The Floodwater 40 bike hike

Yes, the previously annual Floodwater 40 is back. And yes, though it was actually more like 42 miles, the original name stays. We already have T-shirts. The name came from the first time my brother, sister and brother-in-law hiked from Eric and Yvonne’s house in Cleveland through the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath to my house in Cuyahoga Falls. They calculated that the ride was about 40 miles.

It was Memorial Day weekend, I believe in 1999, and they hit waist deep floodwater and had a couple of flat tires on the way. In spite of that, they kept doing it, occasionally altering the route a bit, but it always includes a stop at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula, roughly halfway into the ride. I joined the ride in 2003 (Previously as host I had managed to avoid riding, and suffered much harassment as a result), and eventually we turned it into a one-day trip from Y&E’s to Peninsula and back.

This year we resumed the tradition much in the manner of  Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament – we staged it a week later. Y&E’s daughter Natalie joined us this year, which presented some interesting challenges. Yes, I did a stint pulling a trailer and kid that combined to weigh close to 100 pounds. Eric pulled the trailer for the entire first leg and it almost did him in. Yvonne, Derek and I split it up on the way back. Natalie rode on her own for about 4 miles. Not bad for a 5-year-old kid, huh? I don’t think I even learned to ride until I was 6.

On to the photos, taken with my trusty, decrepit old Nikon Coolpix L1.

Scandal be damned, Yvonne flies her Buckeye Nation flag.

Note the Road Closed sign at the trailhead.

This would explain the sign. But a little fault line won't stop us. Onward!

Had I been a little smarter, I would have taken my downhill momentum to the next bridge only a short way ahead. But as you can plainly see, I was not smart. But my legs still felt fresh and I didn't mind. Yet.

Folks are dressed in 1820s garb for that authentic Early Ohio look. How-DEE!

Natalie is running with the big dogs! And giving dad a break.

Wedding Party at the lock in Peninsula. Interesting scenery choice.

By the time we got to the M.D. Garage, Eric was hurting. We stopped to cool off, get some water and regroup. I was worried that he could have a heatstroke, or at least some heat exhaustion. Plan B, try to catch the train for part of the way back. Plan C: Take turns hauling the trailer, We didn’t have a Plan D. (It occurs to me now that one or two of us could  bike back to Y&E’s house and get the minivan for a rendez-vous.)

At the Lizard, hydrated, cooled off, sated.

So we had a much later-than-expected lunch and revised plans for post-ride cookout.

Yes, another wedding party. They seemed rather amused that I took their picture.

Ronald McDonald House was planning a fundraising ride later that evening. It was already 5 p.m. by now. I was lugging the trailer at this point. Lucky for me, Natalie was in the mood to ride some more.

My shift with the ball and chain – ahem, trailer – ended at mile marker 9, right between the two big bridge hills.

Mom and dautghter post-ride. I think Nat speaks for us all: Whew!


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