2019 Bike Tour: Kentucky to Lake Erie (KY + #OH2ERIE) – Day 1: Lexington to Paris KY (20 miles)

As I woke up today, I had some butterflies in my stomach. A bit of anticipation about beginning this ride had set in. I think facing the unknown is both exhilarating and stressful for me.

This year’s ride will be not only my first completely solo long distance ride, but also the longest. I hadn’t thought about that until yesterday… I expect to finish around 450 miles when I make it to Cleveland.

My original itinerary for day 1 was going to be 60 miles from my house to Falmouth KY. I did a test ride two weeks ago and it was very doable. However, I decided to break it up into two shorter days since the trip through Northern Kentucky will be very hilly with a couple of steep climbs. Without extra weight, that probably wouldn’t bother me a at all. But carrying an additional 25+ pounds makes a huge difference when climbing hills.

So today I scoped out 20 miles to go from my house up to Paris KY. That will leave about 40 for tomorrow, which feels very comfortable. I can take a nice leisurely pace, stop for some pictures, and still make it to Falmouth by lunch time.

My day began by going to work. I did a half-day, then packed up, set my out of office voicemail, and headed home. Before I left, I was able to say goodbye to one of my daughters who is also working at Lexmark this summer. I said goodbye to my other daughter before I left for work today.

After getting home, I changed into my riding clothes, slathered on the sunblock, and put my panniers on the bike. Stephanie came home to see me off. I wish she were coming with me – but alas, this is a journey I supposed I’m meant to do by myself. We kissed goodbye and prayed for safety for me and for my family while I’m gone.

I didn’t take very many pictures today because I’m in very familiar territory. I routinely ride the roads between my house and Paris. Here are a couple just to give you an idea of the ride today. I am very blessed to live in an area where the cycling is fantastic. Beautiful farms and many low traffic roads.

I rode early enough today to avoid most of the rush hour traffic, and it worked out great. I arrived in Paris and got settled in with Father Danny. I had plenty of time to get cleaned up and attend evening mass.

After mass, we went to Pho for dinner. My Pad Thai was yummy and we enjoyed a good conversation about theology. Apparently, this building is the tallest 3 story building. Who’d have thought – right here in the Bluegrass!

After dinner, we came back to the rectory and I’m getting ready for an early bed time. I want to be up and out at sun-up to avoid any real traffic on the road as I head the last few miles into Falmouth. It will be a very hilly ride tomorrow, so I am expecting to ride slowly. Even so, I should make it to Falmouth by lunchtime.

As I had written about previously, I am making a pilgrimage to a shrine for St. Dymphna in Massillon Ohio, then continuing to Cleveland to finish my route. St. Dymphna is the patron saint of those who suffer from emotional or mental issues. I am carrying about 30 names of people and praying them along the way.

One resource that I recommend reading if you or a loved one is struggling is “the mighty”: themighty.com.


St. Dymphna, pray for us.

– Dcn. Matt