Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for July, 2008

Whitehall and Hendricksville

Monday, July 21st, 2008

It was hot this weekend, but my finger has been feeling a bit better. I didn’t do as much riding as I would’ve liked, but yesterday, I rode a route that’s new to me on the west side of Bloomington. The route took me through three counties (Monroe, Greene, and Owen) and the small towns of Whitehall and Hendricksville. View the route on Bikely. I even got up earlier than usual (for a weekend, anyway) to be the heat. I was glad that I did — it was brutally hot later in the day.

I started riding around 10:00 am. I felt a little dehydrated at first, so I took my time and drank some extra water. Even at a leisurely pace, it wasn’t long before I was sweating quite a bit. It was hot, and humid. Fortunately, I faced a mild headwind. Normally I don’t like riding into the wind, but in this case the cooling effect was quite welcome, and the wind wasn’t strong enough to force me to increase my effort level much.

Once I got west of where I work, I rode through residential areas for a while and found myself climbing for what seemed like a long time. None of it was too steep, but it seemed like a long way of gradual climbing. Once I crossed State Road 37 on Vernal Pike, I was in a weird part-rural, part-industrial area. In a lot of other parts of Bloomington, once you reach the edge of town it suddenly feels very rural — this was not the case in this area. Instead, there were some fields and some industrial buildings interspersed.

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Vernal Pike

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After a while the industrial buildings stopped and the road started feeling more remote. The sun was very bright and burning strong, and many areas had (ozone?) haze. It was a little unsettling, but also scenic.

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Field, with some haze in the distance

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The corn is getting tall now, and I stopped to get a shot I’ve been meaning to get for a while — my bicycle leaning up against some cornstalks. I’ve done this once before, but that was in the fall, and the corn was dead in that shot.

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My bicycle by some corn

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Silos — I gave this shot the Orton treatment to increase the hazy feeling of the shot

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You can almost feel how strong the sun was from this shot. Plus, more haze.

I generally don’t do well in heat, and I don’t feel I’m acclimated to it yet, either. I have discovered though that by taking a slower pace, I can ride for hours in the heat without getting so exhausted. Sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down (my road bike naturally wants to go fast). I also enjoy the scenery more this way.

I passed a small grocery store and turned on State Road 48. I was a little nervous about this when I saw that the speed limit was 55 mph, but I only saw a few cars the whole time I was on this road, and I wasn’t on it for too long. Also, the speed limit soon decreased to 45 mph, if my memory is correct.  I turned onto State Road 43, which had a lower speed limit and still almost no traffic. It was a fantastic road to ride on, a curvy road with some rolling hills and even some shade.

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State Road 43

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Rickety old barn

I reached the very small town of Hendricksville and saw a diner that had a sign saying something like, “You gotta be tough to eat here!” Needless to say, I’ll be going back sometime to eat at that very macho diner. After Hendricksville I got a little confused. There was a road that I suspected was the one I was supposed to turn onto, but the sign said it was a different road from what was on my map. I rode a bit past it to see if there was another road that was labeled as I expected, but I didn’t find one. I went back and turned onto the road my gut said was right. It didn’t take long for me to figure out I was in the right place.

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Another Orton-enhanced photo

I rode through some fun rolling hills and then labored up a brutal climb on County Road 780 or Gardner Road, whichever it was. Looking at the elevation profile, I think it was around 250-300 feet of climbing. It felt like more, mostly because of the heat. But I think my conditioning has slipped a bit in the past few weeks of my reduced mileage. I really need to ramp up the mileage.

Anyway, once I reached the top of the hill, it was flat briefly and then I was treated to a small, fun descent followed by some great rollers. I was able to carry my momentum through the smaller hills and a few dips in the road made the ride a little silly and a lot of fun.

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Scorching pavement and weeds at the top of the hill

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Rolling hills

I had a little bit of climbing to do, but then I enjoyed a very fast descent down Airport Road. A guy on a motorcycle passed me toward the bottom of the hill. I was going about 35 mph and the guy pulled up beside me, looked at me and gave me a big thumbs up.

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More climbing

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That Road … or Leonard Springs. I’m not sure which.

I had a few other moments of navigational confusion, but at this point I mainly had to get back to town and ride across to the east side. This included riding on the awesomely-named That Road. I enjoyed That, but actually riding through town is never much fun to me. Also, I went by several churches and I was worried I’d get caught in traffic of people leaving church. That’s one of my least favorite situations to get caught in on a bicycle. For some reason people leaving church are always impatient and rude to me. I did see a few people leaving early yesterday who were very courteous. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but is there something about sitting in church for an hour that makes people aggressive?

I love riding on remote country roads, and don’t particularly enjoy riding through town on recreational rides. This explains why I spend a lot more time riding on the east side than the west side (I live on the east side, toward the edge of town). It’s surprising how different the land on opposite sides of town can feel, though, and I should spend more time riding on the west side. I always enjoy it when I do ride there.

Yesterday’s ride, while it was only about 36 miles, took me about 2 1/2 hours. That’s a slow pace for me, at least for solo rides, but I am learning that I tend to enjoy my rides more when I don’t rush things — and I’ll have more energy for the rest of the day, too.

More riding

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Yesterday I did my first commute on my old mountain bike since the accident. (I had already commuted a couple of times on the road bike.) I didn’t have any problems — the bike really seems fine. And it felt great to ride to work again.
After work, I rode a bit over 20 miles on my road bike. No problems with the finger on this ride. It’s still pretty sensitive to bumps, but not too bad. It’ll be interesting to try riding with these “buddy taping” things the doctor gave me now. I’m on the mend, but it’s going to be a long haul. I feel very lucky I can ride.

Damn this finger

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

I had a follow-up visit with the orthopedic surgeon. The good news is, I only have to wear my splint at night now. The bad news is, the doctor says my finger will take 6-9 months to heal. I pretty much broke it in the worst possible place. They gave me some exercises to do to work on mobility, which is pretty poor right now. I can’t straighten my finger, nor bend it very far.

At one point, the doctor also grabbed my hand and pushed my finger back to straighten it out as much as possible. It hurt like hell, but he was able to get it fairly straight that way. When he let go, it went back to being bent. It’s encouraging that while I can’t move it that way myself, at least the joint will allow it. It’s weird how exciting it is to see your finger almost completely straight after having it bent for a few weeks. As I winced in pain, I looked at my finger and thought “COOL!” I doubt I’ll ever be able to get it that straight on my own, though.

The doctor also reiterated that my knuckle is going to be swollen for the rest of my life. This isn’t that big a deal, I guess, but right now it looks like I’ve stashed a walnut in there or something. He said the swelling should go down a little; I’m hoping it goes down a lot.

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