Why Me?

So, I rode 80 miles today- Cincy to Urbana Ohio. In my last 20 miles after lunch I rode through Springfield, where I was a little unnerved by a lack of what I would call, um, TRAIL SIGNAGE! I really hadn’t a clue for about 5 miles if I was going the right way. Fortunately I crossed paths with a family making adjustments to their child trailer at an intersection.
     “You know where YOU are, right?” I asked.
     “Sure do” the dad said.
     “Does this trail lead to the Simon Kenton trail?” I asked.
     “Sure does” the dad said,
and I sped ahead, with a “thank you.” I was already behind on my expected time, as downtown Springfield was a bit confusing and took some time to navigate all the street crossings. So, I kept looking for anything that seemed like what I remembered from the website- a rustic railroad bridge, a cool stream, but I also kept going. After about 8 miles of trail unaccounted for by any means I could recall, I came to a sign – “SKT Mile .5.” Crap! I had at least 9 more miles to go. I thought I was closer. The wind was pressing on me as the trail led through an open stretch, set between two highways a half mile apart. I was becoming frustrated and tired. “Oh Come On!” I muttered. No Urbana in sight!
     I pressed on. It got woodsy again, with a break from the wind. The next clearing held promise of colors and activity I could see in the distance. But it was merely a farm road crossing with a couple of cars parked on the side of the trail. I saw “SKT Mile 4” and just about yelled at the sign! Why are these miles passing so slowly!??! I was in the final stretch of a long day, at 90 degrees! Another road….with a weird tunnel…. “wait a minute- there’s a water tower…..what’s that say?? URBANA!!! YES!!! I knew I could do it!”
    SKT Mile 6. “What?!” I had some vague impression in my head that as soon as I got to Urbana I was done! Not so. Apparently, another lapse of web information on the trail I was riding omitted the part about having to ride ALL THE WAY THROUGH TOWN to the Y on the other side!
I was just beginning to make it to the center of town when I went under an active railroad bridge. Looking at the intersection ahead, I glanced down just in time to see the shiny green slivers of broken beer bottles, as I rolled over them. Pssssssssssssss….
     “Why Me?!?” I stopped immediately. Pulled over and called my dad who was waiting for me at the Y. Once that explanation was over, I proceeded to do as I’ve done many a time- pull out the wheel, pry off the tire, replace the tube with a spare from my saddlebag and then the tire, and inflate with my onboard pump. Simple, right? As I released the lever on the pump and pulled it off of the valve – Pssssssssssssss…. The stem was gone! It shot out of there like a bullet, and who knows where it went.
     Why me? So I got out the patch kit- which has never worked for me! I did everything it told me to as carefully as possible- and this time- it actually held! I couldn’t believe it. Problem now was the bulge where the bottle had cut the tire. It was pretty big, so I let out some air and limped the final couple of miles with low tire pressure. Never mind that the trail was still POORLY marked in the last 2 miles, and I circle a city park before I asked some tennis player where the Y was. But I MADE IT!!! I really made it!!

     Thinking back on my “why me” worries and woes….I think, now- “Why Not?” I mean 77 miles were really pretty awesome! Who cares about the last 3! I think I learned from that- Trust More- Worry Less- and Keep Going!  I could have called for a pick up, and simply gone back to the last intersection bike in hand, but I trusted my equipment and my patience. Fretting over a blown tire- twice- in the last couple miles- a waste of energy! It was still one of the best rides- especially with a Young’s Dairy lunch in the middle!

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