instant gramming

June 20, 2015

S24O: Westerville to Granville

Yesterday I set off on my first S24O--or Sub-24 hour Overnight.  The name, coined by bike industry heretic Grant Petersen, really just describes a bike camping trip that can be completed in fewer than 24 hours. 

I spent the entire morning agonizing over the weather radar on my computer screen, watching rain and probable storms move over my intended route, trying to strategize my departure.  The 27-mile route I crafted included a scenic dam crossing, long stretches of country roads, a shortcut through a golf course community, and (finally) a half dozen peaceful miles of rails-to-trails bike path.  But the rain would be unavoidable if I wanted to get to Granville at dinnertime saving enough light to set up camp. I left my house at 2:30pm.

It's pretty amazing--the feeling you get when you say "Fuck it" and go straight into an otherwise shitty situation and make the best of it. Walking between my back door and the garage on a rainy day sucks. But I somehow managed to bike for over four hours in rain over two days and it wasn't horrible. It was therapeutic even.

By the time I reached the bike path that would carry me the last 6 miles toward my destination, the clouds broke and I was able to dry out a bit.  This was fortunate because I was determined to eat a good meal in town and hadn't figured out what to do if I was completely soaked.

I reached Granville at 5 o'clock and was able to slip on a decent shirt before entering Brews Cafe.  I sat at the bar and ordered a really good Columbus beer and a disappointing turkey burger that at least filled me up. I chugged a glass of water and continued on my way toward camp.  I stopped at the main entrance to Denison University and for kicks (and without much thought) I mashed up the super steep road to the top of the hill. Silly, but it made me feel strong. I cruised down the backside of "The Hill," and made my way back to my old college home: The Homestead.  It's an exciting feeling you get when you travel the gravel road back into the woods, through an old farm field, and into the clearing where the community sits.  I was relieved to find that I arrived to an empty place--which gave me time to set up my tent and chill out a bit. Eventually the summer residents returned and it was nice to meet them. I took off again with an unloaded bike to pick up my "hostess gift:" beer (good stuff, not the customary Natty-Light) and avocados.  A bonfire was built and soon other guests arrived.  I think I crawled into my 1-man tent around 10:30.

Rain didn't come again until late in the night.  I woke up to distant thunder at 4:20am, realizing my phone battery was down to 4% charge and I had no charger. Shit. I fell back asleep for an hour, waking mostly to figure out how to get in touch with my family and make a plan for the day.  I set up my camp stove under a cabin roof overhang to make some coffee. I ate the food I had packed and then waited for other residents to wake. Nothing. 7 o'clock rolled around and my bike was packed.  I ended up waking one of the guys and asked to borrow his phone. I messaged C that I'd be leaving soon, realizing the rain wasn't going to let up, and that I figured I'd be slow and would account for a 3 hour trip.  Once I took off I was feeling rough, but was excited to get home and be dry.  The miles seemed to pass by more quickly--and it helped that the route was now familiar.  I made it home in exactly 2 hours. Everything was wet.

It was a great trip.  A vacation, really. It was exactly the vacation I've been dreaming about for a long time; exactly the vacation that I would never subject my wife or daughters to because I know that they would hate it. There were lots of miles that passed, in constant rain, where I was riding a fine line between misery and elation; uneasiness and calm.  It was a hard trip, but it was great.  Over 55 miles total. I had fun and was home by 10am the next day.

Hoover Reservoir

So wet. Not even worth wearing a rain coat--I was soaked to the bone underneath.

Hell yea! Rails-to-trails and a break in the clouds

Bike Against A Wall. Granville, Ohio

Treat Yo Self - dinner at Brews Cafe. Bad burger, great beer.

Obligatory Photo Op

No Cars, back to the woods

My tent, sheet, and spare clothes replaced with 2 six-packs and a couple avocados--my "hostess gift"