The Frank  (Frank's Ride Above Northern Knox) -  Sat. August 27th 2016 An Iron Saddle ride.

Bellville Ohio/Malabar Farm State Park

After many years of running bicycle rides, I have decided to just participate in rides.  This will be the last organized ride I run.

Start Location is Malabar Farm State Park.  102 and 74 mile options.  Not for beginners.  Riders should be above average in conditioning and know how to descend hills safely.  Many descents have stop signs at the bottom, and/or unmarked curves, and/or narrow roads.  Have your shifting systems checked out before you show up.

The hardest one day fully supported tour in Ohio with the 102 mile course having over 11,000 feet of climbing.  The 74 mile course has over 8,000 feet of climbing.  The ride has three food stops.  After the ride soda, chips, hotdogs, brats, and veggie burgers will be provided.  The 100 mile course has the climbing equivalent of a mountain stage in one of the grand European  tours.  Will you find bigger hills in Ohio? Yes.  Will you find steeper hills in Ohio? Yes.  Will you find a route in Ohio with nearly constant climbing and descending?  I don't think so.

There are plenty of one day rides that have popped up from PA to GA like 6 Gaps, Blood Sweat And Gears, Assault of Mt. Mitchell, and Mountains of Misery.  Ohio does not have mountains like those rides. We do have hills.  With The Frank, Ohio now has a tough one day ride. 

Enticement to ride "The Frank"

If "The Frank" is not the hardest century you have ever ridden in Ohio, you get your money back.

The rules for your money back:

1) You must complete the 100 mile Frank

2) Your harder ride must be: a) 100% in Ohio b) All roads on your course are paved.  c) Cannot exceed 110 miles in distance.  d) Must have more than 8000 feet of climbing per ridewithgps.com  e) Cannot repeat any distance on the same road in the same direction.  You can however have up to 30 miles of out and back on the same roads.  f) Your harder ride was ridden in its entirety at a temperature between 60 and 90 F. g) less than 50% of route be previous "Frank" routes

3) You will do your best to neutralize variable factors such as riding speed between your ride and "The Frank".

The Route

For veterans of The Frank, the roads in Mohican State Park have been repaired and have been added back into the ride.  The route seeks out hills, it is not your traditional point a to point b ride.  You will never be very far from the start.  With 3 food stops you will have 4 segments to the ride.  The 102 mile route follows the 75 mile route with a loop in each segment departing from the 75 mile course and rejoining the 75 mile course a bit later.  

75 mile route  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2659595

102.5 mile route   https://ridewithgps.com/routes/5683384

Those with altimeters can expect an elevation gain reading of about 10,800.

The 102 mile route will have at least 26 climbs with 150 feet or more of climbing.  11 of those climbs will be greater than one mile in distance.  The routes were designed for climbing, not descending, so extra caution should be used when descending.  There is very little ridge riding on these routes.  You will have some great views at several summits and quite a few climbs will be quite scenic as well.

The 75 mile and 102 mile route use the same three food stops, Loundonville, Lucas, & Bellville.  To get the 100 miles in, loop-like sections were added to three of the four legs of the ride so you can ride mileage of 80, 84, 90, or 94 instead of the 75 and 102 ride mileage options, you just have to select what segments you want to do.  If you can still ride your bike but have to abandon you can do that after the Lucas food stop.  We will mark the route back to Malabar Farm.  Your total distance if you decide to abandon will be either 52 or 62 miles.  Of course, we do have SAG service to transport you back to the start if needed.

The following is a breakdown of “The Frank” climbs by size for the 100 mile course and some comparable hills.  If you are from central Ohio and do not recognize most of these climbs you probably should not be doing “The Frank”.

100 – 149 ft.  - not counted (to small) but there are plenty.    Comparable climbs – Red Bank, Slough, Duffy, Stump Hollow

150 – 199 ft. – 9 climbs.   Comparable climbs – Christmas Rock, McDonald (east bound), St. Joseph (east bound), and Techniglass

200 – 249 ft. – 8 climbs.  Comparable climbs – Chicken Coop, Savage, Pickerington, Reynolds, St. Joseph (west bound), and Corkscrew

250 – 299 ft. – 7 climbs.  Comparable climbs – Tarkiln, McDonald (west bound), Jack Run

300 – 349 ft. – 3 climbs.  Comparable climbs – Blue Valley, Snortin Ridge, Cantwell Cliffs, Malta Hill Rd.

350 – 400 ft. – none.  Comparable climbs – Sterner, Conk Palmer (Sunday climb out of Malta on OBC), and Valley Pkwy (Cuyahoga Valley National Park).


The three food stops will have drinks, snacks, P&J sandwiches, and chips.  At the finish we will have sodas, hot dogs, black bean burgers, and chips.  

Bicycle Racers

For years Malabar Farm has been used for road races.  It is considered a hilly course and it was one of my favorites when I raced.  Do not use that race to judge what this ride might be like. This ride is quite a bit hillier.  The 75 mile course has less miles of flat roads than one lap of the Malabar Farm race course, The 100 mile course has less miles of flat roads then two laps of the race course.  Like the race course we climb the hill out of Malabar Farm. However, there are 15 hills on the 100 mile course that have a greater elevation gain and 13 climbs are longer. 

Where to Stay

Malabar Farm Youth Hostel      Malabar Farm State Park Campground        Hotels near Malabar

Bringing Folks That Do Not Ride

Things to do: Malabar  Farm State Park, Mohican State Park, Zipline, Horseback Riding, CanoeingColonial Soldiers Weekend (Grist Mill at Loundonville)


The cost remains $40 if you register by August 24th.  $50 for August 25th and 26th.  Cost for day of ride will increase to $60. 


History of The Frank

I started riding up in Richland and Knox in 1991 doing brevets (200K plus rides).  I developed a 70 mile hill course by 1995 that I rode by myself and occasionally with some friends.  In 2005 I invited a group up that always rode a century so I expanded the ride to 100 miles.  I told them it was rolling with some hills with nothing over 10% grade but mostly 6% grades.  It seems that I lied to them.  By the end of the ride we had over 10,000 feet of climbing and most of the grades were well over 6%.  They were in shock.  From that ride they came up with two names, one that I forget but it was unprintable, and "The Frank".  When I asked what I should call this ride, they came back with "The Frank."

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