The 170km (106 mile) Superbowl Sunday Emerald Necklace Epic, after 4 attempts, still has never been conquered. This years version was attended by Ross, Steve Twining, John P and myself. Rodgers is on the IR after his recent yard sale at Rays MTB Park. Shawn and Ernie will be listed in the record books as DNS (did not start) or TSTS (too smart to start), depending on the referee's final decision.
Weather was perfect with clear skies and temps in the the low 40s. Bike choice varied with me riding my cross bike with Michelin Muds, Ross and Steve rode their mountain bikes with semi slick tires and John was rolling a Surley with road tires and a 42 x 17 FIXED gear. This kid is strong.
Anyway, we got started at about 8:30 and followed the route in a counter clockwise manner. The wind was a factor, blowing WSW from 12-18 mph, with some gusts around 25 mph particularly early on along the shores of Lake Erie.
We stopped once for a pee brake in the Rock River Reservation not far from Hogsback and again at about 65 miles at the Taboggan Area. At this point, we were all hurtin a bit. Luckily the Snack Bar was open. Snack Bar. Snack Bar. A warm fire, pizza, fries and burger dogs (that is not a typo) hit the spot along with some icey cokes. We hung out for 20 minutes or so and then filled our bottles, used the restrooms and headed out. During this stop we missed meeting up with Rick Adams who passed us when we were stuffing out faces.
The moment of truth came at Tinkers Creek and Dunham which was at around mile 83. Staying on route would mean, going up the prodigious Gorge Parkway climb and facing the dreaded rollers of Bedford Reservation OR go left up the very steep Dunham climb to Rockside Road to Warrensville Blvd. to my house. In the essence of time (not because our legs were shot, mind you) we went off course and took the shorter version which at the end of the day gave us 95 miles. I hope to get over the dissappointment soon and the feeling that I cheated myself out of 10 more miles of riding. Oh wait...I am so already over it.
We rolled in with 95 miles at 3pm for 6.5 hours total time. Road bikes or at least slicks could have been the difference, but the Superbowl Sunday Emerald Necklace Epic is an evil temptress that shows no mercy to any that attempt to take the challenge. Well, there is always next year, although Ross and Steve, over a bowl of chili and a beer, promised me that they will never attempt this unique challenge again. On the other hand with John's youthful enthusiasm (plus he's not soft), maybe I'll have company next year.