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Archive for March, 2008

Shaw Lake hike

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Saturday afternoon, Sarah and I went hiking with my friend Dave. We brought our dog Rob and Dave brought his two dogs. I wrote about Dave’s mountain biking accident before, and it’s past time for an update. Dave suffered a spinal cord injury and for a while thought he was going to have to have surgery. When he got a second opinion, that doctor said they should wait for him to heal more first. And now it looks like he probably won’t be having surgery. His condition continues to improve, and now he needs to do some hiking and riding on the trainer to get back in shape and continue healing. The main remaining symptoms for Dave are some pain and numbness in his arms.

We went hiking with Dave a couple of weeks ago and he had trouble with even small hills, but now he’s climbing very well and in fact was moving at quite a clip on Saturday. He even did well bushwhacking through a difficult section with a lot of brush (more on that in a minute). He’s still got a ways to go before he can get back on the bike, but he’s getting there and looks better every time I see him. His progress is very encouraging.

Anyway, we had talked about hiking and Dave suggested the Shaw Lake hike in Yellowwood State Forest. Shaw Lake was drained back in 2002 because the dam was deemed unsafe, but the trail is still more or less there. We arrived to find a lot of logging has been going on there. Mitch Daniels, our current governor, has increased logging in our state forests by 300%, and it’s been quite evident on some of our hikes this year. Apparently, there’s a public input session in a couple of weeks about the logging in the state forests. I hope we can do something about it.

The trail was more like a logging road, really, and it was fairly easy. Dave said he’d been cross country skiing there in the past, and I can see how it’d be great for that. There’s a long, gradual downhill slope that curves only gently.

Heavy logging
Heavy logging

Once at the bottom, we found a clearcut meadow, and there were some of the only aspen trees in Indiana, which unfortunately were dead and falling over.

Dave and the dogs
Clearcut area

After a few minutes, we reached the spot where the lake once was. It was really cool to see it and imagine how it would’ve looked full of water, and then to walk in the former lake bed.

Shaw Lake was once here
Shaw Lake was once here

This creek is all that remains of Shaw Lake

We headed up the opposite side of the ravine and found more logging had blocked the trail. We managed to get through all the brush, but it was pretty challenging.

More logging -- difficult to hike through
The only upside, I guess, is the logging gives you a good view, if you can look past the carnage.

All in all, it was a fun hike, but it was discouraging to see how much logging is happening in our state forests, which I thought were intended to preserve the forests, not cut them down and sell them.

Water works ride

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Saturday was a pretty nice day, the high temperature for the day reaching 47 degrees. It was a great day for a ride, so ride I did, while Sarah was working. I did the Water Works ride, which is a route I ride quite often when the weather is good, but I hadn’t ridden it for a while. I use it as a sort of training ride, typically, but it can be quite beautiful, too.

I wore the Rivendell MUSA Pants my mom got me for my birthday (thanks, mom!) at Sarah’s suggestion (thanks, Sarah!). They are fairly thin nylon and I wasn’t sure they’d be warm enough in this weather, but they were just right. I was very comfortable. These pants are great because they look fairly normal, but they’re a little slimmer on the legs than normal pants and have velcro straps to keep them from getting caught in the chainring. There’s also a strap on the left which can help prevent the pants from trapping air while you ride. The legs are a little longer than usual which suits me just fine, they cover my ankles while I ride better than some other pants I have. These strike a good balance between being good for riding and looking presentable off the bike. And I was a little worried they’d have too much drag on a windy day, but it was windy and the drag wasn’t bad.

These pants rock.

I was feeling a little sluggish all day Saturday and sometimes riding makes me feel more energized, but it didn’t help much this day. But I still had an enjoyable ride. I had more trouble with the hills than I had hoped I would, but my lack of riding due to the crummy weather has taken its toll on me. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get in better shape. Also the roads were very sandy and I had to be extra cautious as I was worried my wheel would wash out in a turn.

Lake Monroe, from Shady Side Dr.
View from Shady Side Dr.

Moore's Creek Rd.
Sandy road

The water level was much higher than it’d been in quite some time, and in places you could see plants had started growing in what had become dry land. It sure was a dry year last year. Now those parts are filling in with water again.

Lake Monroe
Lake Monroe from Moore’s Creek Rd. There’s a layer of ice on the lake.

Moore's Creek joins Lake Monroe
Moore’s Creek joins Lake Monroe

My bicycle by Lake Monroe
My bicycle. Note to furiousBall: you can see here it says “Marilyn is a whore,” not “Van is a whore.”

This area was dry two months ago
This whole area was dry a couple of months ago.

Moore's Creek Rd.

Wheel and ice
Wheel and ice

The climb up Moore’s Creek Road was harder than usual, but I made it. After that it’s fairly easy going back into town, with some rolling hills that provide some challenge, but nothing too big.

February, 2008 cycling recap

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

What can I say? February was brutal. We had snow, ice, rain, freezing rain, and temperatures ranging from single digits to 40s or 50s. I commuted by bicycle through all of it, basically, but aside from a few weekend rides, commutes were my only rides.

Total miles ridden in February: 172.18
Commute miles: 81.60
Road miles: 87.08
Errand miles: 3.5
Mountain biking: None. Too muddy.

Here are some highlights:

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