Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Some quick post-work mixed terrain

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

On Friday, I finished my projects a bit early and went for a bike ride. I wanted to try a different way of climbing Larksville Mountain. In the past, I’ve ridden up Larksville Mountain Road, but this is an extremely difficult way to go. It’s both steep and long — it seems like it’s never going to end. Every time I’ve ridden it, I’ve had to stop at least three times along the way. Looking the terrain map on Google Maps, it appeared to me that Washington Avenue might be a little longer, and seemed to climb up in a gorge carved by Brown’s Creek. This seemed like it might be easier, so I decided to try it. Here’s a map of the options.


View Mountain Road vs. Washington Ave in a larger map

Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew this would be a tough climb. There is simply no easy way to climb 600-800 vertical feet. But Washington Avenue had several advantages. Even though I had to ride further to reach the base of the mountain, I would get some of the climbing out of the way during this time. And the ride to the mountain was quite enjoyable. Furthermore, Washington Ave. topped out at about 1400 feet, versus 1500 for Mountain Rd.

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A climb in Edwardsville

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Looking at the mountain I was about to climb
. It looks unassuming from here, but … not so much.

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Church St.

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One of many trails I spotted alongside the road. These warrant further exploration
.

It was a long, hard climb. I still had to stop a couple of times. It had rained most of the day, so it was very humid and I was dripping with sweat. It was grueling riding, and at a few points I wondered why I was doing this. But I keep telling myself that if I keep climbing these crazy roads, I’ll get in better shape quickly, and then it won’t seem so bad. We’ll see if that holds true or not.

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Beginning the climb

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Steep switchback

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Looking back at the switchback

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Ouch.

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Cemetery

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Looking back toward the valley

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Curvy climbing

Eventually, I reached the top. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that this way (Washington Ave) was easier than Mountain Rd. But then I did the Mountain Rd. climb the next day and now there is no doubt in my mind: Washington Ave. is easier. More on that ride later.

I made my way over to Steele Road for some nice gravel riding. I had ridden on this road before, but I was going in the opposite direction that time. The road was still wet and a little greasy from the rain we had earlier. Just enough to turn my tires red from the gravel, and get things a little dirty. Traction was still good and the surface was solid. It was relatively flat, easy riding for a while. I took my time and enjoyed the scenery.

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Steele Road

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Pond

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Barn

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Creek

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Fields

I stopped at a power line right-of-way to enjoy the view. It’s so great to see everything getting green.

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The Trucker, with Bunker Hill (an adjacent mountain) in the background

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The Trucker

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The descent ahead. Wyoming Valley, where I came from, is visible in the distance.

From here, I had an insane descent down Corby St., a rough, paved road down the mountain. It was fun, but I had to ride the brakes the whole way. I think I will need some better brakes, or at least better pads, for the Trucker. I really have to squeeze the brakes hard on downhills like this.

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Trees and clouds

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Small, abandoned house

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The trucker by some yellow flowers

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Corby St.

The descent was over all too quickly. I had a little climbing to do, and then another descent on a short, steep road, from which I got a nice overhead view of some churches in our neighborhood. It’s interesting to see them from above.

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Myrtle / Periwinkle. I’ve been seeing a lot of this.

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Wyoming Valley, including some churches near us

It was a lovely ride. The climb was gruelling, but overall I was gone less than an hour and a half. It’s cool to be able to catch some nice views and some mixed terrain in a relatively short ride.

2 Responses to “Some quick post-work mixed terrain”

  1. furiousBall Says:

    i’m always impressed at how you find such cool and challenging places to ride

  2. Tim Says:

    Nice pics but the slopes do look awfully tough.

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