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Corwin to Xenia on the Little Miami Trail

July 4, 2008

Back in the middle of May when we were first talking about cycling, a sponsored bike event came up at Penny’s work that included two consecutive 50 mile days. I knew from my limited riding experience that I could never just jump on the bike and do that kind of riding without getting shares of stock in Aleve! My 1997 mountain bike just didn’t have good rolling resistance on the paved paths and it would take a lot of effort and energy.

Penny decided to get a couple of new mountain bikes, one for her and her daughter. These bikes were quite a bit lighter than my 10 year old bike and had tires with better rolling resistance, so when her daughter’s interest in riding quickly fizzled, I “inherited” the 2nd new bike (they were both men’s bikes anyway… LOL!)

With these new bikes in hand, we set a goal of riding from near home (non-specific trail entry point) to Yellow Springs, spend the night, and ride back the next day. If we started in Morrow, this would be about a 40 mile ride one way. To help build up to this, so far we’ve logged over 200 miles on the bikes since about the beginning of June. Mostly, we have tried riding on the various segments of the trail we’d probably be using for our goal.

Previously, we’ve ridden from Kingsview to Morrow (15 mile round-trip) and Morrow to Corwin (30 mile round-trip). Wanting to ride a new segment, we chose the trail from Corwin to Xenia (round-trip 30 miles). The skies were completely overcast and threatening more rain, but we were itching for more trail time, so chanced it anyway. It had been raining all day, so that washed out our plans to do some mountain biking trails at East Fork.

Driving into Corwin, sprinkles were starting on the windshield, and I could only think… “Oh Great!”

This section (Corwin to Xenia) started out at a park in Corwin, right near the ice cream and sandwich shop of the Corwin Peddler. We saw they were open, even on the 4th of July, so thought that might make a nice snack at the end of the day. Unloading our bikes, we took off toward Spring Valley.

Corwin Peddler yellow building back on the right

There is a section of trail just outside of town that we affectionately called the San Andreas Fault. It’s buckled and heaved around pretty badly, catching us a bit off guard. Other than that, the ride is pretty uneventful. About half way between Corwin and Spring Valley, you leave the tree canopy and the trail takes you through the middle of open fields.

Seeing the rolling fields and old farm houses, Penny exclaimed, “Oh how bucolic!” Well… I guess that became my word of the day. I kept asking, is that bucolic? What about that? Or that? Hey… don’t look at me… I’d never used that word before and wanted the practice!!! 🙂

Entering Spring Valley, we passed some silos and grain bins, and were serenaded with the hum of grain dryers. There looked to be an ice cream shop on main street, but it was closed, so we just made a mental note of it. Leaving the rural town, our exit theme was the cacophony of fire crackers and bottle rockets that folks were enjoying.

Between Spring Valley and Xenia, I couldn’t help but think I had a brake dragging, a tire going down, or possibly even hub bearing issues again. It just felt like I was riding in molasses, and my imagination was working overtime, but I tried to ignore it.

Approaching Xenia, there are many trail connectors that intersect, some going to sub-divisions, and others off to no where obvious. It also became increasingly apparent that we had been going up an incline since Spring Valley, and in fact, it was increasing some as we got into town. I think that was the “molasses feeling” I was getting! D’oh!!!

Other intersecting trails near the Xenia Station. On the map at the station, there are numbered trails that correspond to the trail numbers in the upper left of each green sign.

The main attraction in Xenia is the old train station. They have coordinated a nice park, walking area, and multi-use path around this building. We got a couple of pictures, and used the facilities inside, before meandering around and reading various pamphlets, maps, and signboards. The walking was nice to stretch the legs and back out a bit.

Xenia Station

Going back to the bikes, Penny hopped on to mine and started riding away, so I got on hers. Penny made a comment about how smooth mine was compared to hers. I said since she doesn’t complain or make comments about her bike, that I don’t want to needlessly tweak it and mess up something she likes. Well, we headed further into town, where the bike path becomes a bike lane on the city sidewalks. I’m not real crazy about riding on the sidewalks. It’s been too ingrained in me that bikes are to use the road and follow the same rules that motor vehicles use. Even so, it was nice, given the amount of traffic on Hwy 68, to use the side walks.

After turning around at some point, I had Penny stop while I made adjustments to the rear gear indexer on her bike. It had been rattling a lot, and after some tweaking, started shifting more smoothly. There’s still some adjustments that need to be done, but at least it’s quieter and runs through the gears better. I guess I need to ride her bike more often so I can gauge what kind of maintenance needs it might have! 🙂 Her other comment was that she wanted to have her handle bars setup just like mine….. more work to get down tomorrow!! LOL

Finally, we switched back bikes and headed back toward Corwin. It was immediately obvious just how much incline we’d been riding. We hardly had to pedal at all getting out of the city and back into the part of the path outside of town.

We kept ticking our gears higher until I had mine max’d out. It felt pretty good to be humming along at a good pace. However, despite the fact we were cruising pretty good, another couple that were riding road bikes went screaming past us like it was nothing! It continually amazes me just how much faster road bikes are on paved paths than mountain bikes. I guess that once we build up our endurance sufficiently on these mountain bikes, it would be nice to get some road bikes and see how much easier riding can get!

We did much better on time getting back to Spring Valley, and ultimately Corwin. However, we probably should have checked to see what time the Corwin Peddler closed. Our plans for an evening snack/dinner were thwarted when a sign indicated they were hosting a private party for the 4th of July evening. Bummer!!! I was starved, having only eaten energy bars most of the afternoon.

Loaded back up and ready to head out

Penny throwing away our trash

On the way home we had a great idea for food. We decided to steam some fresh broccoli, lightly boil some carrots and noodles, and mix in some shredded chicken. It only took us 20 minutes to complete and made for a nice dinner at 9:30pm!

This 30 mile ride was much easier than our first one, rain not withstanding. At the end of the previous one, the last 5 miles or so was pure hell on my seat. This one felt much better, and we made some good time. Even though we didn’t start off feeling as strong as we did last night (we were in a zone!), our pacing felt good. We could probably have done another 8-10 miles, enough to give us the distance to cover Morrow to Yellow Springs (38-40miles) and meet our short term goal. I think we need to start thinking past that short term goal and start shooting for a goal to travel from Springfield to Newtown in Cincinnati (approx 71 miles), the current length of the Little Miami Scenic Trail!!

A few pics from Xenia to Corwin (didn’t get the camera out until we reached the turn-around)
http://www.uwwonder.com/pics/080704CorwinXenia/index.html

Our route
View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

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2 comments

  1. Nice writeup!!!


  2. […] Diving, Caving, Cycling, or Hiking… our Most Excellent Adventure in the Outdoors! « Corwin to Xenia on the Little Miami Trail Loveland to Newtown: Little Miami Scenic Trail July 5, […]



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