Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #11

Small town OHIO,

Yesterday and today have been spent riding through the charming small Ohio towns of Medina, Peninsula, Hudson, Burton and on into Austinburg.
All with lovely town squares and beautiful countryside in between the towns. I am the only Ohioan so this is all new to everyone else and they are quite taken with Northern Ohio. The terrain has been slightly hilly, flattening out the second half of today. We rode through grape growing areas (Ashtabula county is the largest grape growing region in the State) and plenty of Amish farms. The weather today was delightful, but yesterday was another story. We felt every bit of the 93 degrees, it made for difficult (if not dangerous riding). The ride took much longer than normal, with all of the frequent stops to rest and hydrate.

One of of our stops yesterday was in Peninsula, had lunch at the Winking Lizard and of course we all made a visit to Century Cycles which is my bike shop in Rocky River. We all swarmed in, bought alot of stuff and filled in the staff on our ride. The staff was very gracious and helpful, making a wonderful impression on the riders. Thanks Century Cycles! Missed you Scott, have fun with GOBA.

We stayed in Streetsboro last night, which is where my dad and stepmom live, so they picked me up and took me out to dinner. And today a friend of mine, Jim, met me in Burton and rode part of the route with me. A wonderful perk of riding so close to home has been being able to see friends and family. Fortunately for me, this breaks up the routine which after five weeks needs some breaking up. And this past Sunday, Jay and Jessica picked me up in Oberlin and we drove back down to Columbus for The Ohio State University Commencement Ceremony. It was quite a spectacle, 8000 graduates. I was amazed at how efficiently it was orchestrated. So for the last time, we watched Nick walk up and shake the President of the University's hand (Gee), receive his diploma and walk out of the Horseshoe. Closing the book on 8 years of education and a hell of alot of fun at OSU! Nick has scheduled his first week of vacation from his first job, for the week of the OSU/MICHIGAN game which will be played in Columbus this year. We will all be there, it never ends!!

Finished reading FOLLOW THE RIVER by Thom, an amazing story that takes place in the Ohio River valley. Also have read on the trip, THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy, which I couldn't put down, caution: it is a very dark novel. Also read BLACKBIRD HOUSE, by Alice Hoffman, a hauntingly beautiful book. I highly recommend all three.

So this is our last night in Ohio, and I have felt a sense of ownership while riding through our State. I look forward to being back here next week when the ride is over. Heading for Erie, PA tomorrow and while en route we will ride along beautiful Lake Erie. I will think of my sailing pals as you begin our race season tomorrow on this very same Lake. Calm seas and Fair winds!!!!!

Over and out......

"Never use your face as a brake pad."
---Jake Watson (pro mountain bike racer)


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

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