This past Wednesday I returned to Xenia and Greene County for the 2013 Greene Trails Cycling Classic (GTCC). Greene County has an amazing 62 mile network of paved multi-use trails that connect with trails in neighboring counties. This gives the Miami Valley a trail network of over 330 miles of paved trails. It is the perfect destination for the recreational off-road cyclist.
The GTCC is a four day gathering of cyclists who cycle a different trail in this network each day visiting towns in the nearly flat rural landscape. The rides are nicely supported by the Greene County Parks and Trails (GCPT) and their volunteer Trail Sentinels.
The Greene County Fairgrounds serves as the hub where participants enjoy large campsites, clean showers, and meals in an air conditioned multi-purpose building. GCPT staff and volunteers are on-site to attend to participants’ needs. Other fairgrounds services include a local bike mechanic, a masseuse and a mobile emergency medical clinic.
It is a folksy event that is just about as much about the camaraderie of cyclists as it is about cycling. The typical cyclist is a little more senior casual trail cyclist. Families, grandparents with grandchildren, and other cross-generational groups are common. There are seasoned road cyclists who enjoy the smooth paved trails. The cyclists welcome everyone regardless of speed, age and type of bike.
I enjoy the GTCC as a casual cyclist. The scenery, attractions, and towns along the trails are quite nice. After only two years, I have made many new friendships and look forward to returning next year. If you want to experience a taste of rural Ohio on a bicycle in a friendly social gathering of cyclists, this event is perfect for you. A synopsis of this year’s rides follows.
- Thursday morning I cycled the shaded Creekside Trail to Dayton. Cyclists passed the photogenic Alpha Seed and Grain building on the route through Beavercreek. The Dayton skyline appeared as I cycled along the Mad River levee. My arrival at RiverScape Metro Park was perfect as I cycled past the impressive display of the Five Rivers Fountain. I continued a short distance to the Second Street Market, a farmers market with a nice selection of lunch and shopping options. After socializing over lunch, I returned to Xenia for a total distance of 36 miles.
- Friday was the iconic GTCC century ride on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, a beautiful shaded trail that heads south along the Little Miami River to Cincinnati. I rolled out of Xenia just a little later than I wanted. I made good time and reached the turnaround point shortly after noon. Passing back through Loveland, I stopped for lunch in one of the trailside cafes. My lunch was timed perfectly as a rainstorm drenched the trail during my meal. Cloudy skies dogged me on my ride north. Thunder was on my heels. At 8 miles it caught me. I spent the final miles cycling in the rain. I crossed the finish with a little over 100 miles passing under my tires.
- Saturday was a day of casual cycling. I headed north on the Little Miami Scenic Trail to Yellow Springs, a quaint artist colony college town loaded with a variety of shops and restaurants. I sought refuge at the legendary Ha Ha Pizza during a rainstorm. After lunch, I headed a few miles north on the trail and onto quiet backcountry roads for a nice 5 mile ride to the beautiful Clifton Mill. After a stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy, a must for bicycle tourists, I was back on the trail to Xenia. Luck was not on my side as a passing rainstorm soaked me heading out of Yellow Springs. It hovered over me all the way to Xenia. Even with the rain, I enjoyed my 33 mile ride.
- Sunday was my farewell ride out of Xenia. I cycled the newly opened Xenia – Jamestown Connector. This trail headed east through Jamestown to the Fayette County line. The shady quiet former rail corridor offered nice farm vistas, especially at the trail’s end. I cycled back into Jamestown for lunch at the Phoenix Restaurant, a mom and pop comfort food diner. Another GTCC was history as I finished my 36 mile ride and packed up camp at the fairgrounds.
I hope you enjoyed these snippets. The photo gallery below gives you a nice sampling of ride highlights. You can view all of my photos from the GTCC on my Greene Trails Cycling Classic Flickr album.[slickr-flickr tag=”2013GTCCFAV” type=”gallery” API key=”02d873dae0eec798eee2427a64f888fb”]