Sunday, August 12, 2007

Days 36,37, & 38--From Hoosiers to Buckeyes--and a Scare

We left Valparaiso for Kendallville early on Day 36 (Monday, July 30), our last full day in Indiana. This was a century ride and then some--flat, but very long. The scenery consisted of more corn and soybeans, with an occasional dairy cow herd to spice things up.

One thing that was very clear was that the citizens of Indiana wanted no part of the previously-reported merger of the states of Illinois and Indiana into a combined state of "Illiana." There appears to be a huge corn roots movement in Indiana to block the impending union of the two states. Hundreds of yard signs (pictured) proclaiming opposition to Illiana dotted the countryside. "We Hoosiers are not going to stand for this--it's a downright stupid way to solve people's problems with trying pronounce Illinoise (sic)," exclaimed Seymore Buttonwillow from nearby Meathook, IN. Judging from the passionate Hoosier forces against, I wouldn't put my money on the merger happening any time soon...and I've learned firsthand to never underestimate the power of a Hoosier once they have set their minds on something.

Great hospititality continued as Larry (pictured), a participant in the 1999 Big Ride Across America, put out a fantastic food stop along the day's route in his hometown of LaPorte, IN. [NOTE: While mentioning the wonderful hospitality and food in Minnesota last week, I neglected to mention the incredible dinner and desserts provided in Madison, WI by fellow rider Wisconsin Bob' s family and friends and the Wisconsin branch of Arizona Dan's family--many thanks to all! ]

Day 36 was a pleasant, long, humid scorcher. We concluded the day's 115 mile ride at our camp outside Kendallville, IN.

On Day 37, we entered the state of Ohio (pictured).The morning did not start well. On an early (and rare) hill, I downshifted into a lower gear halfway up. My chain slipped off and got jammed between the chainring and frame, causing the crank to suddenly cease turning. I had no time to uncleat my shoe and promptly fell over on my right side. Fortunately, there were no cars or bikes behing me. I did a quick assessment and saw that I had a couple of scrapes on my right knee. I put the chain back on, wiped off my minor abrasions and continued thinking about how easily I got off with that one. By the end the day's 73 mile ride to Napoleon, OH, I could barely bend my knee. I iced it down to reduce the swelling and tried not to think about the potential of having to stop riding. The next couple of days before the rest day would be touch and go.

Fortunately, the following day's ride (Day 38) between Napoleon and Sandusky, OH is the flattest day of the entire trip. I took it very slow and easy for the 90 mile ride and slogged through with lessened but continued stiffness. The true test would be the next day--from Sandusky to Burton, OH--with 60 miles of flats and about 35 mile of hills. I would then see if my knee was improving sufficiently to even think about taking on next week's very steep runs through the hills and mountains of Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

More to come,


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