Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sir Harry and The Chateau

There are some really quirky people, places and things here in Ohio. As a lover of all things quirky and odd (you have seen my wife, for example), I packed up the family last weekend for a half day tour of three of the Buckeye State's kooky places.
Way down in the southeast corner of the state just above Cinci lies the life-long pursuit of a very interesting fellow. His name is Sir Harry Andrews, and for a guy who was clinically dead just after the turn of the century he sure managed to do a lot.

Harry was stationed inside Fort Dix just before WWI when was stricken down with cerebrospinal meningitis. He was one of seven thousand soldiers who contracted it there, and one of only TWO who survived the outbreak thanks to a new medicine called adrenaline. Stabbing his chest with the new wonder drug, his heart began to beat again. He was blind and paralyzed, but alive. He was given a day or two to live, but instead managed to eat after weighing just eighty nine pounds...surviving by eating six times a day. His blood would later be used as a vaccine to cure others of the same deadly disease.

A short time later he was stationed in France at a forward army medical post in the southwest, located inside the magnificent Chateau La Roche, pres Razac-sur-l'Isle. After the war, he studied architecture in Toulouse. He returned from France hoping to bring some the magnificence of the French countryside with him, and started to build.

Harry bought a large chunk of land along the Little Miami river in 1927, near Loveland, Ohio. What began as a place for local boys to camp and fish (until the tents were too worn-out to use anymore) became a small stone building with two rooms. From this, the "Knights Of The Golden Trail" were born, wherein harry instructed the lads on the ways of the knight. Thing is...knights need a a castle to meet in, right? RIGHT!

In 1929 he and the boys got to work. His architecture degree being put to good use, he drew up plans for said castle. The Civilian Conservation Corps would syphon off much of his young-lad labor, and the endeavor would be put on partial hold until he retired and had time to adequately get to work. By the way, Lyd and I were not able to find any information on ANY females that were ever involved in this isolated undertaking on private land. made us both wonder if this wasn't in fact the first Neverland Ranch. He never had a girlfriend or wife, was an only child, and had no choice to live in what he could build alone. Constructed of concrete "bricks" made with milk-jug forms, he used light bulbs and normal garbage in many of them for their insulating properties. While building the Chateau, he is said to have hauled over 56,000 pails of stones by hand out of the river to build the home.
Cost to build the place? About twelve thousand dollars.
Upon completion, Harry had numerous women offer their hands in marriage, just so they could live in the castle. While we were there it was about 45 degrees outside..and about 28 degrees INSIDE, so maybe they should have thought that one through. No matter, because he would never marry any of them. Oddly enough (because this story isn't odd enough) he had applied for his military pension many years later, and had to fight like mad to convince the pentagon that he wasn't DEAD, based on the initial 1915 paperwork from Fort Dix!

It gets a little more crazy, and one more reason to hate polyester pants is coming your way right now. On March 14, 91 years old, he was out on the property burning trash. Wind picked up, and embers caught the woods on fire. Running to the fire, he began to stomp out the flames in his super-awesome disco-style polyester pants. They promptly caught on fire, and immediately melted to his legs. He was taken to the hospital and told he would need to amputate both legs, but ol' Harry never built a single lift, ramp or elevator at the Chateau..and refused medical treatment. He would die soon after of gangrene on April 16th 1981, never wanting to part with his legs.

OH...and about that title of Knight? Well, rumor has it that he saved the son of an English nobleman while in France, and the father knighted Andrews for his service. While a little beat-down from neglect, if you have a small child or two and don't REALLY want to fly to France this the hour and a half to Loveland and visit the Chateau. It's $3 per person, and yes Margaret, there ARE ghosts there.
It's also located just across the river from the beautiful Little Miami River Scenic Bike Trail and I can't wait to go ride that thing!

On the way home, we stopped by the birthplace of the Banana Split (they were closed) in Wilmington, Ohio..then we went to a little known place in Sabina, Ohio. Last stop? The final resting place of "Eugene The Mummy." I'll save his story for another day, but he lived quite a life for a guy that died in 1929 and wasn't actually buried until 1964!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fuzzy's Palm Springs Report!


Hey Chris, hope everything is well in Ohio with the family and all. Just wanted to send a word to you about our first event of the season, the Palm Springs Century. Last year we had 5 riders in our group but this year we only had two, Mr. Osgood and myself. My brother is getting over the flu so he was bummed out not to join us in the desert. This is a great ride because it is easy enough to do as a training ride or just go balls out. We decided to take it easy and do it in 6 and a half hours. Felt great at the end of it, I actually rode this morning as a recovery ride. Overall, feeling really well on the bike. The core work is paying off, the lower back pains have eased up. Threw in some sprints and pulled a massive train a couple of times during the century.

Thanks to Sigma for the data we got on our computers, Kenda Kriteriums, Expedo Pedals for easy clip outs at the crowded sag stops, Voler for comfortable riding shorts, Amino Vital for the Endurance Powder and Royal for socks and gloves.

Two more weeks until Sagebrush.... the Rage is coming.

Talk to you later,


Monday, February 07, 2011

Randy Hits Cuyamaca


Damn dude, no word for months and now two in two weeks! Anyhoo.. this weekend the group went up to Cuyamaca to ride and I have never ridden there so I was excited to go. The group I ride with goes up there once a month to ride "sweep" (whatever that is) but four of them are volunteers with the Forest Service so they ride there quit a bit.

I know you have riddin and a lot of the team has ridden there a lot, but I never have ridden there. When you had the Camp and Ride at Pacacho that was when I first met everyone but didn't ride that Saturday. So we went up Saturday morning and rode the Grand Loop on the north side and also added the Lucia trail. It was about a mile and a half out and back to the Grand Loop, and man when we rode that coming back I just kept thinking this would be a very fun super-D course.

So anyway back to the Grand Loop.. man that thing is an ass kicker! We did 27.5 miles with 2700' feet of climbing and it was fun as hell. The fire road down the back side is about 3.5 miles long and there was still snow on the ground. I have never ridden in that before but it was a kick.. and if there wasn't snow there was eight inches (insert comment) deep mud and that is a fast downhill. That place was so much fun I will be going back with these guy's once a month for sure.

Thanks to ALL our sponsors because without them I wouldn't have all the equipment that I have and be able to do the riding that I get to.

Peace out!


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Randy Rush Sagebrush Pre-Ride Update.

Yo Chris,

It's been a long while since I've had anything to send ya so I thought I would send a little write up on last weekend and just check in. I haven't been on a bike in over five month's because I have just been busy with life in general, but one of the guy's from the Wednesday night group ride called on Friday and said they were going down to ride Sagebrush on Sunday morning and he knows how much I love that place so I told him your dam straight I'm going.

I've never ridin there on anything except my race bike so I was excited to get the Snyper ready and head down. So I'm rolling down there and around pine valley I looked at my thermometer in my truck and it reads 34 degrees and then flashes ICE and I'm thinking oh F-ing great because we all know what a pussy I am when it gets cold out (OK this is where you, tookie, and Sean start laughing) but I'm there so I got my ass out dressed as warm as I could and was ready to go.

We had a group of nine show up and left the trucks at around 8:15 and it was 36 out. We get about a mile up the pavement and my cheeks and ears are hurting like a bitch but by the time we got to the top at four corner's it was good so on to the fun we went.

Now we had a lot of rain in December and no one new what to expect on the course but let me tell ya it was in the best shape I have ever seen it it was soooo fun and it was great to be on my bike. We added a piece of single track that they took out of the course a few years ago so we did right at twenty miles but did not do the pro climb and downhill because some were tired and the rain was coming. Anyway I wasn't planning on racing there this year because I haven't riddin and I'm not in great shape but I'm better than I thought and how in the world can I miss Sagebrush HELL NO!!!!!!!!!

Well the Tomac Snyper was awesome the Kenda's hooked up great, the Rox told me we did two thousand feet of climbing and my Hydrapac Laguna kept me hydrated and held my PB and J for when I got hungry so it was a GREAT time.

Hopefully it won't be so long until I have something to check in with and I can't wait till the race.

Peace out!


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Cave Crawl With Tookie.

Hey, Chris
The winter adventure weekend down here in Carter Caves, Ky was really cool and I don't mean temperture, although it was fairly nice once it warmed up to 43 degrees and the sun melted the 2-3 inches of snow in a matter of five hours leaving mud and ice patches every where.
The winter adventure weekend used to known as the cave crawl-a-thon, which numerous caves were closed off 3 years ago because of white nose bat disease, some of the non bat caves are still open, but not to the extent of why the crawl-a-thon got its name.
So now all the cool stuff happens above ground. Cater Caves put together every thing from hiking, canoeing ( over ice flows at times), extreme tree climbing, repelling, winter surivial camp, horse backriding, bluegrass music and the "squeeze box" competition.
I tried to do as much as I could in the two days and although there was no mountian bike I was still able to show off some of our sponsors gear like hydrapak on my winter mud hike, although some people still like carry their stuff in wal-mart bags.
I didn't go anywhere that day with my ryder sunglasses which got a lot complements and one brite ass headlamp from Sigma when I went on a 1:00am cave crawl with some friends in a private cave system,
while trying to squeeze my ass between rocks the height of end table, thinking I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic because this would be a real bad time to find out.