Ok, so you know how I made fun of my mom for thinking I got kidnapped back in New York? Like most moms, her biggest fear about my trip, unfounded though they may be, is someone murdering or harming me in some fashion. It's pretty easy to laugh her off and dissuade her fears with a "that will never happen."
Clearly I have not been murdered, but I did experience a period of genuine fear on my last day in Ohio.
I was pretty exhausted, mentally and physically. My muscles had been telling me for a few days now it was time to take a day off. It had been almost an entire month since my last zero day. I planned to bike only 15 miles and take the rest of the day and the next day to recuperate. Instead, I saw on the map that the town of Munroeville, Indiana had a cyclists-only, free lodging option. All I had to do was bike 60 miles. Challenge accepted.
Unfortunately, (it's funny how often a sentence begins with that word on this blog) Ohio is very flat and full of corn and soybean fields. In the last two counties, there are zero wind breaks. I had to bike 60 miles in 17-27 mph winds. Those exact numbers com from me being so frustrated I looked up exactly what the wind conditions were.
Around noon, I stopped in a gas station to "refuel." The woman behind the counter informs me that a convicted rapist just escaped police custody a few miles down the road. Oh, and he has a gun. No big deal. We were in the middle of nowhere. Just an intersection in farm country. I asked her if she knew anyone who could give me a ride to the next town and she said no, not that I had much hope anyway. What could I do? I kept biking.
So I biked through the search area for this convict. Every once in a while some sheriff or other would drive by and ask me if I knew that there was an escaped convict in the vicinity. I told them yes, but I wasn't from around there and had nowhere to go. I kept biking, slowly, into 20mph winds. I'll admit I experienced fear. Not panic, but I was wary. I didn't see any people other than the police at this time since I'm guessing the residents were all smart enough to stay indoors.
I arrived in Munroeville, Indiana around 6pm, fully intact and unharassed. I contacted Warren the "bike guy" and he got me settled. Due to the Harvest Festival occurring in the town of 1300 people, my rest day the next day was not as restful as I hoped, (the cyclist only lodging was in the middle of said festival) but people were very friendly and curious.
I apologize to my loving mother whose irrational fears actually held some merit this one time.
We have traveled 1335 miles.