we could. I pulled up the hills for
a while and assumed that Ken and Jan were behind me somewhere, and I quickly
discovered that there was only one rider left on my wheel. We took turns
We suddenly crested a hill to hear yelling and screaming and clapping. It was the Ride support people cheering us in. We were to all meet at this fountain / park in the middle of the town. It was sort of an oasis. We pulled in and greeted the greeters, and then I decided that the fountain was far too inviting and as soon as I could get my socks and shoes off….. you guessed it… I was IN the fountain!!! That was just what I needed. My right foot was burning, and the fountain was perfect! I didn’t see any sign that said “No wading in the fountain”…. So there was nothing to hold me from it. Guys would come up and stick their heads in… and I would, of course… splash them and anyone within range. I think it got up to 97 degrees. We all waited and cheered as each rider pulled in. I was starting to get worried, Ken and Jan still had not come in… they should have been just behind me.
It seemed like forever, but finally they arrived. Jan had had a flat earlier, and then after we headed into the hills, out of the parking lot that felt like a broiler, Jan had another flat, then 2 more after that. Jan now holds the Pan Ohio Hope Ride record of 3 flats in 10 miles. They had used up Jan’s spare, and Ken’s spare, and had gotten the 3rd spare form Jan’s friend, John.
There were only 3 survivors who did the ride. My self, a gentleman who was first diagnosed in 1978 and had 2 more recurrences since…and then there was James Bond (yes… that is his real name) and he is still in treatment. He is on oral chemo, and he rode every mile. I think he was the last to arrive at the “oasis”, and he got the biggest cheer you could imagine. I’m sure the locals were wondering what was going on. He was a true hero and “Champion of Hope”. His wife is the one who came up with the whole idea of this event and she had worked her tail off to make it happen.
We let him recover
from his climb, then we all got on our bikes together, and we re-entered the
road, with one emergency vehicle in front of us, and one behind us. We were
told to keep it around 10 mph to keep everyone together. We rolled the last few
miles in collectively. Most all of us in the same uniform (Pan
The group arrives at the Hope Lodge in Cincinnati
My parents brought
The Hamilton County Police & Fire, Pipe and Drum Corp play at the finish. Cindi’s father is left of the Bass Drum
I very much enjoyed watching people exchanging hugs with people on the sides… family that had been patiently awaiting our arrival, and joining in the celebration of life.
My Father introduced me to the band, and there were 2 cancer survivors amongst them. Then we entered the Hope Lodge for food and refreshments, and showers. The Hope Lodge was absolutely gorgeous! It used to be a Catholic boys school. After showering and getting something to eat, I was asked to give a speech.
It felt different to
give this speech at the end of the ride… after we had all traveled through this
adventure together… And to look into the faces of the people I had just ridden
with…. It made it all the more special for me to be able to share my story with
them. I had to cut my speech short, as the bus was waiting to take them all
The ride raised over $100,000 for
the Hope Lodges of