Head winds, tail winds, detours, they’re all part of the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV) held every Mother’s Day weekend, and bicyclists travel from Columbus to Tracy Park in Portsmouth and back.
As the weekend approached, there were three detours on the route, but only two by the time the TOSRV event began.
“It was good until you got to the detour and you had a few ills,” John Rine, of Chicago, who made the trip from Columbus in just under seven hours, said. “But it was nice. The markings were better than ever before. Previous years I have not been happy with the markings, but this year the markings were really good.”
One group of three riders did half the trip, beginning in Chillicothe, and they had a bold plan.
“We started in Chillicothe, we’re actually coming to here, Portsmouth, and turning around right now,” Miguel Kercado, of Columbus, said. “So we’ll be doing about 120. It was fun. It was windy, but we’re going to have the tail wind now. There’s two detours, but I’ve done this ride many times, so it was something new for me because the detours were interesting to say the least. “
“The detour added another 10 miles onto our century, so we’ll be at 120 when we get back,” Jill Peralta of Columbus, who also made the trip from Chillicothe, said. “I have wanted to do this for years. I volunteered at the 50th TOSRV in 2011, so it’s good to participate instead of volunteering this time.”
Long-time event coordinator Kim Bauer said the detours shouldn’t have affected the ride that much.
“I can’t control ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation). I have a lot of friends, but when you think about it, they’re on a time schedule. If the weather breaks and they have 180 days to get something completed, if it’s early spring, they’ve got to go,” Bauer said. “If you can make a hundred miles, you should be training for 130. So if you’re doing a hundred miles and they add another six, it shouldn’t make that big of a difference.”
Bauer said next year will be her final year as coordinator of TOSRV.
“I am old and I am tired,” Bauer said. “This is my 26th year. So I’m passing it on to Kelly Richardson who’s also with River Days, and she’s enjoying Mother’s Day in Nashville with her mother. So next year she’ll be following me.”
Bauer said the Portsmouth contingent was prepared and everything was ready for the cyclists to arrive hours before they actually did.
“The numbers are drastically down,” Bauer said. “The last time I checked we were down to 1,143. Every year it keeps dwindling. Older people don’t ride or pass away, because some of our riders in the past few years have been 88, 89, 90, and the younger people don’t ride. Pass a school and see how many bicycles you see there.”
Through it all, the city of Portsmouth was prepared.
“I have to commend the (Portsmouth) Service Department. They outdid themselves this year – absolutely gorgeous,” Bauer said. “We have sports massage therapists in from Cincinnati, River Days are doing beverages. The Jaycees are doing food and we have D.J. Frankie Frank doing music.”
One of the more popular shelters was a money-raiser for the annual River Days celebration on Labor Day weekend.
“We’re selling beer to the bikers here at the park,” Teresa Bratton of the River Days Committee said. “The money is to help with expenses at River Days. Every dime we raise goes back into the festival. We have no paid employees. We’re all volunteers.”
The riders will have hot chocolate and donuts at Crispie Creme on Sunday morning, while others will have hot chocolate and breakfast sandwiches at Tracy Park. They will then make the return trip, and Bauer says the whole thing will be over as far as Portsmouth people are concerned by about 9:30 a.m.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.