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Riding the Helmsburg Loop with Dave

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Dave called me on Saturday to see if I wanted to ride with him. I was literally in the process of trying to figure out where to ride when he called, so it was perfect timing. He suggested we ride what he termed the “Helmsburg Loop.” I took him up on his offer, and furthermore rode out to his place to get some extra miles in. I rode my old mountain bike since I figured we might hit some gravel, and I knew he’d be on his mountain bike. We met at Unionville Elementary School, which is near Dave’s house, and also where I met Dan On Bike when we rode together back in November.

It was a perfect day, in the 60s and sunny. Our ride started down State Road 45 through part of Yellowwood State Forest. There wasn’t much traffic and it felt great to ride without a jacket. Dave has only been on a few rides since his spinal cord injury at the end of December. Each ride he does better. I know he can’t wait to get back on the trails, but you can tell he’s thrilled to be riding again, even if it is on the road.

Curvy section of 45
Inviting country road

Dave riding on 45
Dave is happy to be back in the saddle

We turned onto Lanam Ridge road and sprinted up the hill to try to outpace the dogs that live up there. They really wanted to catch us, but we flew past them and once we crested the hill, they didn’t have a chance. There are some nice rolling hills on Lanam Ridge, and some climbing.

Goats
Goats along Lanam Ridge

The climbing pays off with a great descent down to Helmsburg Road. We took this into Helmsburg.

Zebra Fire Engine
Zebra firetruck in Helmsburg

We headed back on 45 a bit and took a detour on Indian Hill Road. This is a gravel road with a nasty climb. We didn’t do that climb, though, we just took a break by the creek, which was very high and partially covering the road, while water rushed beneath it.

Crossing the tracks
Approaching the train tracks

Water flowing out from beneath the road
Indian Hill Road

Sturdy
This railroad bridge didn’t look too sturdy

We got back on 45. Soon we reached South Shore Drive, and rode across Lake Lemon. We saw a lot of turtles on logs in the water, and evidence of some beavers.

Riding across Lake Lemon
Riding across Lake Lemon

Tressle
Trestle

We climbed up Shuffle Creek Road. I stopped at Dave’s for a few minutes, then rode home. My total for the day: 33.6 miles. Here’s a map of the route:

Dave is back in the saddle

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Back on January 3rd (wow, it’s hard to believe it was that long ago), I wrote about my friend Dave’s mountain biking accident. Since then he’s been making a gradual recovery. He fortunately didn’t have to have surgery, and he’s been hiking increasing distances the past few weeks, and riding increasingly long sessions on his trainer. Dave is a mountain biker, but as part of his recovery, he’s going to have to do a bunch of training on the road before he can go mountain biking. Last night, he called me and said he wanted to ride, and felt ready. I headed out to his house, and we rode a good 10+ miles. Dave did great job. The doctors said his balance might not be too good, but he didn’t have any problems. The only real problem he seemed to have was a little numbness in his left hand and leg. He said he couldn’t feel the wind on his leg, which must’ve been weird.

It was great to ride with Dave again, even if it was on the road. Now he can ramp up to longer rides and before long, hopefully he’ll be back on the trails! And the doctors initially said he might not ride again — BAH!

Man down

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

My mountain biking buddy Dave crashed over the weekend while mountain biking in Texas. He was riding down a hill with some root dropoffs and lost control at the bottom of the hill, flying headfirst into a tree. He was paralyzed for about 20 minutes and gradually regained feeling in his arms and legs. The guy he was riding with helped him walk out.

I saw Dave at work yesterday and he looked pretty bad. No visible bruises, but he had some swelling in his neck, and his hands were doing some kind of strange involuntary grasping thing. He finally went to PromptCare, where they thought he might have a broken neck. They referred him to the hospital, where they determined that his neck isn’t broken, but he injured his spinal cord and got a concussion. He’ll have to have some rehabilitation, the extent of which is unknown at this time. His new bike also suffered some damage to the fork, we’re not sure yet how much damage.

Dave was largely responsible for getting me back into cycling after several years away from it. He went mountain biking with me at Brown County State Park and showed me the ropes. I was hooked, and Dave was always patient as I attempted to get in shape, riding slowly and making frequent stops as needed. He’s a great guy and a great rider.

Here’s hoping Dave heals quickly and can be out riding and hiking again soon.

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