I rode several Columbus Fall Challenges back in the 70's with the likes of Gary Dauer. The WWW stories about this year's CFC brought back some of my memories.
CFC was my most favorite ride - the time of year (I hate the heat!), the colors, the hills, the good riding companions, and the lack of traffic along those rural roads.
My first CFC was CFC #2. Jan Pump from Clyde did the first CFC and convinced me to give it a try on CFC #2. That Saturday morning, the whole lot of us riders stood in the shelter of an overhang at the start location (somewhere on the east side of Columbus by the JCPenney Outlet store) waiting.
Waiting for the black sky (not for the lack of sun) to clear and the rain to stop pouring down in buckets. I borrowed a rain suit from Jan that belonged to his wife (she was a tad shorter than I) and after about 45 minutes and no change to the deluge, we reluctantly set off towards Zanesville. I think it stopped raining after the first 25 mile rest stop.
I think it was my second CFC when I called up an old girlfriend's house near Zanesville. Her sister was home, came and picked me up in her convertible sports car, and I slept in a spare bedroom on a bed that night. Such relief! I had a nice breakfast by her mother the next morning and she took me back to the school just before Jan was getting ready to go. I just smiled, tossed my (unused) sleeping bag in the truck, and took off with Jan!
One year when it was foggy and chilly Saturday morning we got started at the usual time. As we were riding through the woods later, still in the fog, we heard the sound of an approaching bike - from the rear. Sure enough, there was Gary Dauer chugging past us to disappear in the fog again. He said later that he had stayed in bed until the weather improved a bit!
On one of the later CFCs, Jan and I were among the first to arrive in Athens. We then got an early start on Sunday with the intent of outlasting the others and arriving first back in Columbus. Jan (slavedriver that he is), didn't let me rest very much at the stops. As we went over the last I-70 overpass in Columbus about four miles from the end, we were elated, we were in front! About 200 meters beyond that overpass though, I looked back and there were three riders ON THE OVERPASS! We took off like a shot (I used to be in better shape than I am now! REALLY), but they caught us just before the end. So we came in 4th and 5th. The next year, we tried the same feat on Sunday and had better luck. We were 1st and 2nd.
One of my years I also just missed getting an award in Athens at the dinner. I missed the HIGHEST LOW GEAR award by one tooth. I had (if I recall right) a 42 on the front and a 23 on the back. Someone else had a 22. Back in those days of my riding, my concession for the hills was to replace my 49 tooth inner chainring with a 42. This gave me 52/42 in front and a 13 to 23 on the back.
Speaking of Athens, you may have seen (or perhaps ridden) up that hill on the NW side of town where 23 came into the city. After 100+ miles, the route would go up that hill and down the other side.
Some present-day MVW members may know of my The Hilly Expedition full service ride which I put on for about 12 years. That ride was modeled after CFC.
If some of the MVW members listen to Old-Man-Joe [Dollman] about CFC, he will tell you about several years of my telling him that I will be there for CFC and then I didn't show up. I just didn't want to be intimidated by him. (And by the way, I hope he doesn't embarrass anyone with that small wheeled Raleigh that he just bought.)
Old MVW Guy