I wake up and my body is talking to me. Telling me something. I’ve got twenty minutes to figure it out. I’ve never been more glad that there’s a toilet nearby because I really don’t wanna crap under this tree in the Medina canal park. We pack up and get out earlier than ever — nothing like the final miles to motivate.
Back on the trail. I’ve gone fully native. Shirtless from the start. Stinky and half naked at 10am. Home town hero banners of wherever town this now is dot my optics as we pass another port, Middleport. Geese have made their home on the trail for days. It’s their world and I’m just in it. There. Their. They’re the only goddamn creature on earth enjoying the Erie canalway trail more than I am. There is literally no room for both of us in this town, theses fuckers take up the entire right of way. I bet they’re fucking Canadians. Wild. Animals. For. Sure. First I ring my bell and herd them to one side or the other. Usually it’s more fun to send them toward the canal and watch some of them jump right into the water. After about a dozen of those situations, I now just ride straight through. Like right now. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I part flocks of geese on the Erie Canal like Moses parts the red fucking sea. Some waddle away. Some hiss. Some are sitting in the sunshine, so caught up in their own zen that they don’t see me till the last second. That goose scurries quickly, I had no clue they could move that fast.
With a “short” 40-45 mile day, we cruise along briskly, knocking out 18 of them through Gasport and into Lockport. The giant hill kicks our asses one last time as the crushed stone finally gives way to pavement once again. At the top of the climb we stop into a bomb ass coffee shop. I crush an oat milk latte and a massive cinnamon roll. Massive like a just under the size of small sovereign pacific island nation. Shit is calorically dense and I immediately go into food coma.
Our roll out toward Tonawanda is delayed as a group of the more speedier varietal of bike nerd friends shows up. Like carbon fiber 20-25 mph average speedier. I’ve recently hit 40+ mph on this same fully loaded steel frame war pony last winter back on my San Diego to Jacksonville ride. Whatevs. Anyhoo. The speedsters are continuing on — though two have had enough and decide to take the slow ride back to Buffalo with us! Yes, Christina and Lasse join us and we are now a fivesome, rolling like a minivan on the canal trail out of Lockport and into Tonawanda. Then down the rail trail into Buffalo! Aw yeah!
Just a few miles to home and Main Street Buffalo New York reminds me what a fucked up city and state I live in. The local government can’t even paint lines in the street anymore. Main Street is a 7 lane wide highway without so much as a bike lane and cars fly past me at no less than 50mph with no regard for the sanctity of my life. Kara, Christina and Lasse split off and we say our goodbyes. Damon and I continue downtown, finally rolling in at a trip total of 602 miles. Showers and a reacclimatization ensue, we kick it with friends and damn does my bed feel good at the end of the night.