Thursday, I arrived in Rushville, tired, but feeling like, maybe I could ride a little farther. Alas, my reservations required that I cancel with 24 hours notice, so with some relief, I headed for the hotel.
Friday started with cloudy skies, but no apparent rain in sight. Another inch and a half of rain had fallen the night before. That proved to be a blessing.
I received advice that I ought to ride on Route 40 to Indy. It is four lanes with a good shoulder. That sounded inviting. However, I hate the constant noise of traffic and I figured that if it was four lanes, there was a reason it was so wide. So instead, I ignored the sobering news that a cyclist had been killed on Route 52 last week and opted to stick with my original plan and ride U.S. Route 52 into Indy. It was a good decision. Traffic was light, the shoulder was smooth and fairly wide. The bonus, as it turned out, was that the hard rains the last two nights had thoroughly cleaned the berm. There was hardly a rock or bit of debris to be found.
The ride was a dream compared to Day One. Whereas I was happy to hit 15-16 MPH the first day, even on the flats, today I cruised along against a mild headwind at 17-19 MPH. No flats, no near misses, no worries man. I easily found the rendezvous location with Victor and was overjoyed to find it included a Starbucks near the corner. I was in heaven.
Victor and I chatted for about an hour, including a patch of his rear tire, then off we went to the ceremony. After a small failure of Victor's cart connection, we arrived at the ceremony. A large group was assembled. It included the Planning czar for the Indianapolis parks, the Greenway development team, an assortment of riders, three TV stations and at least one newspaper reporter. The event was a combination news conference announcing the release of a new map of the trail system in the county and the adjoining counties and acknowledgment of NBG and its efforts to develop trails across the country. Victor received the proclamation and said a few fine words in support of NBG and its efforts. I was ignored. Which was just fine!
We then headed off northbound on the Monon trail. Victor and I were left behind by the speedier bike riders, so we cruised up the trail on our own and found a local cafe to enjoy some food and conversation. After a wonderful chat, we said our goodbyes and wished each other well. I sprinted off to meet my wife out by the interstate and Victor began his journey to Chicago to spend time with his extended family. We hope to meet up next week as I will be visiting Chicago for a quick visit and a ballgame.
I thoroughly enjoyed my two rides. Although Thursday's ride was a challenge, starting off with traffic and rain and wet pavement, moving into hills and finishing with a gradual uphill climb against headwinds. I still found it oddly enjoyable. While I longed for the pace and the safety of a bike path, the constant change of scenery, the interaction with cars and trucks and a few animals, makes the ride go by quickly.
If I am lucky enough to participate again next year, I plan to find a scenic ride that will satisfy my desire to take more photos and give me reason to take a slower pace along the way.
By the way, bike and equipment weighed in at 50 pounds, plus the fluids and food I carried. I usually train at less than half that weight.
I am so fortunate to have a supportive family and I thank them for their assistance in making this possible.
Take care and thank you NBG for your support and all that you do to make the dream of a cross country, even cross city or cross state trails a reality.
I awoke at 4:00 AM to a loud clap of thunder. Followed, almost immediately by the sound of my middle daughter coughing and gagging. Yep, she had a stomach virus. I laid in bed for an hour listening to the storm and my daughter, finally dropped off to sleep for about a half hour, then got up at 5:30 to prepare for the ride. It was still storming.
A quick check of the weather radar gave the welcome news that the storm would pass by 6:30, and so it did.
At 6:30 I shoved off, anxious to test the route I had planned. After 14 rather harrowing miles of city traffic, even at that early hour, I finally entered a more serene setting.
As I am sure Victor will report, it is no piece of cake to escape Cincinnati and find your way to Route 52. Since he left from downtown, he took a different route for the first 20 miles or so. My route was fairly hilly with some challenging climbs. They didn't stop for about 50 miles. When they finally ended, I was challenged by a gusting headwind. Averaging only 15 MPH on the flats, against the wind, I found myself wishing for the level and largely protected route of the Little Miami Scenic Trail. Riding the roads out of southern Ohio was a real challenge.
All went well until about 5 miles west of Metamora. At that point I suffered a flat in the midst of a good climb (my last unbeknownst to me). I had to turn around and head for the bottom to find room to fix the flat. After patching, then ruining that tire, I finally got the repairs complete and re-climbed the hill. From there it was a rolling sea of small hills, that seemed much shorter going down than up.
I arrived in Rushville, my intended destination at 2:00 PM, (1:00PM local time). I came here to the library to find out if there was another small town between here and Indy where I might sleep over, but alas, nothing for 30 miles. The sign says it is another 50 to Indy, so I will have to get up early to make the 11:00 AM ceremony.
I'm off now to find a bike shop, get a shower, eat, and rest. I have a few calls to make, then I plan to just enjoy Rushville.