Burr Oak State Park, Ohio to Logan, OH. 41 miles of riding and bike-a-hike in 5:18 hrs.
Tough day. Great night of Zzzzzzzz’s at Burr Oak SP. Jude made the java and got me some scrambled eggs mixed with leftover dogs and onions and I was good to go for half a day. Got rolling on the BT again and this time it was into the woods dag gone from the start. Heck I had one hell of a time locating the trail once it went from road to woods. The beginning of the single-track section was rough, primitive and tough to ride. It was mostly just a faint track running up into the woods that I had to bike-a-hike for a bit before I had a chance to ride. The weeds were just crazy bad, like a jungle I was plowing through. Should have worn bush pants and a khaki long sleeved shirt with a machete in hand. My riding was sporadic. I mean there were some good flat sections of single track and then there were some good climbs and descents I could stay on. But some of the descents were just too sketchy to ride down – not the time to biff and break a collarbone or wrist. So I’d dismount on the nasty stuff and bike-a-hike.
Then I’d also dismount on these little drainage crossings because they’d just totally V out to the point to where if you didn’t hit it just right you’d stop dead in your tracks and either get ejected straight away, or bend the steerer tube on the bike. Then there was the deadfall – again, more dismounting. Got to the point to where I was just using so much energy climbing some of the steeper climbs that I could conserve more by walking up them. I mean it was abut 88 degrees today, and trying to ride some of those steep single track climbs was just blowing it out on the energy front. So I did better just walking the really steep stuff and swallowing my pride rather than get to the top drenched in sweat and huffing and puffing like I’d just run up the Terminal Tower.
This area was so damned untrodden that I felt as though I was the first person of the season to ride it – hell there weren’t even any foottracks of hikers on this section. Ok, so I’ve made it sound as if it was just pure hell. Now that was just the difficulty factor. The other side was that it was just so cool to be out in the middle of the forest riding and hiking as opposed to being on a road with a ton of traffic. It was very, very peaceful. So there was a good trade-off here – difficulty VS peacefulness. I’m in for the latter. This off-road section had to be about 11-12 miles, and then it was back to road, but almost all the road riding here was gravel, with steep, crazy steep climbing – and that too was just amazingly peaceful. Just no traffic at all on any of these roads. Made the first leg in about 2.5 hrs to meet Judy. Got a cold coke and a ham sandwich down and on to the next section, this time I was going to do all road so we could make some headway to Logan. There were two long off-road sections, but with the roads out here being nearly all gravel, I opted to go pure gravel for section two.
And this was just fantastic. It was almost all gravel, with just a few miles of asphalt, where I was able to do the berminator with little difficulty. This is all part of Wayne National Forest, and it’s pretty remote and pretty scenic. The roads were the sandy gravel, and the descents, again, were ones where I just didn’t let the bike get to much of a run for fear of washing a wheel. The descents, again, were just brutal. There was one where I just had to get off the bike. I mean even in the easiest gear I just didn’t have the gas to make it. Like I said yesterday, in that gravel, you have to stay seated and man, there things are unrelenting at times. So I just bike-a-hiked this one monster.
Met a gas line guy out in the middle of nowhere, and I was using my maps and gps to kind of navigate through this maze of gravel roads. I checked with him about my whereabouts just to feel peace of mind, and he confirmed that I was where I thought I was. He even had this awesome gps screen like the police have, mounted on a swivel. It was the size of an Apple I-Pad and he could just scroll on it as he was driving to check out his location. He gave me a waterbottle of ice cold water and then directed me through the final two turns to get to where I was going. I mean nothing was marked down there, so you had to go with gps and map turn by turn or you’re just screwed. Made it back to my second meeting place with Judy and was 5 hrs into the day. And I’ll tell you, this is just busting my butt. We had figured on going as far as Logan for the day, and I was happy to be nearly there. I did 3 more miles down on the berm of 93 toward Logan. The came the time to load the bike in the van and call it a day.
By this time, 3:30 PM, the temp was just scorching. Time for a hotel/motel. I felt as though I’d just done a off-road race with the biking and hiking. My legs and arms were raked from prickers, nettles, and branches, I was sweat soaked and tired, and I was not in the mood to camp tonight. We got a Holiday Inn Express and we’re now relaxing in the AC in West Logan. Did Subway for din-din and got some wine and beer. Using tonight as a base to do my work where I can relax, use a desk and hotel wifi, and not have a laptop on my lap with cords and gear all the hell over the cab of the van with slower than molasses wifi and bugs landing on my computer every 2 min – not to mention Judy slapping at bugs like a freaking bug zapper.I have a good 7-10 more days of this working my way towards Cincinnati on the BT. Tomorrow I will go through Hocking Hills SP, and rather than bike-a-hike through that due to biking being illegal on this state park’s trails, I’ll do more gravel roads that kind of parallel the BT. Hope it works – it’s just a gamble.