Out Cold


I opened my eyes. I was slow to wake and remember seeing a river. Strange. Where was I?

After at least six surgeries in the last 15 years plus another 2-3 “procedures,” I was used to waking up from anesthesia. There’s a bit of grogginess followed by a desire to go back to sleep. Each time I knew I was in a hospital and would be going home in one or two hours. I felt like I was coming out of anesthesia.

The left side of my body hurt. My leg was bleeding from road rash. My left shoulder hurt. I thought I may have broken my collarbone. But mostly, I wanted to go back to sleep.

The high bridge in Piqua

I heard a voice. I don’t remember a face with the voice and the only words I recall were “I’ve called 911 and I’ve answered that question seven times now.“*

I had no clue where I was or what I was doing. This was much different than 15 minutes earlier.

Click to listen to the 911 call that was made

Somehow an ambulance made its way onto the trail and paramedics were talking with me. I don’t remember any of the conversations with one exception. I asked where I was. The response was “Ohio.”

Paramedics at the trail head

What? How was I in Ohio? Or why? I had no clue why I was here. My memory from earlier in the day was gone. I had my bike. I was wearing cycling clothes and it was obvious that I was on a bike ride but where and why?

A park ranger arrived in a pickup truck. At first, I didn’t know where I was so I certainly didn’t know how I got there and where I was parked. Or if I was parked. But my memory slowly was coming back and they asked me if I was parked at the trailhead about a mile south of here. They had seen my car and I told them I was parked there. The paramedics wanted me to jump in the ambulance but I just wanted to go back to my car. I did not try to ride my bike. They put it in the back of the truck and the only act of clarity I had was to turn off the Garmin so it did not record more miles than I actually earned. I rode with the ranger.

Some of my memory was coming back to me. We traveled almost one mile when we came to a trailhead which is where I had parked. The ranger asked me if that was my car and I told him it was.

The paramedics stopped and checked me one more time. I was parked right across from the highway from a hospital. They encouraged me to go to the E.R. to get cleaned up. I was pretty bloodied and my shoulder hurt, reminiscent of my broken collarbone five years ago.

The parking lot at the hospital was crowded. I saw one empty space up front for handicapped parking. I took it. I had a handicapped parking placard still in effect from my knee replacement surgery and on this day I needed to be close. I was still in a fog and forgot to hang the placard but wasn’t ticketed.

I was wearing cycling shoes. My cycling jersey was ripped. They asked me if I had been biking. And that was sort of the highlight of the exam. They cleaned my leg wounds (mostly) and X-rayed my shoulder (negative). The nurse told me she was going to take my blood pressure again. I said to her “again, but you haven’t taken it yet.” She responded, “Don’t you remember? I took it when you first came in here about 30 minutes ago.”

Have I been biking?

Despite this exchange, this was not enough to suggest they should examine me for a head injury. And while it’s possible they did a full exam on my head which I don’t remember, there was nothing on the discharge paperwork stating they had checked me for a concussion. Not only don’t I remember them ever checking me for a head injury, the discharge paperwork did not list it either.

I would not have been happy but they should not have discharged me and let me drive. But I left and went back to the trail. I was going to ride some more (this was the primary indication I had a head injury). I went to get on the bike and saw the rear derailleur was messed up. The hanger was broken. I could not ride.

Broken hanger

Slowly my memory started coming back. It was a cool and cloudy day. It looked like it might rain at any moment. And I wanted to ride near Piqua.

The Sherry family in front of the Lockington church/parsonage in 1966. L-R: Brenda, Bernie, Naomi (holding Betsy), Brad, Rev. Harry, Barry

This was to be a pre-ride before the Ride of Silence in Dayton at 7:00 p.m. I had parked in Troy at a trailhead of the Great Miami River Trail and ridden north to Piqua. There was some mud on the trail and I passed a worker sweeping and I thought he was spreading the mud around.

Worker spreading the mud around on the trail

I chose to ride this morning’s route as my own journey back in time. We had moved to the small village of Lockington in 1964 when I was almost nine years old and lived here for three years. The small parsonage is now an extension of the church.

Lockington Kirkwood Bridge

From Piqua, I rode to the Kirkwood bridge which was a covered bridge when I lived here. As a kid, I could ride my bike all over and this one was tough because in an otherwise pancake-flat topography, there was an actual hill to ride down from Lockington and then back up. The bridge burned in 1989 and was replaced with just a bridge. Looks like a roadway.

Kirkwood Bridge today

As a kid, I rode my bike to deliver newspapers (Piqua Daily Call – I made 2 cents per paper), to the Piqua Country Club to golf, and to Piqua to Echo Hills Golf Club where a youth season pass cost $5 for the year. No helmets and I don’t remember ever carrying water.

The former parsonage in Lockington, Ohio

We would use our bikes to rid litter off the roads. A soda (or pop) bottle was made of glass and carried a 2-cent deposit. These were like gold to kids. Find five, and it wasn’t that hard, and we would take them to Forsythe’s Frozen Locker in Lockington. We could trade five of them in for a cold Mountain Dew (10 cents) that we would drink there. A bonus would be to buy a frozen Zero candy bar for another five cents. While history will tell us the 1960s were a turbulent time for a kid growing up, actually they were pretty good.

Forsythe’s Frozen Locker, Lockington, Ohio (closed)

It was a nice trip back in time. I found myself a bit fearful on some of the roads with the cars going by too close for comfort. And I think back to 50 years earlier when I was a kid. I rode on these roads and either those drivers were much more careful than today’s drivers, or probably, as a kid, I just did not perceive the risk of riding my bike on a highway – as a 12-year-old.

911 Call

Nuclear Reactor, Piqua, Ohio

Piqua is such a beautiful city and I rode through it twice. The trail passes the nuclear reactor which made Piqua the first nuclear-powered city in the U.S.

Lockington Locks

I made my way south on the trail and remember crossing the Great Miami River where four people were walking and taking up the entire width of the trail. I rang a bell and politely announced “passing” and thought it was a bit strange that three moved to the right and one moved to the left. I went right through them. And my memory ended right there.

Bridge over the Great Miami River

What happened next will remain a mystery. I have no memory of being on the train south of the bridge. I would wake up and see the river and hear a voice.

I would later compare the time stamp on my Garmin file with the timestamp of the 911 call and determined I was unconscious on the trail for six minutes. A retired Piqua cop, Paul Sullenberger, happened to be riding by and saw me. It was his voice I remember hearing.

Library, Piqua, O.

I don’t recall how the ambulance(s) got there. Nor do I remember talking to the paramedics. But I did. I don’t remember the 911 call yet I can be heard talking on it. I must have undergone some type of exam – and passed. I was told later that I knew the date and my name. I don’t remember having any conversation.

After 90 minutes the E.R I was discharged. I was still in a fog. A major fog. I just hoped to make it to Springfield, Ohio, where I had pre-paid for a room. I did. I was still sleepy but knew with a head injury that sleep wasn’t good. I stayed up as late as I could and went to sleep fearful that I might not wake up.

*The question was “Did you see me go down?” (He hadn’t)

Loveland and Lebanon

May 15, 2018


I came to Ohio to ride the Little Miami Scenic Trail and to catch up with my friend, Bob. I parked in the beautiful little town of Loveland where we would meet and ride north.

Little Miami Scenic Trail in Loveland

Even before 9:00 a.m., it was a balmy 79º as we rolled out of Loveland. Our destination was initially was Morrow where we would find lunch.

Loveland, Ohio

We had ridden less than eight miles when we came to a spur. I saw the trail with the sign towards Lebanon. Although we stayed on the LMST for another 400 meters, I raised the possibility of following that trail.

Little Miami Scenic Trail, Loveland

We turned around and followed this trail for one mile before the trail ended and became signed bike path. At first, we followed Ohio Rte. 15 north before deciding that this wasn’t going to be the most bike-friendly route to Lebanon. We turned around and followed the bike route signs we initially missed (or ignored).


Surprisingly, we had a hill to climb. Yes, a hill. Although Ohio is generally flat, and the LMST is definitely flat, the closer you are to Cincinnati the hillier the terrain becomes.

Bob riding through downtown Lebanon

We got over the hill but as we were descending to Lebanon, Bob had a flat. And no repair kit. I had a spare tube and we were able to repair his tire and keep going.


Lebanon is a pretty town. IMHO, almost all these Ohio towns are beautiful. The older the houses the wider the streets and the prettier the town.


We found a nice place to eat at the Cherry Street Cafe. With some outdoor seating it was the perfect place to eat, nestled in near the train museum.

Cherry Street Cafe, Lebanon

We were on the other side of the hill from the LMST and with full stomachs had to ride back up over the hill from where we came. Of course, we got to enjoy a nice descent back to the spur trail then over to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.


Going back we remarked how many squirrels we saw. Shortly after that observation a squirrel darted out and just missed my wheels. Unfortunately, there was a thump as Bob hit it. Bob was lucky he did not go down. The squirrel was not so lucky.

Crossing the Little Miami River on the spur trail to Lebanon

The trail is lovely. Loveland is beautiful. I would love to come back someday and ride the entire trail.

Barry and Bob Berberich, Loveland, Ohio

The Real Test


Two days ago was the first test of my rebuilt knee over Henrietta Mountain Road. Although that was a steep climb, it lasted just two miles. Today would be the real test.

I parked at Logan Valley Mall and headed up 58th Street to begin my climb up to and past Horseshoe Curve. It was windy with a westerly wind coming over the mountain and thus would be in my face as I climbed. It was okay though as it was great to be outside on a bike.

I began the climb with a diversion to Leopald Park to use their outhouse. Don’t want to climb with a full bladder.

Once back on the road I could see one train above me, slowly working its way down the mountain. As Reservoir One, I could see the acid mine runoff water in its own channel keeping it out of the good water. Someday I will have to see where that acid water goes.

I stopped briefly at the Horseshoe Curve site, just long enough for a photo op. Then it was through the 200 foot tunnel where the climb up Glenwhite Road really starts. It was cloudy and there was some moisture on the road from an earlier rain but I avoided any rain that was in the area.

The channel diverts acid mine drainage past the reservoirs

As I climbed it dawned on me that if I were to describe this road to a stranger I would tell them when they look ahead and see where the road kicks up and they think that’s the hard part – it isn’t. Oh no, it isn’t. And thus I decided to do something different today. Not look up.

I saw where the road turned and started to kick up. I looked down. I stared at my front tire and bike computer, never looking up at the road ahead. Of course, I have almost memorized this road having ridden it 3-4 times each year since 2009.

This road holds a special place in my heart. Not only does it like to kick my butt, but when I was diagnosed with cancer nine years ago, this was my happy place. This was the one place I could ride and not think about the dreaded disease.

I began the climb. Head down. My legs knew I was climbing. My heart knew I was climbing. And my GPS knew. I could see the grade go from 12% to 14% to 18% to 20%. Oh yea, I was on the wall.

Every time I climb this I state that I forget how hard it was. Today was not the case. It was hard. Damn hard. But not quitting time hard. And I think it really helped not looking up at all.

When the grade came back down to 12% I decided I could look. I knew I was near the summit and I had about 100 meters to go. Although even at the top it’s another mile to the real summit.

I rode the 2.5 miles across the ridge through Tunnel Hill and then descended Sugar Run Road. It was windy, although it felt like a bit of a crosswind. I hit 46 mph, without trying, on the descent. Made it back to the car at the Mall – it was locked this time.

It was a great day on the bike. Any day one can get up Horseshoe Curve is a good day. My knee gave me no problems other than some fluid/swelling. But no pain. This was the real test and my knee passed.

A Test of the Knee


It’s hard to believe that it has been 12 weeks since my knee replacement surgery. I don’t think my knee is where it should be but I will withhold judgment until my next doctor’s appointment.

Since surgery, I have ridden less than 200 miles in total. In many years I am over 1,000 miles and sometimes over 2,000 by this time. But I am not completely “without legs.” I have been riding a stationary bike almost every day, often for up to an hour at a time.

This road. Henrietta Mountain Road. I found it only because some Altoona locals told me about it a few years ago. And I rode it last year. It compared to some of the toughest two-mile climbs I have done.

Last year I struggled. I even thought about stopping on the climb. Or turning back. But this year I seemed at peace with it.

I drove to Saxton and looked for a place to park. I found one at the intersection of Pa. 26 and 913. The car was off the road but otherwise out in the open. I pedaled to the foot of the climb. Just after starting and no more than one-half mile in, I wondered if I had locked the car.  I had left my car keys (I had the clicker), wallet, and laptop computer all in the car and available to anyone if it wasn’t locked.

Although I didn’t remember locking it, of course, I always lock it. I decided it would be foolish to go back to the car. There are somethings that you do automatically and locking your car is one of them, right?

The lower section of the climb starts at 6-8% then gets tougher. Soon the grades were 12% and some reached the 20s. I stayed seated, mostly, but occasionally got out of the saddle. It was hot (87°). For the two-mile climb, only six cars had to pass me. The road is lightly traveled.

At times, I could feel the knee clicking. I could hear the rhythm of the knee. But it didn’t hurt so I pushed on.

The road is steep. Period. I didn’t “paperboy” but I crept. I didn’t stop. I just kept the momentum going.

I did not review the route. The first/last time I turned around at the top. Today I went over the top. I expected to level off and come into Rt. 164 at the top of the mountain, and have a great ride back down. Oh boy, was I wrong.

It was a nice descent into a valley although I did not lose all the elevation I had climbed. It just felt like it. I followed Henrietta Mountain Road to the end, catching two Amish girls with a horse and wagon.

I came to Rt. 164. Instead of being at the top of the mountain, I was at the bottom. And here the road is high-speed, with a 55 mph speed limit. There were guard rails on both sides and no shoulder. And uphill of course because I had to cross back over the mountain. I regretted this route.

But I survived, with a note not to ride this way again. On the descent, I pedaled until I ran out of gears. I hit 49 mph. I so wanted 50 but with a 50 tooth front cassette, and a swollen knee, I just couldn’t find it today.

Back to the car but fully satisfied. I opened the car and found it was unlocked. Sick feeling. But checked. Keys there. Wallet there. Laptop computer there. The car was undisturbed. Whew! Dumb by me.

In the evening the legs felt sore. Like they had a workout. It’s been a long time since I was able to push myself on a climb like that. So glad I did. And looking at the map there may be another way back if I do this one again.