The whole idea of a S24O is just do it. Minimal planning, no fuss, be home the next morning.
This was not one of those S24O’s. First, it was originally scheduled for last week, but work got in the way. Then the weather started becoming a factor when some pretty heavy rains were in the forecast. But as the end of the week got closer, and my search of multiple weather sites got more detailed, it looked like the rain might hit overnight and clear sometime Friday morning. We had a go.
I’m getting the hang of things, so packing was pretty light. The only change made was to go with the Kelty two-person tent so the gear could be out of the rain; plus I packed a few warmer items since the evenings have been getting chilly.One other factor came into play, which pushed my departure back a bit; a seatpost. The tracking indicated that it would be delivered Thursday, so I waited around for the mail, and then took to wrenching. I’m glad I did because those few little millimeters made a world of difference with overall comfort.
At various points during the trip I’d have to stop and make some adjustments. Mainly, as the seat broke in, my sit bones would settle into the leather and the nose of the saddle became an issue. Gradually adjusting the tilt would take care of it. Ultimately any discomfort was from the nose, and the saddle sores that had been an issue with previous longer rides were non-existent. This is a great saddle!
The route was also hilly. Not big hills, but just a lot of smaller hills without many flats to get rolling. I found the lack of momentum a challenge.
I rolled into Spring Grove right as the schools were letting out, so I had to contend with bus traffic. Then, as I got to the end of town by the paper mill, bridge construction brought this route to a sudden halt. After conferring with some truck drivers, I had to go back about a mile and take a detour on Old Hanover Road – little if any berm and heavy truck traffic for about a mile. That then dumped me into Menges Mill, which is gearing up for Halloween.Some more hills, some more grinding, and eventually the park came into view.I stopped at the ranger station to register and talked for a bit about the forecast. Definitely expecting heavy rain overnight, but not sure on when it would clear. It also turned out that I was the only one in the tent camping area for the night. I loaded up with water and it didn’t take long at all to get set up.
Once settled in, it was dinner and then some exploring. I brought some field glasses and did some bird watching, and discovered this critter moored up in an inlet. I’m sure there’s a good story:
So as I’m out in the middle of nowhere, having the entire campsite to myself, walking along the shoreline, I’m suddenly startled by someone running up behind me. I recovered in time to take a fuzzy shot of this lovely twenty-something doing some trail running. I don’t know if she was another camper, or just getting in a workout before dark.As the sun was going down it started getting colder, so I broke out a wool shirt and then the Patagonia down sweater. That was probably overkill, but it was lightweight and served its purpose. The rain started with a drizzle around 7:00, and I took to the tent at 8:30. A Nook book provided the evening’s entertainment until I drifted off a little after 10:00. During the night there was some lightening and heavy periods of rain, but it was hard to tell how much I slept through and being under the trees. I could also sense a little bit of chill coming up through my pad, which surprised me, given it’s rating. I didn’t think it was that cold – maybe low 50’s. Then again, I was only sleeping in a pair of Andiamo skins, so maybe some leggings would have made a difference.
When I woke up at 6:00am it was still a steady rain, so I drifted in and out of sleep, and then read some more until things quieted down.
When I finally did emerge around 8:00, the rain had stopped and the sun was actually trying to make a comeback.
Coffee, oatmeal, break camp. As I was loading up the bike I looked down and found this critter on my foot. He must have climbed aboard during the night and I didn’t notice.On the way out I stopped at the restrooms to clean my dishes, grab a hot shower, and refill my water supply. The campground was pretty sparse, but there were still a few families “roughin it.”The ride home was uneventful, but I could feel the fatigue in my legs from all the hills. Old Hanover Road was still busy mid-morning, and I stopped once to make a saddle adjustment.
Just below Route 30 I started feeling hungry, but realized that I wouldn’t be passing any stores or restaurants until I got close to home. Pulling off at a church pavilion, the remains of my food supply went into a wonderful dish of oatmeal, hot chocolate, and coffee creamer. It’s amazing what some empty calories do for one’s stamina.
Pulled in home a little after lunch time, no worse for wear, other than some tired legs.
It seemed like I had packed just enough without any extra items to weigh things down. I probably could have used a second t-shirt since nothing dried out overnight.
The GPS worked flawlessly on the trip down, and was even helpful negotiating the detour. I also discovered some minor hitches when using the “Reverse Route” feature for the trip home. I’ll have some more to add to the GPS page that should be useful.
The most pleasing, though, was the saddle. Using this Pre-aged Brooks, with a pair of lightly padded shorts, and the Butt Paste; resulted in a great combination that completely prevented any saddle sores. I’ll need to take a shot soon of the saddle to show just how much it has changed shape and broken in. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this could be the ultimate combination for this bike.
Distance: 77.9 miles 2012: 1035.7