Harrisburg to Jefferson Ohio
This morning I got up with the idea that I wanted to get in about 50 miles or so. Where, I thought, can I go to see something new.
Well, that’s a problem. Years ago I used to work for a human resource company. I had clients all over the state. It’s nearly impossible for me to get lost in Ohio. I’ve been in every single county, on every major road, on every interstate, and in every major city, and been through a ton of small towns.
Back in 2008, I rode across the state of Iowa with RAGBRAI. 7 days. 471 miles. West to east across the whole state. I loved it! It was my first big group ride. I was in a state that I had been in before (eh, I’ve been in every state except Alaska), but while in Iowa I didn’t spent a lot of time looking around. RAGBRAI allowed me and 17,000 of my closest friends to ride through little towns, enjoy the local cuisine (remind me to tell you about “neck wraps”), and just enjoy the pure joy of bicycle riding.
In 2009 I rode across Ohio with the XOBA group. Blech. Part of the problem was the group dynamics. Instead of 17,000 riders there were only 250. While on RAGBRAI you didn’t have to pay a lot of attention to road markings because there were always a few zillion people in front of you. Just follow the masses of asses. But with XOBA, there’d be times I’d never see another rider until the end of the day.
But I think what was worse for me in XOBA was . . . I’d been everywhere the ride went. I wasn’t seeing anything new. That was a big attractor for the IOWA ride. All of the places were places I’d never been before.
This morning I had a bad case of, “Yeah? What else ya got?”
I looked over the maps. I could take US 62 / Ohio 3 to the south. The wind was coming out of the WSW, so I’d be riding against it on the way day, and with it on the way back. That appealed to me. I’d driven that road several times, but I’d never ridden a bike that way. SOLD!
The only problem was it was a 20 to 25 mile ride to get to the spot I wanted to start riding. Well, hell, if I ride to that spot, it’ll be time to turn around and come home. That’s not going to work.
Fortunately, the bank and I own this magnificent machine that will tote you, four or five friends, and a whole mess of luggage, to the destination of your choice. I recalled that I used it just a couple of days ago to get to London. By George, I could use it again! I could schlep my fat ass and my bicycle down to Harrisburg to start my little ride.
That’s exactly what I did. Found a good place to park, then off I went.
At one point I passed this sign:
Since it was right by a bridge, I figured pretty soon I’d be looking at the bridges of Madison County. I’d keep my eye peeled for any hot sexually frustrated farmer wives who might believe I look like Clint Eastwood. (Yes, Dexter would have to get along with their seeing eye dawgs.)
There’s a lot of farm land down yonder way. There appears to be only two crops: beans and corn. I’m in no way a farmer, but I guess if you’re going to grow cash crops you can hardly go wrong with beans and corn.
US 62 is a major road and there was a lot of traffic — but there is a fine breakdown lane the entire way. Cars and trucks still moved over into the opposing lane a lot to keep from getting close to the crazy guy on a bicycle.
25 miles or so after I left I got to the town of Washington Court House. (Is that not the dumbest name for a town?) Outside of WCH there is a series of outlet malls. I figured another five miles or so to get there. I was feeling pretty good. Figured I could extend the ride to 60 miles instead of 50. Why not go there and eat lunch.
But, of course, nothing’s ever quite that simple. You see, the only way I’d ever gone from WCH to Jeffersonville (where the outlet mall is) is by car. Straight out US 35 and you’re there. But you’re not allowed to have a bicycle on 35.
It didn’t stop me, though. I figured if I cop pulled me over, I’d plead ignorance. “No, officer, I didn’t see the sign prohibiting bicycles. I’ll get off at the next exit.”
Long story short, I took 35 for a few miles, then really didn’t want to compete with trucks zipping along at 65 to 75 miles per hour. Took an exit which dumped me off onto a secondary road. It also took me about five miles further out of my way to get to the outlet mall. So now I was looking at a 70 mile day.
Well. Ok. What else did I have to do?
It was about 3:30 when I finished lunch at Chipotle. Even at a headwinded 12 miles per hour, it’d only take me 3 hours to get back to the car. I didn’t want to go back the way I came, though. If the goal was seeing new places / new routes, I wanted to go back a different way. So I consulted my phone’s mapping app. Off I went.
Except I missed a turn somewhere. I didn’t want to back track. Time to go a different way. Again, long story short, this zigging and zagging necessary after I missed the turn cost me yet another 10 miles.
I might have mentioned there was a lot of corn and beans. And graveyards, too. After looking at beans, corn, and graves all day long, while sitting at a Sunoco I was quite ready for a change of scenery:
Thank you, God, for creating smokin’ hot women. And for giving me a lifetime supply of testosterone to appreciate ’em.
The last mile of the ride was the most pleasant. Mainly because it was the worst first mile. The first mile was uphill against the wind. Which made the last mile down hill with the wind at my back. Thus the “fastest speed” of 28.04 MPH was achieved coming back to the car.
Finished Cycle: Jul 16, 2012 7:02:42 PM
Google Maps URL: http://maps.google.com/?q=http://share.abvio.com/fc28/825e/4e37/b4c1/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20120716-1103.kml
Ride Time: 6:03:34
Distance: 78.69 miles
Average: 12.99 mph
Fastest Speed: 28.04 mph
Ascent: 956 feet
Descent: 1109 feet
With those 6151 calories I bought a big ass Pizza Hut pizza tonight.