Monday, April 27, 2009

Son of a... ditch

I awoke this morning to the chirping if various woodland animals and smiled. After solving the mystery of yesterday's not one but TWO flat tires (I had apparently ordered tubes to fit my previous tires rather than the ones I currently had on -- it's a sordid tale that I won't get into here, but it took me a while to figure out), I scarfed my last pb&j, loaded everything up, and Ollie and I headed out, bound for Antietam.

Now, upon perching on the saddle, I found myself muttering a plea: please god, no flats today. Funny how biking gives one a new perspective on things -- god and nature included. (Dad, I can almost see you smiling.) Well, there were no flats, but the day was not without incident. Oh no, I lost my balance, the bike computer, and about half an hour right around milemarker 43 when Ollie and I found ourselves hurtling headlong into a ditch.

You see, while I have been trying to bulk up, Ollie has worked to trim a few inches, and I am forever adjusting my estimates to account for this. My calculation of the trajectory and speed needed to navigate the narrow, uphill passage around a metal pole did not, for example, accurately account for Ollie's rear panniers this morning. She's got curves, what can I say? Well, luckily our spill was cushioned by a nice bed of... nettles. Sure, it could have been worse. Rocks, maybe, or a bear pit. Or poison ivy. I'm just a bit scratched up and there are a few small bruises. And I had to make a few minor adjustments on Ollie (mostly involving duct tape and her fenders), but we're both okay.

Wear a helmet, people, even on a trail. I'm talking to you, little brother (never mind that you would probably not have miscalculated on this one, mr. engineer).

Ollie and I are doing quite well after a fortuitous call to my friend Meredyth set us up with Jim and Norleen, friends of hers here in Shephardstown, WV. Which is fortunate because there was no food or water for miles around the Antietam Creek campsite we had planned on staying at. And I need food. After a delightful dinner with some friends of theirs, we came back to the house and after some talk of camping and farmers markets, Jim not only talked me into carrying a lightweight camping stove, he gave me one made out of a beer can and showed me how to use it. We practiced lighting it and everything. (Mike, you must be grinning from ear to ear right about now.) He even gave me a few premeasured bags of dinner goodies. I'm now only mildly nervous about the stove, which, incidentally, runs on Everclear. (College flashback, anyone?)

And so it's getting late. Time for me to catch the maximum amount of sleep possible not in a tent....

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


  1. I'm so glad you're okay! (Nice gloves, by the way...) Too bad they don't make armored tires for bikes...

  2. Hey Ibti, I'm glad you survived your first crash! It builds character. :) I can't wait to hear about more of your adventures...

  3. that stove sounds nuts. glad to hear you didn't have to resort to burning cookmarks though.

  4. I want a pic of the beercan stove!! Is your route on here somewhere? If you go through Nashville you should visit my parents!

  5. you're so bad ass!! I'm so proud of you!!!

  6. Happy to hear that you survived the ditch! I love that the stove runs on everclear. Hand grenades, anyone?

  7. p.s. your change of address forms came today. i'll send the info onto wsc (aka the iron fist of the devil).

  8. sounds like things are off to an exciting start. i can't imagine that there will ever be a dull day on this trip! ps - i'm putting all directions on bananas from here on out.

  9. I'm gettin a badass bell helmet for mountain biking in patapsco this saturday... Also, I think I'm alright w/o the helmet on normal trails since my bike only weighs 13 pounds... Glad to see you got right back up after your fall, which means you're gaining a resistance to the trauma of falling of the bike. Good luck!!

  10. Ibti,
    I am one of the bikers that shared lunch with you on Monday at Mommer's Diner in Brunswick. As I mentioned, I have a set of Adventure Cycling maps. If you want them, let me know.
    You can get them when you get to Pittsburgh. I arrived home today from my DC to Pgh trip. I had a great week.


Thanks for your comment! Just making sure this isn't spam.... Thanks for your patience. :)Ibti