Tour of the Valley
Berlin Center Travel Blog› entry 24 of 34 › view all entries
France has the Tour de France. Northeast Ohio has the Tour of the Valley. I remember hearing about this biking event when I was in high school or college. After I moved back to Ohio I remember watching the roads warily during the second phase for the many riders that were out that Saturday morning.
This year I had been bouncing around the idea of going to the time trials. A friend's post on Facebook and subsequent invitation to join the family convinced me. So around four in the afternoon, Erin, Brooke, Brynn, Bristol, and I loaded up the SUV and headed northwest to the Mastropietro Winery, the base point for the time trials. As we navigated down the road between bikers doing warm-ups, we spotted Celeste, the only rider I knew.
Once parked at the winery, we found many more members of the Steel Valley Tri Club in the final stages of preparation. Brooke got a bottle of wine, a group photo was taken, and we headed down the road to the actual start of the trials.
The trials were a straight out-and-back, four miles each way. What fasicnated me though was the start itself. The rider brought his/her bike up onto the platfom. Then she sat down, clipped her feet in to the pedals, and was held as the starter counted down five, four, three, two, one, complete with hand gestures. She started to pedal, the holder let go, and she rolled down the ramp.
A few riders wobbled, others just took the start slow. Then the more experienced--or maybe just more confident--riders flew down the ramp, not even minding the bump from the incline to the road.
We stood with the husbands of some of the other ladies and cheered as each one went by. We had to stay in the grass on the side of the road or else we got a warning from one of the officials. As riders returned and zipped through the finish flag, some of them were at speeds of more than 35 mph, enough to really bang up a misplaced spectator (and possibly cause some damage to the racing bike some of which were easily worth 1K).
Everyone seemed pretty happy with their rides. They were also pretty happy with the food and wine purchased from the winery afterwards. Results and awards didn't happen until close to nine so we had lots of time to just relax and chat. When awards finally did pop up, Amanda--one of the ladies we cheered for--had won her category and got to wear the yellow jacket into the next day's challenge, a long road race.