Friday, August 14, 2009

Columbus to Zanesville Oh

When I saw this sign in Hebron Ohio so many thoughts flooded (pun intended) my mind of all the leaks in all the places , including bridges, since June 3rd when this trip began.

Not far from the town of Kirkersville on Route 40 is the National Trail Dragstrip is a big deal in drag racing circles and I have attended a few events here that were NHRA sanctioned. I rode in and the gates were wide open so I rode up to the start line and was just looking around when I got the idea to see what my bike could do a quarter mile in from a standing start. The only way I had to time myself was the computer on my bike and that goes to the second so I could not get a real accurate time that would include tenths and hundreths of a second but I gave it a go anyway.
I went up to the line and imagined one of those Christmas Tree of lights deals that they use for real races. I revved myself up mentally and blasted off down the track. I quickly realized 2 things 1-I started off in way too high a gear to get up to speed quickly--I felt like one of those Albatrosses you see on wild Kingdom that seem to take forever dancing/skipping along the top of the water before they actually are airborne. But I pumped as hard as I could anyway.
2-the track is slick as hell from all the burnt rubber laid down by a zillion cars before me. I was actually sliding sideways from the torque I was applying to the peddles --like when I pushed with my left leg the bike slid to the right a little bit. I made it to the end and witha total elapsed time of a blistering 74 seconds but I just knew I could do better and I was stoked to try again.

When I peddeled back to the start line some maintenance guys were standing there laughing their butts off at me. Apparently they had watched me from the big glass enclosed press box and had to come down and get a better look. I let them know I was serious and asked if they would turn on the official clock scoreboard for my next run and they laughed even harder--one guy had to sit down on the ground he was laughing so hard. Then I asked if it were a track rule that I had to wear my helmet because I thought it might be providing too much wind resistance and was affecting my time.They suggested I lose the trailer and American flag as well but I thought that was not an issue and wanted to make the run with them.
Anyway , they never did not give me an answer about turning the clock --they just kept laughing and another guy calls somebody on his cell to give a play by play-- so I revved up and took off again , but this time I got cranking a whole lot quicker because I started in a lower gear and up shifted as I gained speed. My clock said 62 seconds and I just know I can do better--probably even get into the high 50s if I work at it.

I was not sure I wanted to do an third run because I was still breathing hard and then decided not to when a white van pulled in and all the laughing guys quickly took off back to whatever they were doing before I got there. I rode back to Route 40 feeling pretty good about myself.

This is a look back at the starting line after I made my first run. Wow , what a feeling . I now have a sense of what all those real dragsters feel after burning one off in their juiced up rods. BTW--that is farther than it looks especially when you are on a bicycle.
Also, you can see how big that glass enclosed press box really is.

After not seeing anything like this for the past 2.5 months I see 2 similar signs in one day,this one in Zanesville. Although the thoughts did not flood thru my mind like they did 30 miles earlier when I saw the first sign --there still was a steady trickle that I just could not shake.
It was probably a coincidence but the last letter in this sign , a "P", looked like it was searching for a place to go--maybe to the nearest bridge or something.
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