Sunday, October 29, 2006

2006 Tour de Madeira--P J's take

At Dan’s behest I am adding my thoughts on the 2006 Tour de Madeira. I won’t pretend to write with the same eloquence as Dan, but I shall certainly do my best!

As one of the co-riders in what was originally a bi-bike event I have to confess that I was primarily just “tagging along.” I don’t know Madeira very well at all having only been a guest on those relatively infrequent occasions when the church would have an event there or someone in the area would invite us over, and even then I always find myself needing directions regardless of how little time has passed since I last visited. Dan expressed his amusement that throughout the tour I was consequently unable to suppress a frequent exclamation of, “I didn’t know Madeira had a [insert your own local company here]!” and indeed I was rather impressed with the community. Since I was completely dependent upon Dan for constant directions (a sort of DPS, or Dan Positioning System), I have to assume he invited me along for my survival skills on the bike. Currently I hail from Clifton where I bike the two miles to and from work each day, meaning I have acquired some serious skillz when it comes to successfully navigating through crime and traffic. While you might think a need for such an aptitude would be woefully lacking in a town such as Madeira, one can never be too sure…

Our original date for the TdM was to be Saturday 10/28/2006 and we had each planned on biking training routes each weekend previous in order to be ready physically for what the streets of Madeira would throw at us. The Cincinnati weather proved to be capricious in the month or so leading up to the TdM however, and this resulted in some inconsistency in our preparations. When the weather forecast predicted absolutely perfect biking conditions and temperatures for 10/21, neither of us could pass up the opportunity, although to be honest, both of us had reservations about our physical capacity. That being said, there was a tacit understanding between us that you don’t bike 25 or 30 miles of a 50 mile route and then throw in the towel to give it another try another week. There are no shortcuts—we both knew we had four to six hours of constant pedaling in front of us, but we both also knew that we had only to get started and the Tour would take care of itself. Our wives also both knew this, and much to their chagrin (and to their credit!) they watched us roll off on a Saturday afternoon, that rare day when Dad’s home all day to help take care of the kids, knowing we would only return in the evening on the brink of darkness. When our motivation lagged, we had only to think about starting over on some other weekend. When that failed, we had only to think of our wives and what their reaction might be if we told them that we were going to have to try again the following week. Needless to say, not finishing was never really an option.

[I would be remiss here if I didn’t add a quick positive note about my wife, if only because I know she’ll eventually read this and I’ll be in trouble if I don’t come clean: she was absolutely one hundred percent behind me doing the TdM. It wasn’t so much, “You should totally bike fifty miles at once! Think of the accomplishment! Think of the glory!” as, “Do whatever you want. It’s your body…” but she was incredibly supportive from the very beginning. I couldn’t have asked for a better support network.]

The first ten miles were difficult, if only because that’s where I had to come to terms with the fact that we were going to be on the bikes for a long time. This is also when we had the incident of trying to repeat Coachlite Way that Dan refers to, where I noticed we were on a street we had done before. Dan’s narrative suggests that I recognized where we were. As I mentioned earlier, since I was blind except for my DPS, I didn’t recognize the street but rather the three young kids throwing the football around in their small front yard. I realize that “the suburbs” have historically been lambasted for their homogeneity, but I had noticed those kids the first time (probably because I was wishing I was doing what they were doing instead of doing what I was doing…) and I figured that this was just a little too Groundhog Day for me, if you know what I mean. Not that I minded riding the street again if it was on the route, but when we rode this road before I remembered that it had ended in a cul-de-sac and I figured that unless we were taking a shortcut to another part of town, we’d be passing those poor kids a fourth time in a matter of minutes.

You’re probably thinking right now, “A cul-de-sac in Madeira? What a novel idea!” I personally wouldn’t use the word “novel” since about 123% of the community is made of cul-de-sacs! This I now know from personal experience…

The second 20 miles were the hardest for me, because that’s when I got to carry the pack. We had one between the two of us with provisions supplied through the generous donations of our primary sponsor, the Miller General Store. This was early enough that we still had plenty of liquid for the entire route and it proved to be heavier than I expected. Mile 11 gave me an instant appreciation for the work that Dan had been doing during the first 10 miles while I rode in absolute oblivion. After mile 20, though, the pack became significantly lighter as we went.

The miles after that kind of blurred together into one increasingly sharp pain in the rear end, no metaphor intended (although the pun, of course, is). With each subsequent break as Dan would check his notes I would wait, anxiously dreading: “Uhhhh, I forgot this one street back about 15 miles ago…” But just like when you’re playing basketball and you sometimes have the convenience of “the guy” who always remembers the score no matter how long you’ve been playing (which definitely comes in handy and prevents a lot of, “Let’s just say it’s tied…”), Dan consistently kept us on track with very few exceptions, and those being so minor as to be almost negligible. (Coincidentally, Dan is also “that guy” for us while we’re playing basketball…) The hardest thing of the entire experience for me was just being on the bike that long.

One quick note about the equipment we used: it may seem superfluous that I had over twice as many gears on my bike as Dan, but in my defense I ended up using every single one of them—there’s nothing like click-click-clicking your way to the very summit of a hill at mile 47, even if you are only going 0.5 miles per hour!

In review I have to say the TdM06 was a lot of fun, and definitely worth doing. I would encourage sponsors and riders worldwide to capitalize on this once-a-year opportunity and sign up now before it becomes so mainstream as to mean little or nothing. Plus the extra fame and accolades that accompany being involved in the critical formative years definitely merit the initial investment. It’s too late to have been there for the original tour, but there is still currently room for TdM07!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tour de Madeira ground rules

So let's talk some ground-rules of the Tour de Madeira. PJ and I have thrown down the gauntlet (5:43:33) for anybody who would like to beat it. And I'm definitely planning a TdeM 2007. I welcome anybody that would want to try and beat our time. I think it would probably be pretty easy for someone to break the time, but in any case, I thought it seemed appropriate to write up the "official" ground rules for the Tour de Madeira.

Obviously the final result says that you have to visit every street in Madeira, but that's just an overview. It could be used for any of these sorts of "Tours". But Madeira has some unique quirks that deserve clarification. As we found out on the actual Tour, there's always the fun game of "Is this a road, or is this somebody's driveway?" So here's a first stab at some "official" rules.

1. The full length of every street in Madeira must be visited, but you are allowed to go outside of Madeira if you want. Official time is from start to finish, and includes any break or rest time. You are allowed to bike or walk on each street. You may travel on the sidewalk if it is convenient, but travelling on the sidewalk does not count towards completing the route. Except where mentioned below, travelling through any part of an intersection between two streets counts as visiting the entire intersection.

2. Rather than listing off every street, I will list out the various border streets and special cases. Where a specific side of the road is mentioned, the route must include riding / walking on that (Madeira) side of the street. Where the city border does not occur at an intersection of two streets, you must ride / walk past the Madeira city sign posted on that road before turning around. Any streets within these borders that are not specifically excluded must be visited
  • Montgomery Road (from Hosbrook to Galbraith - SE side)
  • Galbraith Road (from Montgomery to east of Miami - south side)
  • Miami road (north of Galbraith - west side)
  • Camargo road (both sides - from west of Blome to Madisonville)
  • Shawnee Run road (from east of Madeira Hills Dr - north side)
  • Kenwood Road (from south of Kenwood Hills to Euclid - both sides)
  • Euclid Avenue (from Ken Arbre to Hosbrook - south side; east of Hosbrook - both sides)
  • Ken Arbre Avenue (from Euclid to Stewart - south side)
  • Stewart Avenue (from Woodsway Dr to Ken Arbre - east side)
3. Special Cases - for some streets, it is unclear what actually consists of a "road". Or some roadways are definitely roads, but it's unclear where the border is between road and driveway. Some clarification for those cases.
  • Goff Terrace - From Miami to the Ferrari's parking lot
  • Railroad Ave - From Miami past Center and into the first parking lot (7805 and 7809 Railroad)
  • Dones Ave - From Camargo east of Marvin to where it splits into 2 driveways (going east to 7845 and south to 7825)
  • Marvin Ave - From Dones to Sellman Park; no need to go past the Parking Lot
  • Iuka Ave and Osceola Ave - at the south ends of both of these streets, there are triangular "median" type structures. You must travel around all three sides.
  • Paisley Lane - You must go around the corner until the road dead ends into the driveway for 6680 Paisley
  • May St - You must go all the way to 6600 and 6609
4. These streets are specifically NOT included
  • Any of the streets of the mobile home park on Dawson Road
  • Greylock Drive
  • Any "named" streets on the campuses of any of the schools
  • Shawnee Pines Drive
  • Dot Ave
  • Miami Road south of Shawnee Run road
  • "Extended" driveways, such as 6873-6929 Fox Hill Lane
  • The path through Sellman Park to Fox Chase Lane
  • The narrow separate pedestrian walkway at the south end of Rita Avenue. You still have to travel all of Rita, but you do not have to especially go through this walkway as you do with the medians on Iuka and Osceola
5. When going down cul-de-sacs, you must make an effort to "round the bend", but you do not have to scrape the curb. Similarly, when travelling to the end of a particular intersection, you do not have to go into the cross street to "fully" complete the street you are on, as long as a reasonable effort is made to get to the end of the street.

Any comments / requests for clarifications / updates?

EFC update

Okay folks. We are definitely on for EFC on November 9th. There are 3 of us going, and it's a definite. Plane tickets have been bought. The tentative plan will be to meet up in Columbus on the evening of the 9th, and then set off early Thursday morning, finishing Friday morning.

Certainly further details as events warrant. Though I do have a few other Tour de Madeira posts left in me

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tour de Madeira 2006 report

Yes, folks, the 1st (annual?) Tour de Madeira has been completed, and the results are a resounding success!! The 2006 version only had 2 riders, but it was intentionally kept to a low number. That way, in 20 years when this is an international event, its humble beginnings will only look that much cooler.

Speaking of cooler, the weather that we had on Saturday was beautiful - just about perfect biking weather. Actually, up until the last hour or so, I'd say it was perfect weather. About 55 degrees, not much of a wind, mostly sunny. At the end, it got a little cooler though. The last hill coming down Camargo was a little cold. It was downhill and with the wind from the speed, my hands got pretty numb.

We did pretty much use the routes that I had mentioned before (Part 1 and Part 2), with a few exceptions.

1. Coming up Kenwood after having made the wraparound in Windridge / Whetsel, I led us back down Coachlite Way. After about 200 feet, PJ asked "Haven't we been down this road before?" In fact we had. So we turned around and continued up to Kenwood and turned on Lakota as part of the route.

2. After having come up Camargo from Shawnee Run, we followed the wraparound through Dones / Naomi / Marvin. First of all, we stopped briefly at Sellman Park for a "potty emergency". Then, after having come out on Miami just south of Camargo, I mistakenly turned right on Camargo. Again, I quickly realized my mistake and pulled a U-ey, and continued north on Miami.

3. While looping through the Summit / Wallace / Fowler subdivision, I realized that we had forgotten to visit Goff Terrace. Luckily, we were still in the right area. After coming down Maple, the route called for a brief out and back on Dawson to Miami before continuing west on Dawson. So when we got to Miami, we made a quick right, went down Goff Terrace and then came back to the route and down Dawson. And actually, though it might be slightly LONGER than the original route, it would not surprise me if doing Goff this way was actually FASTER. Reason being that this way avoids having to do 2 left turns onto Miami (Northbound Miami onto Goff and Goff back on to northbound Miami). When we came back off of Goff, we just rode on the west-side sidewalk of Miami, rather than having to do those 2 left turns. Plus on Goff, we got to play the fun game of "Is this a road, or is this Ferrari's parking lot?" We got to play that game a few times, though most of the time it was its cousin game "Is this a road, or is this someone's driveway?" Yes, May Street and Paisley Lane, I'm looking at YOU.

As far as overall particulars of the tour, we started at 12:57:30 p.m. and ended at 6:43:38 p.m. Well, actually the tour ended at 6;41:03 - the last 2 minutes or so was the 7/10 mile from the Madeira city limits on Camargo to my car which I parked over on Ledge Street in Madisonville. That's a total tour time of 5 hours, 46 minutes and 8 seconds. Total bike time was 4 hours, 58 minutes and 35 seconds. The other hour or so consisted of 5 breaks, which we took at the following mile markers: 10.202 (Rollymeade), 20.550 (Nuevelle), 27.49 (Pineneedle), 36.12 (Lancewood), and 43.70 (Iuka). I apologize for the crudity of the last 3 rest stop mile markers (only to the hundredths place instead of to the thousandths). My cycle computer (Meijer brand piece of crap) broke at about the 21 mile mark, so I had to rely on PJ's readouts, and he only went to 2 decimal places :-).

Overall, I felt pretty good. I did have to walk my bike up hills 4 times. The worst was my favorite - Indian Trail! I made it up quite a bit of the hill, but in the end, trying to conquer a hill I've never made it up at mile 47 of my ride just wasn't going to happen. PJ actually didn't have to walk it up any hills. I think this difference may at least be in part due to the fact that his bicycle wasn't put together from parts that other people threw away. Not that I'm not extremely grateful to he who put my bike together. Just that a 10-speed didn't really seem to cut it up some of these hills. You could definitely tell when I'm chugging up these hills in my lowest gear, and I just hear PJ beside me click-click-clicking as he downshifted again (and again and again).

Overall speed was 10.33 mph. Splits were 10.78, 10.45, 10.48, 9.90, 9.65, 9.47 and 16.25 mph for the various sections. The last section being only 7/10 mile and almost all downhill.

All in all a fun adventure, and we'll see how many participate in TdeM '07

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tour de Madeira

The Tour de Madeira is happening tomorrow, Saturday, October 21st. This is a 50-mile (ish) bike ride on every street in the lovely hamlet of Madeira, OH.

The potential route will be something like this - Part 1 - Part 2

Even though the route map is broken into 2 part, make no mistake, this ride is happening all at once. The website just wouldn't let me save such a big route so I had to break it up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Welcome to Every Whatever. This blog will be used to chronicle my exploits in visiting all of various things / places.

Like every street in Madeira
Or every county in Ohio
Or every subway stop in New York City

You know, stupid stuff like that