Day 7 through Day 12. Under the stars

Day 7 through Day 12:
Mcconellsburg, PA – Somerset, PA – West Mifflin, PA – Robinson Township, PA – New Athens, OH – Saint Clairsville, OH

iheartcardio justin mcclelland map

I sit here from the Red Roof Inn in Saint Clairsville, Ohio ready to head out for the morning.  I strolled in here at 8am yesterday morning after a very very rough night.

Why was it rough? I’ll tell you…

On Day 11, I rode from Robinson Township, PA to New Athens, OH. This was a good day, I was feeling good and got 80 miles in after riding a trail thru the west end of Pennsylvania and the northern tip of West Virginia. Tackled quite a few hills once I got off the trail and into Ohio. But felt pretty good none the less.

Once I got to New Athens, OH, it was about 8:30pm after I figured out that I would need to go to Saint Clairsville for the night to find a place to stay.  This was because there was absolutely nothing in New Athens.  Not a hotel, motel, hostel, restaurant, I don’t think I even saw a gas station. NOTHING.

So, I try not to ride at night, but I figured I had to get this done.  Saint Clairsville was only 9 miles away. And even though I was certain that was 9 miles of hills, I was going to do it.

I head away from New Athens and as soon as I get about a quarter mile from the city, I realize a few things:

  1. I really don’t have the energy to do these hills, as I was presented with one right away.
  2. I need to quit acting like there aren’t bears and bobcats in these parts that I’d have no chance against at night.
  3. If the headlight battery on my helmet died, I wouldn’t be able to see my hand in front of my face. It was just about that dark.

After having these thoughts, I turn around and think about a plan-B. However, bad that was going to be. At this point it was around 9:30pm and I was just plain stuck.

I rode past a post office and saw that it was situated on the main road, was decently lit, and it looked like the best option to call it a night there.  I posted-up by the entrance and camped out until daylight.

These were the longest hours EVER.

For dinner, I ate my emergency energy food that I swiped from the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar back in Pittsburgh.  Two bagels and a couple of slices of raisin bread.  Afterwards, I spent my time looking at the stars. You can see far more in rural areas when away from smog and street lighting.

iheartcardio usps justin mcclelland

Then, when that got old I tried to get some sleep.

Emphasis on the word, “tried”.

My sleep went a little something like this:

10:00pm – sleep
10:30pmwhere in the hell did that dog come from? is it on a leash? no! ok, i think it’s a cool dog. it’s going to keep doing it’s thing over there. it see’s me and didn’t come over, so it’s cool.
11:15pmwhat was that crawling on my leg? hope i don’t get bit by something venomous.
12:00am sleep
12:02amwhat is that dog barking at?
1:30am i have 6% battery on my iphone. damn
2:00amhow is the sun not up yet? damn this is taking long
2:50amwhy did it just get cold suddenly? i thought these were the dog-days of summer. what happened to that?
3:30ami need to layer-up and put on every spare piece of clothing i have. i think these shorts will work as a skull cap. yep

iheartcardio usps justin mcclelland

5:00amdamn right. the sun should be up any moment now so I can leave. let me google the sunrise time for New Athens, Ohio….6:48am?!?! sunbitch! that’s a long time from now.
6:00amthis concrete is really starting to feel like concrete. I’m out.

When I headed out, that morning I was reassured that I made the right choice the night before.  Because these hills were RIDICULOUS.  They were so steep that even on the downsides I had to drag my brakes to keep from going too fast and that’s saying a lot because I’m a speed-demon that loves the downhills.  They were THAT steep. Up-side and Down-side.  There was no-way I was making those the night before in pitch-blackness.

I got into Saint Clairsville, OH at 8am and passed out as soon as I got an early check-in.  It was almost as if I never slept the night before. That’s how my body felt.


You can follow along in real-time and spot exactly where I am, as I have a GPS unit that updates a Google map in real-time every few minutes.  To view it, “LIKE” the iHeartCardio Facebook Fanpage.

Also, you may contribute to the American Heart Association which is the cause I’m riding for.  100% of what you donate goes to the AHA.  You may learn more about WHY you should donate. Whether you choose to donate or choose not to, please help SPREAD the word.

Last but not least, I want to thank my equipment sponsors. GoPro and Detours.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott September 8, 2012 at 11:58 am

We rode a couple of miles together as you were entering Belleville, IL enroute to St Louis for the night. I was the guy on the recumbent trike. I enjoyed our brief conversation. Interesting route you’re riding. Noticed you haven’t updated for awhile….don’t quit. Take your time and enjoy.
Best wishes


Justin McClelland September 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

Hey there Scott. I enjoyed our convo as well. Definitely beats the norm which is talking to myself. And don’t worry, I’m not going to quit. Just sometimes it’s hard to find the energy to write updates.


Addison October 2, 2012 at 2:55 am



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