Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A boy, a girl, and some bikes... and CREPES.

And here I thought I got these all in order. *sigh* 

This is a story about a boy and a girl and some bikes. And a pirate. And the most amazing crepes you'll ever eat. 

This is the sun rising as Pap dropped us off for the MS Bike to the Bay event. You could begin riding any time after 7 AM and before 8:30 AM, I think, as it wasn't a race. There were whole teams of people, groups of family members, friends, whatever. We even saw a father and son tandem bicycle and when we talked to them they told us they'd been doing it since the much larger son (now riding singly) was the one on the back of the tandem. 

This is us, almost ready to go.

I guess this is the spoiler shot. Yes, we finished and got the little medal to prove it, haha! So any of you who were waiting to donate until after proof of life (for both of us) and proof of completion, now you can pony up. We did it!

The sign said to STOP REST so I did. I am a rule follower.

I figured out that people do these events for the food. Holy cow, had I known there were things like oatmeal creme pies and Fritos at the stops every ten miles I'd've been way more enthusiastic. Sometimes your legs just need Fritos to keep going. And a granola bar. And half a banana. Or several orange slices. And maybe another oatmeal creme pie. Hmm. And perhaps another granola bar for later. You know, in case the next stop doesn't have any left. Better make that another oatmeal creme pie, too. 

I'd accidentally smashed some Fritos in the above picture because I forgot they were behind me when I posed. As geometry doesn't affect taste, they were still delicious.

That'd be me. "I'm only here for the food." ~Ever After

Sadly, we have no Fritos in the house and I'm getting distracted thinking about them. So. Here we are, on the road. I'm smiling because I'm enjoying watching Dada attempting to bike in a straightish line as he tries to fit both of us into a selfie. 

As you can see, the sky was absolutely gorgeous. What you may not be able to tell is that it was maybe only 80 degrees with a westerly wind. Let me just talk about the westerly wind. It is fabulous to have wind at your back. We were moving along pretty well anytime the wind was behind us. Turning a curve and having it blowing you sideways, or worse, straight into it, was awful! I've mentioned before that he signed us up for the 50 mile part. Some of the 50 miler people were going to be riding back to the starting line the next day after camping out at the school where everyone finished. I can't imagine facing into that wind all day long after I'd ridden 50 miles the day before! Kudos to all you crazy people. I'm out. And don't even get me started on the 100 miler folks. One of Dada's coworkers was doing the 75 mile part and decided to backtrack just so he could get a full 100 miles in. Who does that!? And he was cheerful about it. I would look like roadkill if the thought even seriously crossed my mind!

I should back up a bit. I'd been informed that there would be rest stops every 10 miles and that it was not a race. So, the first set of miles was heading south. We were getting blown a little bit but not too badly, and I felt pretty good when we pulled into the first rest area. I actually thought, "wow, that was a pretty fast 10 miles. I might get through this." The second stop comes along and it's actually the lunch stop already. 

Now, had I actually investigated the map we were given, I'd have noticed that it's clearly marked we'd done 17.8 miles at this point. I text my mother to let her know hey, it's lunch, we're 20 miles in, doing good...

Waitaminute. That says 17 miles. I thought the rest stops were every 10 miles. 10 miles + 10 miles = 20 miles, not 17.8 miles. What is going on?

Dada: Oh, the first stop was only 7 miles in.

Me: !!!

Well, that would make sense as to why it felt like a fast 10 miles. *sigh* Well, really, *siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*. Oh boy.

But lunch was great. Subway was a sponsor so there were 6" subs and more chips and big cookies and pop and yum! I love food!

Off we went after lunch. Our third rest stop had super incredibly enthusiastic volunteers who were cheering and clapping and hollering every time a rider pulled in or out of the area. It was neat to hear some of their stories about how they'd gotten involved, how long they'd been part of the event, and to just see their huge smiles for us. Everyone from start to finish was very friendly and we appreciated it so much. There were motorcycles throughout with first aid available and snacks or drinks if needed or just "mortal support" as they say in The Gods Must Be Crazy. 

I can't even describe how much relief I felt to see cops at intersections to direct traffic and let groups of us through lights together. I am especially not good at starts and stops, and the bike trail is one beautifully resurfaced surface where a lot of the country roads were not. Sometimes it felt like you were riding on a scrubbie. Overall, though, the planners (here's your shout-out, guys) did an amazing job picking low traffic roads, at least for our 50 mile part- I can't speak for the others. The drivers we did encounter were considerate and gave us plenty of space. The cops were friendly and warm and encouraging and let me say it again: I so much appreciated their presence. Thank you!

We made it! This is us at the finish. Oh wait, I need to back up again. 

The last stretch of the ride was downhill and over a bridge and the physical road surface here was the worst it had been on the entire ride. I was praying, "please, Lord, don't let me wipe out right here in this gravelly mess, please don't let me embarrass myself right here, please don't let me fall over, aaaaack, do I brake or ride it out, eeeeek, please don't let me fall right here..." 

Very close to the end is a whole group of people with signs declaring witticisms like, "smile if your butt hurts" and other encouraging slogans. They were perfectly placed and made me laugh as I entered the finish line. I don't know if that crew lived there and cheer riders on regularly or if this was the first time or what, but I appreciated them, too. It was fun to end on a high note of cheer.

So, did it, made it, done. Whew. Get some watermelon, chat up some fellow riders, peruse the wares, start walking our bikes out and down the road to the neighborhood where some kind folks let us park my car overnight in front of their house. Thanks, you guys, appreciate it!

This is the part where I'm not even kidding and further proof to me of God's providence. Mother, you can stop reading right here and skip down to the crepes. We are walking along a nice, even sidewalk after riding on all kinds of surfaces for 50 miles, and we hear a BANG POOF PSSSSSSSSST. 

My rear tire, the one I re-learned to brake with, just blew a total flat. Completely and utterly flat. Not on that horrid, broken surfaced hill I just descended, but on a sidewalk. No nail, no pothole, no stone, nada. We looked at each other with those big cartoony eyes and shared the same thought bubble, "did that really just happen!?" I shook my head, Dada doubled over laughing and repeating that he just couldn't believe it. 

So, back we went to the event and brought my poor borrowed bike to the good folks from Reggie's bike shop who took one look and went, "yep, those are dead." We bought new tires from them on the spot and want to publicly thank them for being ready and willing to help a gal out!

So all's well that ends well. I didn't kill myself, or Dada, just my back tire. I suppose that's pretty good, all things considered.

But that's only part of our adventure. Once we loaded the bikes into Pepe (my car), we headed to the ferry in Port Clinton which would take us and just our camping gear to Put In Bay. We sat with some sisters who'd been doing Bike to the Bay in one form or another for over a decade and who'd since lassoed other friends and family members into joining them. Since they were familiar with the event and the island, we chatted them up for the must-try food and heard their stories about their rides. They were pretty animated and it made the ferry ride seem super quick!

Dada had found us one of the last available camping spots on the south side of the island. We met our neighbors, two families and several kiddos from Cleveland, who were very considerate and kind. We decided to set up our tent right in the parking spot as we only had the golf cart we were renting to fit there and the ground was pretty stony so getting tent pegs in would have been a challenge anyway. 

Apparently the island is about 3 miles long, so once we'd set up camp we decided to putt around in our golf cart to explore it. The sweet family beside us offered us some of their dinner they'd grilled, but we thanked them and headed off to check out some of the recommendations from the girls on the ferry. 

First though, we got showers. Nice, hot showers. Aside from the mayflies, which weren't terrible though plentiful, the campground was great. Everyone was considerate about noise and cleaned up after themselves and it seemed very family friendly. I'd definitely go back. 

It was also amazing to be clean again. 

So, boats. 

We wandered around the village and admired the boats and watched the water birds and were amused to find out that it was Pyrate weekend. Everywhere, little kids with swords, grown ups in costume, tents with pirate wares, cannon demonstrations, you name it.

And boats. Which I know not one thing about, but can admire anyway:

We did the Chicken Patio for dinner with the yummy chicken dinner and enjoyed watching the guys moving the chicken around on their huge grill, smirking at the pirates wandering by, enjoying being sans kids and in a new place. We eventually made it back to the campground and crashed and slept pretty well for having done the longest bike ride we'd ever done in our lives.

Okay, this is the part where I'm going to write this but everyone can stop reading because I don't want this secret to get out. 

To the staff of the Old Forge, you all are amazing. We had the best breakfast we have ever had in our lives. Sydney, your recommendations were spot on for everything. I had the crepe with the roasted chicken, goat cheese, applewood bacon and pesto creamy deliciousness and ate every single bite. Along with Dada's breakfast potatoes which were golden and crispy and perfect. With coffee. And ice water. And real flowers. Though I didn't eat those. And then, and then, for dessert? Ohhhhh my goodness. We had the Little Miss Sunshine sweet crepe. I double dog dare you to click on that clipboard below and read what it was made of. And then go catch the ferry at Port Clinton. Worth every penny. Would possibly give up a firstborn. Just kidding, Carrie. Kind of. 

Seriously, tell them "the girl who was full up to her eyebrows sent us!"

Amazing. I will dream of this food for the rest of my life. Now those are what crepes are supposed to be. 

Stuffed to the gills, we had to go walk/roll/waddle through the village a few laps. And kiss Captain Jack for luck, of course! I love the looks the little girls behind me are giving us!

We stuffed some lunch in ourselves later on at Frosty's Pizza because the girls said it was the best on the island. We hit it just before the lunch rush and even got a table before the line wound all through the room. 

And then it was time to get back on the ferry, which was much much emptier on the way back than it had been the evening before on the way to the island, and back to real life. Now that we'd had that much fun at Put In Bay, I really can't imagine having spent that time riding 50 miles back into the wind. Blech.

Big thanks goes to Pap who came up to keep an eye on our cherubs while we were away for the weekend. I don't even want to know how much ice cream was consumed. Dada is still in the doghouse, so consider this your get-outta-jail-free weekend. Seriously, thank you. 

Now, how can I get back to the Old Forge for crepes?


P hutch said...

We got Married there! In the Gazebo in Park😁 And I LOVE CAPTAIN JACK!!LOL!