Friday, September 16, 2016

Ohio-to-Erie Trail - Day 2 of Riding, Massillon to Millersburg (Holy Moly Roly Poly)


Rising early to get a head start on the mercury, we embarked on the Hampton Inn free breakfast as soon as it was available. This time Pedal Pal was legit, as was our newest comrade, Roomie. Starting early had little impact on the time we checked out, though. I think we lingered at breakfast absorbing as much protein as we could for the impending “significant hills”. The Ohio-to-Erie map folks were kind enough to warn of upcoming elevation, albeit with little detail as to what “significant” truly meant.


Upon leaving the Hampton Inn in Massillon we had no idea one of those hills would hit us smack in the face within a quarter of a mile. Now, I don’t know about you, but my cardio-pulmonary combo likes to have an easy several miles to get into a rhythm with each other. The lungs need about 30 minutes to calibrate the O2 gauge so the heart doesn’t over exert due to insufficient flow of oxygen. Pedal and Roomie bolted ahead of Velo and me. I guess I am more like the tortoise than the hare. Slow and steady, seldom sprinting.

I assume all of you who ride with any frequency are pretty in-tune with your metabolism and fuel requirements. I am as well and know that in addition to proteins and fats I need some good ole’ carbs for breakfast. Shortly after getting on the trail after conquering the hill I realized I was sorely lacking easily convertible energy. The only thing I had with me that constituted pure sugar was an envelope of instant hot cocoa powder. I laughed when Velo had taken it from our hotel room but I guess he had more foresight than I. So there I was, on the side of the Sippo Valley Trail, pouring cocoa powder in my mouth and waiting for the shot of energy. Just and FYI…it worked really well.
The Sippo Valley Trail is a flat path that meanders through a quiet, residential neighborhoods and several park-like wooded areas for about 12 miles. Velo and I enjoyed our coast on the trail until we had to leave the comfort of the known terrain for the uncertainty of Bike Route 1






The majority of the significant hills for day 2 were in the stretch between Dalton (pronounced Dow-ton) and Fredericksburg. At one point we even came across Pedal and Roomie sitting on the side of the road recovering.

The extreme elevation changes only lasted for about fifteen miles, but those were fifteen demoralizing miles that showed us what we were made of. The struggle ended wtih a mile and a half downhill coast into Fredericksburg where we found Lem’s, a small, independent business in the land of the Amish, serving up hearty subs and cold soft-serve. Out of about 15 different favors of ice cream I chose cheesecake. Velo selected butter pecan. We sat at the outside picnic tables for a good, long time enjoying the quietness of the small town and resting our bones. Our gluteus and calf muscles were like rubber bands, our clothes wet and our skin salty from the exertion.


The hills were behind us and only ten miles lay between Lem’s and our destination for the night. The Holmes County Trail took us all the way to Millersburg, home of the Hotel at Millersburg.




We stopped at the depot to get directions to the hotel only to find out it was at the top of a hill. As a matter of fact, the whole town was set at the top of that hill.


Nope. I refused. I made it to town by the power of the pedal, I refused to pedal anymore, or at least not up a hill. I walked my bike up that hill with as much indignation as those struggling to pedal.




The Hotel at Millersburg was very nice. They had a courtyard to park the bikes in until the party room was empty. Then we could lock the bikes up inside for the night. We had spotted the Millersburg Brewery across the street and were excited for a local craft beer. You can imagine our disappointment when we found out they weren’t open on Tuesday. WHAT?! “Bags” was the sports bar next door and luckily had one of the local brews on draught. The spinach salad, chicken wings, and peanut butter cheesecake filled the bill and we were ready for a good nights’ sleep. The 1000+ ft. of climbing in less than 15 miles made a short, 38-mile day quite exhausting.

In summary – Massillon to Millersburg is a short, 38 mile ride with bike trails on either end. The mid-section has some steep climbs and exhilarating downhills. The elevation gain in the middle certainly makes up for the brevity of the route.

Stay tuned for more adventures of riding the Ohio-to-Erie trail with me, The Reluctant Cyclist, Velojunkie, Pedal Pal, and Roomie.




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