The last day simply started out bad.  Rough night sleeping because of the rain most of the night.  Then at 3:00 am we heard BRAN staff on intercom telling us to quickly get into the municipal auditorium next to the city park.  60-80 mph winds were coming.  So, hundreds of us are packed in this small auditorium.   BRAN staff updated us on the weather and when it was over wished us well on finding our tents (oh, that was encouraging).  Tried to get back to sleep, I was so tired, but it did not happen.  Packed up everything in the rain and headed over for breakfast in the park.  Always someone I know at meal times, so great to actually talk to people after 8-12 hours on a bike by myself.  Had eggs, sausage, pastry, juice for $5.00.

Just one of the many flooded creeks we saw today

Started my riding at 7:00 in the rain.  Too warm and humid to wear rain pants, but did wear a rain jacket.  Rained for an hour and stung my legs like needles.  That hour of rain was the worst of my riding every and had a SAG vehicle come by I would have thrown in the towel for the day.  Rain stopped and I kept going, but encountered a front flat tire, my first all week, at about 12 miles. Aired it up and all seemed well.  Strange weather and it kept changing directions.  Just when I would get an encouraging tailwind it would change and I would be fighting a headwind which just wore me out.  My leg muscles have been sore all week but today they were really complaining.

Knowing we had to pick up our luggage by 1:00 and my 16 year old son would be waiting for me then at the end point, I was realizing I was not going to make it by that time.  So, at the next SAG stop I jumped on the truck and was able to skip 10 miles of the trip.  Good thing as just a few miles later that front tire went flat again and I decided it was time to replace the tube rather than air up the tire again.

While I was changing the tire the oldest rider on the trip, Roger, age 86, stopped for a break and we chatted.  I told him he really encouraged me to continue each day as I was only in my 50’s and if he could do it, I should be able to.  He laughed and said, “Oh, the 50’s are nothing.  I learned how to do wind surfing when I was 56”.

Second flat of the day - time to change that tube!

The hills were the worst today with a grade of 6% sometimes and I was just too worn out to manage a few of them.  Outside of Ceresco I had my first fall on a the steepest hill.  I decided I needed walk the bike but could not get my feet out of the pedals (they clip on) fast enough and fell over into the gravel and mud.  No blood – back in the saddle and off I go.

About 5 miles later, walking my bike up another hill I realize my left bike sandal (new before trip) is broken and rear ankle strap about to rip off.  What else can go wrong?  Well, about 15 miles out of Ashland, our end point, it gets very hot and humid and I run out of water.  I’m done.  I’m very tired, worn out, hot, thirsty and late.  I pull off under the shade of a farmers tree and wait for the SAG.  Nearly fell asleep on the way in.  Took a three hour nap when I got home.

  • Bob McMaster:

    WOW!! You sure had a rough last day!! I’m so sorry to hear about that! Not to make you feel bad, but I rode out of town on my recumbent at 5:30 a.m. and had tail winds most of the morning, with the wind switching directions the way it did. HOWEVER, another rider and I mis-took the route at Valparaiso and headed north instead of east. By the time we’d negotiated several hills we hit milled surfaces in the rain! Too late to turn back, we both continued north to hiway 92 on rough terrain. He was a better biker than me, so he went on to Wahoo and back south to Ceresco. I stopped at Weston and caught a ride with a farmer who drive me to Ceresco. That was wonderful! Got to the air & space museum at 11:00 a.m., tired but relieved. I, too, took a nap that afternoon (2 hrs).

  • Nancy Walker:

    I think that all in all, the trip was successful in that you fulfilled your pledge to do it. You will not remember the trials and tribulations, but the commoradarie of fellow sports men and women, The sense of accomplishment will always be yours, and you can tuck it away for sharing on a rainy day when we’re 90!

  • Remember seeing you on the ride, Ron! ;D Great job on finishing, no matter how you ended up getting there. I hear you about the clips… Lisa and I both had harrowing times with them and ended up riding without clips….!!

    The wind, rain and hills certainly made the ride extremely challenging and I can not imagine doing all those hills on a recumbent… I know I could not have completed it that way! Good for you…!! See you next year??! 😀

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