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Some Final Thoughts on GOBA
A Review of the Great Ohio
By Tim Robinson
This article first appeared in the Spokin' Word, the newsletter of the Stark County Bicycle Club (SCBC). The author is a club member.
When I think of GOBA, I don't think in terms of riding 50 miles a day for eight days. Instead, I think in terms of the experiences and events that come together to form one of the greatest weeks of cycling in this area. So I have put together a list of my most memorable events from GOBA '96.
Mansfield. SCBC member Dave McKinley's pre-GOBA ride was a success as we rode 33 miles with three members of the Out-Spokin Wheelmen from Youngstown.
Mansfield to Ashland. The first official day of GOBA riding was highlighted by a stretch of the Richland Bike Trail which was some of the smoothest riding of the whole week. The first "lowlight" of the week was the hot tar which "decorated" many bikes.
Ashland to Bellevue. We had the best lunch of the whole week in Celeryville (and it wasn't celery!)
Bellevue to Port Clinton. GOBA wouldn't be complete without a little rain, and we had more than we needed on this ride. I think I was the only rider to stay completely dry as I managed to miss a good half dozen showers during the day. The Rutherford B. Hayes home and museum was one of the best stops on GOBA.
As we approached Port Clinton, we had one of the most serious accidents to ever occur on the tour. A woman was riding with her husband and came to an intersection she thought was clear. She didn't see a car coming from the left and rode out in front of it. She had to be life-flighted to a hospital in Toledo.
Optional Century/Rest Day in Port Clinton. Very few people chose to complete the 100 mile optional route offered on this hump day. Most people (including me!) toured the Marblehead Peninsula or Kelley's Island.
Port Clinton to Fostoria. One of the strangest incidents of the week occurred just outside of Fostoria. A young man was riding along when a large tree fell across the road and landed on his bike. No storm, no wind--it just fell over. Luckily, the rider was not injured, but his bike was demolished.
One of the biggest thrills of the week came at the criterium races in downtown Fostoria. Several SCBC members entered the children's races and did quite well. The citizens race was fun to watch, but the professional racers were really amazing to watch. These racers rode 50 miles at an average speed of 32 mph. I remember watching them go by and feeling a big gust of wind as they passed.
Fostoria to Upper Sandusky. The final night of GOBA was celebrated by several club members going out to a really neat Italian Restaurant. It was hard to tell which door was the entrance to the place and two members went into someone's apartment by mistake!
Back to Mansfield. We had one of the strongest tailwinds I can ever remember on this final day. Unfortunately, it blew up a serious thunderstorm about midmorning, the worst and most threatening weather of the week. Lightning, thunder and hail were accompanied by winds of up to 60 mph. Fortunately, many of us were at the lunch stop at a local school when the worst hit, so we waited it out inside. Others weren't so lucky. Some riders actually had to take tornado-like precautions, and lay down along the road with their bikes.
After the storm passed, we had great riding and that beautiful tailwind all the way back into Mansfield.
As you can see, GOBA involves a lot more than just riding a bike. The fun times and camaraderie make it what it is, a truly memorable experience. I think I can speak for most GOBA riders when I say it was a great week, and I hope to do it again next year!
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