Experimental music, photography, and adventures

A lovely evening ride

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I got home from work a little late yesterday. I’ve been riding my old mountain bike to work the past few days since it’s been raining. I wanted to go for a ride, and I decided to take the old mountain bike and see how it’d do on a bit of a longer ride. I didn’t even take the pannier off as it had the pump and patch kit and whatnot in it and I didn’t want to take the time to transfer them to a smaller bag.

It was in the 50s, with 20 mph winds gusting to 35 mph. I felt those winds even more than usual because of this bike’s upright position. I soon regretted leaving the pannier on as the wind really grabs it and for a while I was having trouble riding into the wind, barely even moving along State Road 45.

Things improved a bit once I turned onto Mount Gilead Road as it’s shielded from the wind a bit. It’s hillier and curvier and surrounded by more trees than 45. I ride on Mount Gilead road often and while sometimes I get a little tired of it, everything looks different now that the leaves are changing and the sun was getting low in the sky. I knew it’d be setting soon, but I wasn’t worried about that since I had lights. So I took some extra time to watch the setting sun and take a few photos. The sky near the sun took on a yellow glow and was speckled with a multitude of small clouds.

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Speckled glow

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You can see how the sun hits only the top of the tree line ahead of me.

The yellow glow crept up as the sun fell, and the winds somehow blew the clouds into a radial pattern as if they were spokes originating near the sun. I have never seen clouds quite like these and was surprised that the clouds changed form so quickly … although with the winds, perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

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Radial clouds

Mount Gilead Road takes you to a high area where you can see far into the distance.

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View from the ridge. I’m not sure what the red flowers in the lower left are.

Then, the road plummets into the valley below. I rode this decent as fast as I could, but my less-than-aerodynamic profile prevented me from going as far as usual. I still picked up enough speed to bring tears to my eyes and to have to hit the brakes pretty hard as I neared the bottom.

I took my time riding through the valley as I was none too excited about the climb up the other side. This bicycle is geared pretty low since it’s intended to be a mountain bike; I knew I could make the climb, but it’s never fun.

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Mount Gilead Road right before the climb

I actually found the climb pretty easy. I even did it in the middle chainring, that’s how low the gears on this bike are. They go way too low, although I suppose they’d be good if the bike were loaded down with a lot of gear. Hmmm …. I might have to test that.

As I came out of the steepest part of the climb, I noticed the sky ahead of me was turning pink. I still had some climbing to do so I continued riding, and as I did, the sky became more and more pink with hints of purple creeping through at times. It looked completely unreal, a Monet-painted sky. By this time everything was basking in a surreal pink glow.

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Changing trees bathed in pink light

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Monet joined me for a few miles on this ride

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Road, fence, sky (I swear this could be oil on canvas)

I was absolutely stunned at what I was seeing — and looking at these photos now, it’s still hard to believe. I have ridden on this road dozens and dozens of times, and it’s never looked like this. To think, if I had let the cool temperatures, waning sunlight, or high winds stop me, I would have missed this spectacle.

A few minutes later, I stopped to take some photos of my bicycle. It was getting pretty dark at this point and I wasn’t sure if the photos would work. But I’d say they did.

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My bicycle by an old shed or something. A building permit was present so I assume they’ll be building something here.

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Another shot of the bike

I turned on to 45 to head home. It was getting dark so I turned on my front light — I had my rear blinking light on this whole time. A couple of cars honked but I didn’t care. I got to see a little more sunset but then the moon became visible and it was nearly full, with the wind blowing clouds across it. The clouds dispersed the moonlight, giving it an eerie glow. This has to be the best sub-1-hour ride I’ve done. Sometimes I wonder if rides that short are even worthwhile; this is proof that sometimes, they are.

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5 Responses to “A lovely evening ride”

  1. Revrunner Says:

    Very nice! Especially the “oil on canvas.”

  2. Sarah Says:

    Your photos from this ride are incredible. It makes me a bit sad I didn’t take you up on your offer to ride with you. Of course, as slow as I am, the sun would have been setting on 10th street. 😉

    Something about the way your handlebars are in the silhouette makes me think of a giant buck looming in the near darkness …

  3. MRMacrum Says:

    I am a slow climber. There was a time when I hated climbing. But then I decided I would like it. I am still slow, but slow is fun too. And now, especially in techinal offroad upstrokes, I just find my sweet spot and spin up. Once I decided to enjoy the upstroke, I became better at it.

    Nice pictorial breakdown of a beautiful afternoon ride.

  4. John Says:

    I’m not a good climber either. It’s a weight thing I’m sure. Racquetball and fitness class this fall in winter is my latest attempt to lose the 20 lbs I orignally gained. That soon turned to 30, then 40 now it’s at 50.

    I’m weighing in at an incredible 230 and I know any day now Richard Simmons will be knocking on my door.

  5. furiousball Says:

    Those shots are amazing bro. I need to take a ride just for some picture taking soon.

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