TBEx Ride Review: The Tour de la Ware, Delaware OH

           Just a Road Chip's Throw From Home
          A Review of the Tour de la Ware | Delaware OH | August 28, 1999
                                                
By
George Hellinger

"...I would ride this tour for the roads and scenery."

The Tour De La Ware started at Smith Park on the north side of Delaware, Ohio, a town just north of Columbus. The Tour de La Ware offers 25, 60 and 100-mile options that wander through Delaware, Marion and Morrow counties of central Ohio. The late summer day was ideal for a bike ride, so choosing the century loop was a no-brainer. I have ridden most of the roads on this tour before; I live within two miles of the starting point.

I arrived at registration shortly after the 7:00 opening. After registering I awaited the arrival of a riding buddy. Shortly before 8:00 we started northward on the first leg of the tour. The temperature hovered around 65 degrees and made for a refreshing start. Our first rest stop was at the American Legion Park in Prospect, after about 25 miles of riding. This rest stop is shared with riders of the 27 and 67-mile loops. The century loop is the metric loop with four clover leafs added. After hydrating with some Gatorade and water, we continued our trek, now southward, along the Scioto River, towards the starting point which also served as the lunch stop.

There was little traffic on the roads; our only impediment was a recent tar and chip treatment to approximately five miles of township roads. Turning onto these tar and chip roads, I noticed my speed immediately dropped two miles per hour. I would not log a personal best time for a century ride this day!

At about the 48-mile mark we arrived at lunch. On speaking with a gentleman who worked registration in the morning, I learned there were 63 registered riders. I had seen seven or eight other cyclists to this point. Lunch consisted of PB&J, cold meat and cheese slices, cookies, pretzels, bananas and grapes. I followed my PB&J and cold meat sandwich with several glasses of cold Gatorade. Although adequate, I wouldn’t ride this tour for the food. I would ride this tour for the roads and the scenery.

While the morning loop took riders north and west of Delaware, the afternoon route looped to the south and the east of the city. The most traffic encountered during the tour was experienced while riding through Delaware. The roads on the afternoon loop lacked the tar and chip treatment that lowered the average speed during the morning session. By this time, the temperature was up to the mid-eighties with the humidity on the rise. Although not hot relative to the heat of July, the temperature was a marked change from the coolness of the morning. I was fortunate to meet up with two riders from northern Ohio that I met this past spring on the Mid-Ohio Century, which also starts in Delaware. One of the riders was atop a new Trek 5200; he had only ridden it 20 miles prior to the tour. We conversed for a while, then I took my leave to try and increase my average speed which had fallen markedly since encountering the tar and chip roads of Scioto Township.

A wind out of the west at about ten miles per hour helped boost my speed as I traveled east towards Olive Green. At the seventy-two mile mark the last rest stop appeared. The final leg would prove to against a slight wind. It seems as if every tour I’ve ridden this year ends with the final leg riding into a headwind. It’s amazing how much stronger a headwind appears to be after seventy-five miles of riding.

The roads continued to be in fine repair with very little traffic. Due to the limited number of riders, I only saw one other cyclist during this final leg. At the finish, my odometer registered ninety-four miles. I learned that an unexpected road detour had forced the route to be shortened. Although I was disappointed that the ride was short of a true century, I opted to ride home and enjoy an icy cold beverage. If it had been the springtime, I probably would have worked to find the lost miles, but in August, I was quite content to find a comfortable seat in the shade and a cold beer.

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