Day 20. 1,273 Miles. Back to Reality

On both a micro and a macro level, the best way I’ve found to knock out a hefty mileage all day every day is to break the effort down into mentality-digestible chunks. In my case the breaking down telescopes at almost every moment. For instance, “OK, 45 miles is halfway” or “35 miles before noon is the lunch goal” is what I’ll tell myself right before starting the day. By 4pm I’m saying something like: “ok, 4 miles is 20% of the last 20 miles to go” and eventually it’s: “just 3 more miles”. The goalposts keep moving into increasingly smaller metrics so that I keep moving as my energy depletes. It’s effective, but only on days where everything else goes as planned. The double dime day would not be one of those days.

I hit the road early, and it’s a beautifully foggy morning. No sun to speak of, but the temperature is just right and there’s no rain. From the jump, this day would be a change from the last few, as the paved bike trails are and I’m back in the reality of rural road with hills and using my gears. I kinda missed the hills, until I get a couple that really kick my ass. The trail picks up again and gives way again. Small, unconnected sections come and go, back and forth, so lots more navigating to do.

Finally, it was apparently time to get my feet wet. Literally. I purposely divert off a section bike trail as I’m trying to save miles on a section going into Massillon that simply winds back on itself before heading north.

Butt.

When I attempt to reconnect with the trail 10 miles later, I’m greeted with a “road closed due to high water” sign. You know, the kind i like to ignore.

Butt.

I go beyond it and sure enough the entire road is flooded out. Is it only a couple inches deep? I slowly cruise in and within two feet the water is 8″ deep and and my front bags and feet and ankles are completely underwater!I turn back and detour up a highway with a decent shoulder. Taking the first exit, I cruise down highway 93 into Canal-Fulton.

Butt.

Half their fucking town is underwater! A sign says highway 93 is closed 4 miles up, a police officer confirms that “my luck may have run out” and an older gentleman with an ice cream works out an elaborate yet lengthy detour route with me. It’s adding some serious hilly miles but might be may only way forward.

I get to the point of the road closure on 93. It’s the normal road closed sign, though 200 feet behind that I can see it’s an entire wall of barricades across the street. Cars are detouring southwest (the exact opposite direction I wanna be going), a motorcycle tries to squeeze through but turns back. It’s not looking good. I sneak up but don’t wanna go down the hill the the point of the barricades so I turn to head back, when a local motorist pulls up and tells me “you should be able to get through”. He explains there’s no water, the road just got washed out but there is still enough left for my bike. He’s right! I squeeze around the barriers, sidestop the 10 foot hole that has developed and push on, the sun now out and beating down on me.

A couple miles north and I reconnect with the Towpath trail south of Akron, high ground compared to the towns below. It winds and turns and drops me right into downtown Akron, which is incredibly quiet. I jump on one last trail for the day and head toward Kent, my third and final detour awaiting me. Yet another flooded out trail, so I have to backtrack a bit and negotiate all of the rush hour traffic – fun! No need for the moving goalposts technique today, I’m so busy just rerouting some way and some how, that I don’t need much motivation behind that. I meet Doug and Jena, a super cool couple of bike touring musicians who live on the outskirts of town. They’re letting me stay in their guest bedroom and Doug asks if I’d wanna go out for dinner with a bunch of friends (some also bicyclists) he regularly meets up. He tells me there no wrong answer. I agree to join, I make some new friends and I feast on a giant beef short rib that in retrospect, I should have taken a photo of to demonstrate how massive this thing is – or was! Needless to say, food coma sets in hard after that and once back at Doug and Jena’s, I sleep like I’m dead.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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