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Day 20 - Troy Ohio to Athens, Ohio
154 miles
2220' climbing

Karen coaxed John into tandeming with her in the morning, and I was lucky enough to share the bike with him from the second snack stop on. I started out the morning riding with Susan and Phil. The more I rode with Susan, the more I got to like her. She seemed a little abrupt when I first started the trip, but I realized as the weeks wore on what a really nice person she is. She really put a tremendous amount of herself into making this trip enjoyable for everyone. This didn't leave her much time to have fun herself, but I think she really enjoyed every chance she got to ride. She talked about really getting back into shape and maybe doing some racing again, and in my opinion, when she does, she's going to do well!

When I reached the second stop, John had already been in for a while and was trying to remove the saddle, so we could get mine on. Unfortunately with all the saddle trading, the bolt had been stripped. Ed saved the day and found a new one, and after several more delays to readjust the height and position, we were on our way.

My ankle felt better, so now the saddle sore could scream. I did a lot of moving around on the saddle and just couldn't seem to get comfortable until we caught up with Ann and Dan and started playing tandem games. We decided to trade off doing one minute pulls. Each time we pulled off or pulled through, we would stand. This gave my bottom the breaks it sorely needed. We managed to do this for about 20 miles. I was really happy to see lunch though. This was really hard work!

Rain clouds rolled in just before we rolled out of lunch, so we each packed our rain jackets and headed out. The hills also returned. While we didn't really like our choice of gears, but we were getting used to them, and just kept pushing our way over the big hills. We came over one wall to find Mike with the video camera.

We really started hitting some rollers, and I remembered that John never coasts, not even at 50 mph. Maybe we should have, because at some point when we were spinning at light speed, apparently the sync chain jumped off and back on. When we reached the hotel, the pedals were out of phase by a couple of links! I did notice that my legs seemed like jelly when we were out of the saddle, and thought maybe I was tired. It just never occurred to me that we could have jumped this chain!

I've been tandeming for a long, long time, and it's been a long time since I've counter-steered from behind or actually screamed out loud, but a 90 degree turn on a bike path at 15 mph caused me to do just that. I trust John completely. It's me. I just don't think I have the bike handling skills to take narrow turns fast, and I panicked. I'll have to learn to do better in tight situations. Apparently I also was breathing pretty hard on some of the climbs and the occasional sigh as the road got really steep made John think of the famous restaurant scene in "When Harry met Sally." I don't think it was that bad, but maybe I really am a noisy stoker!

As we came into Athens, I commented to John that since we were in a college town, we might be able to find some good Chinese food. I was getting a little tired of buffets and pasta, and I was starting to go into major Chinese food withdrawal. We ended up taking a taxi into town, and the food was delicious. One great advantage of doing this was great service, since we weren't in the same restaurant as 60 other hungry cyclists. Ice cream, of course, followed for dessert.

We called for a taxi to take us back and then found ourselves in trouble. Neither of us could remember the name of the hotel we were staying in. We described the general area, based on what we each remembered from riding in, and the driver got us home. (The room keys were "security keys" and did not have the name of the hotel or the room number on them, so they were no help!)