Yesterday, amidst the noonday heat, I stupidly decided to ride to Burton, Ohio. Well, it wasn’t stupid, per se. It’s only 33 miles from Stow (I learned) and quite a reasonable round trip for a nice 60+ mile day. And it’s scenic and pretty and low-traffic all the way to Burton. The stupid thing, the thing I forgot in what has been a mostly mild summer until now, is that the reason people get up at 7am to ride is to get the ride over with before the full heat of the day bears down. Which is the complete opposite philosophy one has in early spring and fall in that you leave later in the day to get warmer temperatures. My thought at the time was that daylight still extends to 8pm; therefore, I wouldn’t need to worry about when I left. Oops.
It wasn’t as hot when I started the ride as it was when I was finishing it. Still, it was pretty hot. A lot of the roads were highly exposed to the sun, though my favorite Winchell was nice and shady which provided a slight relief from the heat. When I started the ride, there was actually a small relieving chill to the breeze. Unfortunately, the breeze turned to heat on the latter half of the ride.
My whole goal in getting to Burton was to get ice cream at the Italian restaurant and ice cream shop on the square. I told myself as I rode, “I’m going to Burton for ice cream!”
For those of you unfamiliar with Burton, it lies upon a hill on all sides. There is no way to get into Burton without a climb. The route I got from Randy, a fellow ABCer, actually took me up Rapids Road, which is one I climbed towards the end of the Sunday in June century. It’s just a short steep climb. The worst part was the lack of trees, really, so the sun bore down on hard as I climbed. I made it up no problem, though, and was joyous as I climbed the last slight grade for .5 miles into the Burton square.
I decided to be healthy so I actually went for the blueberry frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Well, actually, for some reason, it looked the best to me at the moment when I was perusing the ice cream. And it certainly did not disappoint. After eating it, I got some of my energy back. I enjoyed the frozen yogurt and a Clif bar while sitting the beautiful park on the square. Also took a few obligatory pictures to prove to all that I actually made the trip to Burton.
The picture below shows the store that sells maple syrup and other such local goodies. There was a tree near there that had a sign which read, “Careful: Honey Bee Tree.” I tried to look for a honey bee nest, wondering if it looked like the golden bubble-like pyramid they always showed Yogi Bear going after, but I didn’t see even a single bee buzzing around. I was kind of bummed about that.
I don’t think the ride home would have been as hard on me if it hadn’t been so hot. Somewhere on a climb up Rapids Road, I started to feel my legs loose energy. Maybe I’d worked too hard the day before attacking hills on my work commute. But I just didn’t have the gusto I had coming into the ride. And I couldn’t seem to get enough water. (Note to self: bring hydropack next time.)
Also, as much as everyone says that going towards Burton is very climby, I discovered that really most of the way home was a slow climb. On the way to Burton, minus some hills, I was doing an easy 17-19mph; on the way home, I was struggling for 14-15mph. I had figured with my 17-19mph speed that there must be a slight incline down–I usually don’t make that kind of speed easily even on flat ground.
The hardest part of the ride home was Chamberlain Road due to the fact that it follows mostly farm fields and industrial areas–no trees. I had a feeling of bonking somewhere along that road and I had to pause in the shade of a tree at a farm house to drink water and catch my breath. I stopped again at a park in Aurora called Sunny Lake where I purchased a lemonade from a pop machine. I stayed there about 15 minutes before continuing on. After that, I was okay, but I was also itching to get home.
Instead of following the route instructions, which called for me to go back using Old Mill Road, I decided to cut a few miles off the ride by continuing on Aurora Hudson Road because it hits Stow Road about two or three miles before Old Mill does. Now I’m kind of kicking myself for doing that since my total miles when I reached home was 68 miles and I had no energy at that point to round it off to 70; had I added extra miles before I got close to home, I would have been okay to take on the extra mileage. Oh well.
I arrived home zapped of energy… But I’d definitely do that route again, on a cooler day, not one of the hottest days we’ve had all summer. The ride was completely doable from my house and Randy’s provided me some longer routes that also end up in Burton so I might be inclined to try those sometime. When it’s cooler out and not 85 degrees with humidity.