Garrettsville – Road Apple WHAT?
The road apple part is no mystery to anyone who has lived in or near Amish country…or anyplace where one shares the highway with equine modes of transportation (Also an album by the group known as The Tragically Hip but we’re not going there). Roubaix—you can look it up—refers to one of the earliest (1896) professional bike races, a demanding road race over hill and dale, rough terrain, cobblestones and whatever else is out there, from Paris to Roubaix, France. Sacre Bleu!
The 2016 edition of the Road Apple Roubaix (Not to be confused with the Hilly Billy Roubaix in WVA) was right here, up close and personal, Portage and Geauga counties on Saturday, March 26. Starting in Garrettsville, with registration at Slim & Jumbo’s, riders took off right around 10:00 a.m., heading west for tours of either 15, 25 or 40 miles through the splendid sights and sounds of Northeast Ohio on a perfect cycling day. Riders took off and branched off into their chosen separate paths, some heading as far afield as Middlefield, before all returning on the Headwaters Trail—part of the Portage Park System—connecting Garrettsville and Mantua, to enjoy the company of the whole collection of multi-colored neon- and spandex-attired riders back at the friendly neighborhood bar and grill on Main Street. Those still up for it could participate in the arm-wrestling competitions—men and women. Good crowd. Good times. Didn’t even require any action by the Portage Park District Head Ranger, Doug Shepard, who was there and was even familiar with the territory.
No such activity would be complete without a megaphone for giving directions…check; a Chinese auction featuring bike stuff—shirts, sox & locks, soap, a Park Tool or two, adult beverages, a helmet, bike tires, some Chamois Butt’r (don’t ask)…check; participation stuff—shirt, chili mug, raffle ticket, drink ticket (Well you get thirsty pedaling away out there)…check. There were folks from all over—John and Christian Crawford, Connie Evans, for instance, representing the locals, and bike clubs from everywhere in this corner of the state and some from PA, WV and NY (You could tell from the license plates on cars all over town). Plenty of sponsorships were in evidence—Cellar Rats Brewery in Madison, Reed Financial Services, Mountain Road Cycles, the bicycle hub, to name a few.
One of the great photo shots of the day was at the corner of Maple and High streets, as a fluorescent orange-and-black cyclist passed an all-black Amish buggy probably heading into town for groceries. Great day for pictures altogether. Well-organized by local-couple-made-good, Janet Evans Edwards, and husband Joey Edwards, the Road Apple Roubaix will surely be invited to return. If you’re a cyclist or think that you might like to become one, watch for the event next year. Our weather being what it is, be prepared for anything.