Despite sporadic rain showers throughout the day on Saturday, the weather couldn’t put a damper on the 53rd annual Tour of the Scioto River Valley.
Thousands of riders stayed Saturday night in Portsmouth, halfway through the 210-mile route and congregated in Tracy Park for food, massages and rest.
According to Tour director Bill Gordon, many riders who started the Tour in Columbus were deterred by early morning showers that came through the area at about 6 a.m.
“You get some people that drop out, because of the rain,” he said. “Some guys threw their bags on, then it started pouring down rain, pulled their bags off and went home.”
However, motivated riders that stuck with the Tour and pushed through the weather were rewarded with clear skies.
“As long as you kept up, you stayed out of the rain,” said assistant Tour director Rick Hoechstetter. “We expect this on TOSRV. It’s rainy, the temperature is highly variable. This part of the country is not nice in May.”
Despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions and low visibility, Gordon reported that there were no significant crashes or emergencies. One participant was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, but his condition was not readily available.
This year’s event attracted cyclists from across the country and around the world. Columbus resident and Belgium native Goeric Daenimck was riding TOSRV for the first time.
“I’m a little bit sore, but it’s fine. It’s not too bad,” said Daenimck.
Both Daenimck and his riding partner, Carl Cavanas, recently moved to the area from California. Both avid cyclers, they found TOSRV almost completely by accident.
“We googled “biking, Columbus” and TOSRV popped up,” said Cavanas. “Apparently, it’s the thing to do.”
“It’s really nice. It’s fun. But coming from California, the Bay area, where there are a lot of hills, you don’t think [these] hills would actually hurt you,” said Daenimck. “But in fact, it’s pretty hard.”
Jim Wilson, a native of Huber Heights, Ohio, was also riding the Tour for the first time.
“My knees are pretty sore,” he said. “We’ve got a hotel room, so we might be able to get a good night’s sleep.”
TOSRV Riders left town early Sunday morning for the return trip to Columbus.
Alex Hider can be reached at 353-3101, ext 294, or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter.