Laura and her husband, Chris, met me at the Creekside Trail in Beavercreek for a 7:00 a.m. rollout. A rail trail, it is wide with good pavement and few riders (at least compared to the W&OD in Virginia).
The ride begins with the stay the night before. Trying to bump my status with Marriott, I was just looking at their properties. The Courtyard by Marriott is a nice hotel and was about $20 less than Fairfield Inn. The only difference for me was Courtyard did not offer a free breakfast.
Now, was it worth $20 for a free breakfast of powdered scrambled eggs and concentrated orange juice? I decided it wasn’t. I took the Courtyard, left early, and ate at Flap Jacks in Lebanon. Ordered the three-pancake breakfast. That was $6.27 so I came out $13 to the plus. (less tip, of course)
Ken Hart greeted me at registration and said “I thought we might see you here since you were in Piqua, Ohio yesterday (posted on Facebook). Cindi Hart did a little better – a big hug. Always a big hug from Cindi.
I went for a four-mile warmup ride in preparation for the 100-mile ride. Arriving back, cancer survivors (or warriors or veterans) were staged separately. Alexis Overbeek came over to meet me. We had been friends on FB for five years but had yet to meet in person. Today we did, She and her husband, Pierce, had come, at my request, to volunteer with Spokes of Hope. It was great meeting both of them.
While a bagpiper played Amazing Grace while we were at the start line, I removed my helmet out of respect – and the riders took off. I was caught without a helmet. I put it on, tightened the strap, and found myself 100 places down in the roll-out. Without being too much of a jerk I passed 98 people and caught Cindi and Rena Smock at the front. The three of us set the pace until Cindi went ahead for some video. Then Rena and I led it out about 19-20 mph for the first five miles. We discussed we were probably burning too many matches and decided to let some others pull through.
It was there I would get – bacon. This is the Bacon and Smoothie Century. In fact, Pierce was dishing it out and overloaded (overdosed) me on bacon. Never thought I could eat too much bacon until today.
With one solo rider ahead of us, we almost caught him two or three times. There must be something about the predator-prey instinct that cyclists have not to be caught even when it benefits them. When he was 100 meters up the road I said I was going to catch him and have him join us. I took off, caught him in no time, and told him he would be better off to soft-pedal and join us. He did. And we would have been better off too although in less than five minutes we were at Rest 2.
The sky turned black. Ken looked at his radar app and said we would get wet but no thunder or lightning. Ken would be wrong. We left out of the stop, had an overpass to cross (an Indiana hill) and I had the usual lactic acid after a stop. One group went ahead and I joined the second. We rode. We had probably five women and five men, all about equal ability.
We talked about cutting it short. We were given directions but when we left one rider thought we were finishing the route. And it felt like we were as we were following markings on the road. There was still thunder and lightning and I decided I would drop off the group and find my way on my own. I did not want to ride in a storm.
I dropped back, fiddled with Garmin’s Back to Start feature and it looked like we were headed back the right way. Except I had let the group go up the road. No worries. Today would be the day that I went over 60,000 miles cancer-free. I was happy being by myself for a bit.
I got back to Lebanon, in the rain. I stopped at the bell for cancer survivors to ring. I rang. No response. But I didn’t expect any. The 100-mile ride became a 100 km ride. Spokes of Hope had closed the course due to the weather. It was a prudent and safe thing to do.
I saw old friends, in the case of Alexis, met a friend, finally, for the first time, and went over 60,000 miles. It was a good day despite the rain.
This was simple enough. I came to Piqua to rid myself of ghosts. Or demons.
I woke up here in May 2018. I had no clue I was in Ohio. At that time I was riding on the Great Miami River Trail. Retired Piqua police officer, Paul Sullenberger, found me unconscious and called 911.
I came back today to ride with Paul. I parked by the mall in Piqua and rode towards Troy. It was surreal going through the area where I crashed. I don’t remember the area but, strangely, I could feel it.
Going south I made it through the crash area. I turned around in Troy and met a young woman named Kristy (sp?). She rode with me back to Piqua. Although she’s from Troy she had never been there (on her bike) and I showed her the trail which she hadn’t seen before.
We rode back to Troy and she went home as I went back to Piqua to Buffalo Wings and Rings for lunch. Paul was working a funeral and we would meet at 1:00 p.m.
At 1:00 we met in front of the library and rolled through town. We took Lockington Road to Lockington. As Paul turned on Kirkwood Road, I had him turn around so I could show him the Lockington I knew from 50 years ago.
After the very quick tour, we headed north towards Sidney. Not all the way, just some country roads which made for a nice tour of southern Shelby County.
Back to the restaurant where I parked. Paul showed me the display on the pole which honors his family that served in the military. We had a good ride and it was nice to meet and thank the man for which I had no memory. (I heard a voice but did not remember him – or the EMTs.)