I was hoping to ride on Friday with my friend, Laura Snyder, but that did not quite work out. When that opportunity passed she suggested Sunday morning could work. I took her up on it.
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).
We headed east on the trail towards Xenia which was only seven miles away. We sort of lost “the scent” of the trail at the train station. Or maybe we didn’t. I was thinking we would connect with the Little Miami Scenic Trail which runs north to Springfield. And I see now we could have.
Chris and Barry (Credit: Laura)
Chris and Laura were time-pressed. Although normally it would have been for church, Chris was leaving town for a week on business so we had to turn around and get back to the start.
Barry and Laura
After saying goodbye, I rode more, this time to the west. Entering Montgomery County the trail got narrower and it wasn’t as good as it was in Greene Co. The trail may have also been older but there was a marked difference.Xenia, Ohio
I followed the trail to Eastwood Metropark in Dayton. I think I picked up the Mad River Trail. I ended up at Wright Patterson Air Force Base Museum. This brought back some pleasant memories. We lived near here in the mid-60s. Money was very tight and family activities meant to find things that were free.
The Air Force Museum was free. The first time we went we followed the signs and were directed to Gate 35c. My dad saw that and thought he needed 35 cents. And I’m not sure he had it. But when he approached the sentry he waved us on, and Dad was probably not the first person who thought that.Air Force Museum
I smiled as I thought of that memory then turned around. I needed to get back on the road to Virginia.
Barry, Chris, and Laura selfie (Credit: Laura)As I was going through a parking lot in the Eastwood Metropark, a car backed out of a space never seeing me. A man walking a dog yelled to the driver, “there’s a bike behind you.” I swerved and did a U-turn. The driver sped off, and I’m still not sure he ever saw me. As I left the walker said, “that was close, wasn’t it?” I told him as far as drivers go, it really wasn’t that bad.Beavercreek Station
Maybe it was the company I had for the first half. Or perhaps the enjoyment of exploration. Or maybe the gorgeous weather. But it was very enjoyable and I hope to get back to the Dayton area to ride again.
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.
At Flap Jacks in Lebanon
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.
Alexis and Barry
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.
At the start
It was another 15 miles to Rest 1. I just sat in and was pretty much amazed that it seemed the entire ride stayed together. That wasn’t completely the case as a shorter route had broken off but we were a controlled group to Rest 1.
Cindi Hart with instructions to newbies – “Eat more bacon”
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.
Can one eat too much bacon? Yes, yes one can. Pierce loading up the bacon.
We rolled out of Rest 1 pretty much as a group. I sat further back and the yo-yo-ing got pretty bad, especially when turns were involved. It was constant accelerating to catch up after each turn. Eventually, perhaps halfway to Rest 2, I let my group go.
Now solo, I dropped back, got passed by a small group then two Spokes of Hope riders went by. Rena said “grab a wheel” and I did. In short order, we caught the small group. Then we started a true rotating pace line which was the best riding of the day. Rena and Tim Wozniak seemed to have organized the line and it was some of the best riding I did all year.
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.
Ken Hart assuring us we won’t get wet
Up ahead was a big dog and he (or she) did not want us on the road. It came at us in the opposite direction, misjudged our speed but then did a U-turn. He (or she) was fast. With people yelling I reached for my water bottle. I squirted him (or her) in the face and he (or she) backed off. I heard a woman say,’ “Wow, he just squirted him away.”
Rain pouring down
But then the rain came. It was gradual. At first, it was light and was a cooling rain. I thought we could ride like this all day. But then it was harder. Then thunder. Then lightning. We pulled into Rest 3 at MP 50 and the winds picked up. We helped move the pop up tents so they didn’t get destroyed or blown away.
Getting directions back to start (Pierce and Alexis)
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.
Cindi Hart with inspirational words
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.
Ken Hart welcoming riders
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.
Great Miami River Trail, Piqua
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.
Great Miami River Trail, Piqua
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.
The Atomic City, Piqua
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.
An area similar to where I was found
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.
Between Troy and Piqua, over the Great Miami River
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.
Paul Sullenberger riding through Piqua
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.
Paul Sullenberger, Barry Sherry
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.)