Where is the Trailhead?

Dec 6, 2021 | 0 comments

My husband and I made plans to ride the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) this year.  Our training plan didn’t quite go as we had anticipated when we signed up for this week-long bike ride last November.

While visiting Holmes County Ohio a week before the actual ride I thought it would be nice to get some training miles in on one of the local Rails-to-Trails bike paths.  Holmes County Ohio is a beautiful rural area that is most well-known for the Amish communities.  Rolling hills and two-lane country roads make for an enjoyable slower pace for this suburbanite who is more commonly in Orlando traffic that includes I-4 construction and toll roads. 

I did internet searches for local bike trails and found one about twenty miles from where I was staying.  The search tells me the trail is the Holmes County Trail. I was impressed that it was 23 miles in length.  GOBA averages about 50 miles a day but honestly, I am not in the condition to ride the entire trail roundtrip.  It’s one of the reasons I NEED to train more this week.  The day’s forecast includes rain so I know I need to get my ride in before noon.  The entire week has a significant amount of rain forecast so I know I won’t have a lot of opportunities to ride. I stay focused and load my bike and gear into the truck and go on my merry way to a fun bike ride.

My first clue I should note is my GPS does not find a trail. So, I switch to the maps feature on my mobile phone to find the trail.  I stop along the way and get an ample supply of water for my water bottles and a snack to stow in my trunk bag.  As I’m getting close I can see the trail across the field and then, what? Wait! The map program tells me I have arrived.  But, there is no trailhead.  I can see the trail.  It is several hundred feet across what I presume to be private land.  I am on a two-lane state highway and there is no stopping. 

I quickly glance in all directions to make sure I haven’t missed the trailhead.  No, there is nothing around but the field with a trail off in the distance.  Well, shoot!  I start thinking, I haven’t seen a trailhead.  I haven’t even seen a side road or a sign.  I start to worry that I will totally miss my chance for a ride. 

A couple of minutes down the road I find a small business and stop to check my map.  Yes, that was the spot.  I decide to go into the little business and ask if they know where a trailhead is.  Initially, they said there wasn’t one nearby that they knew of.  As the co-workers discussed the trail they decided that there just might be a trailhead up the road ‘a little ways’ behind a place called Nana’s Restaurant.  Hmm, ‘little ways?’, I am thinking a few blocks.  I asked what they meant by ‘a little ways’ and good thing I did too.  Their idea of “a little ways” was a few miles.

I got back into my truck and went looking for Nana’s Restaurant.  I am happy I stopped to ask because after a few miles I saw Nana’s.  Thankfully there was a sign directing me to a small gravel parking lot with the standard kiosk sign that trailheads are known for. 

Now, I know it’s going to rain today.  I even put the rain cover on my helmet.  I unload my bike and fill my water bottles.  I have a bike trunk with a supply of replacement tubes and my snack.

I go up the embankment to join the trail and it is BEAUTIFUL!  It is an older paved trail with a nice canopy of tree coverage.  

This is when I find that the Trail is the Ohio to Erie & Holmes Trail. This is a trail that traverses most of the state of Ohio from Cincinnati to Cleveland.  A true gem.

I start my ride.  This trail appears to be used by cyclists and the Amish buggies.  I pass a couple of buggies as I am starting out.  I am impressed with this trail.  I ride along enjoying the tranquil beauty.  The trail crosses roads in a few places.  It’s important to pay attention as the roads are generally a fairly high speed.  As I continue on the trail I am routed along surface streets before going back to dedicated trails.  I am enjoying the ride.  The rain is getting closer and the light sprinkling starts.  I don’t mind, it’s June.  Light rain will dry before long. 

The rain continues and as I am coming up on five miles I decided I should check the radar.  Oh my!  Before I can even get turned around the rain is coming much harder.  I haven’t mentioned it yet but I am on a road bike.  The small tires that, while good for speed or long distances, are not good to be riding on wet pavement.

I am putting a good amount of effort into my ride now.  I am somewhat concerned about lightning.  There hasn’t been any yet but I am not sure if it’s coming.  I am now happy I took the time to put the helmet rain cover on.  I am also wondering why I didn’t put my neoprene shoe covers over my sandals.  I can feel the water under my feet inside the sandals.  The rain is so hard now I am soaked. 

While I try to keep my head down I am getting water spatters on my glasses.  I must stop and clear them off to better see.  I must also be careful to not make a quick turn as the thin road tires don’t have the best traction.  I certainly don’t want to end up sliding and crashing the bike.  I am hightailing it back to my starting point and as I get closer the rain eases up.  It nearly stops by the time I return to my truck. I am now soaked and feel this is the end of my ride today.  While I might get a reprieve to load my gear, I know there is more rain to come.  


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