|Prepping for rain showers|
|Rock & Roll Hall of Fame|
|Frank Seebode and volunteer Debbie|
Our group of seven left Mt Vernon at 4 am on Day 2, for the outbound 300K to Newport KY (just over the Ohio River from Cincinnati). By the time we reached the breakfast control (Hamburger Inn, Delware OH, mile 162), Dave B had determined he should not continue due to saddle interface issues. PBP is a more important goal for him, and it's only a month away. We splintered somewhat from here but regrouped at controls. Rain continued off and on, although there was a brief period of almost an hour when the sun actually shone. Volunteer Debbie worked efficiently at each control to make sure everyone had enough food and drink. It was somewhere during this section that I noticed Jim K was dropping off the back, and he eventually bailed out. He had not been able to get any sleep for about 2 days leading up to the ride. After getting some rest, Jim spent the rest of the weekend volunteering along with Debbie, which was a great help.
Beautiful rolling Amish farmland with horses, sheep and goats occupied most of the afternoon. I rolled into the food control at Corwin a few minutes after Scott (from TX) for another hot meal (Corwin Peddlar, Arepas Columbian Food). It was another 45 miles to the overnight in Newport KY, but I arrived there before dark (8:20) after crossing the Purple People Bridge from Cincinnati.
|Arrival at 500K midpoint in Newport KY|
We didn't need to leave Newport KY until 4 am, so this was the longest overnight of the ride, and I had a great sleep at the Comfort Suites Inn. Just before departing at 4, Frank looked up in the sky and commented that there was an unusual sight - stars were visible. This portended a wonderful day - the best of the ride. Another rider had dropped out due to mechanical issues (broken shifter), but Robert from CA joined us for the inbound 500K. He was fresh and strong, and soon left us. About an hour after leaving Newport, while riding on a quiet street out of Cincinnati, I heard the rider behind me hit the pavement. The two of us in front turned back and helped him to the side of the street. Apparently his hand had slipped off the handlebar and he couldn't keep his bike upright. Fortunately only one of his ankles was a little swollen, but his front wheel was toast. This left us with three of the original starters. Scott was somewhere behind us and we learned later (after he caught up) that the quick connect link in his chain broke, requiring a roadside repair. A good number of miles were on the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Ohio to Erie Trail. These are converted railroad beds (Rails to Trails), paved and very moderate in elevation changes. You do have to watch out for tree debris and other trail users. Lunch control (again, ably supported by Debbie and Jim) was at Clifton Mill.
Unfortunately for Jonathan, who was leading our small group, his ride came to an end at the Hamburger Inn control (Delaware OH). He choked badly on some food and had to be taken to the emergency room to have the obstruction cleared. Now it was down to Scott and myself for the 1000K. We stayed together pretty much the rest of the day and evening, arriving in Mt Vernon a little after 10 pm.
|Arrival at Mt Vernon inbound - greeted by Jim and Debbie|
|Arriving at the penultimate control - Brandywine|
|Debbie at penultimate control|
I cruised along the Metro Parks Bike and Hike Trail and Towpath Trail, until about 10 miles from the end when it was time to hit Cleveland's city streets. I was thankful for the finish in daylight as I picked my way around various craters and walked over some very bad railroad crossings. Very near the end (I think it was the right turn onto W. St. Clair Ave), an uphill presented itself that looked like something transported from Seattle or San Francisco. No thanks, it's off the bike for me. I will take to the sidewalk with my feet. Once at the top, it was a flat cruise to the end at the same place we started - Voinovich Park and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Unlike my last day on the 1200K last fall, I did not suffer from sleep deprivation. However, I am not ashamed to say I was not ready for another 200K!
|Fantastic support team!|