Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Sickler, Krispen, Atherholt

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I’ve been in a bit of a rut, cycling-wise. It’s been raining nearly every day, and my wildly fluctuating workload means I’m either working really hard on the projects I do have, or (during slow times) trying to drum up more work. I took a break from riding over the weekend and still felt like I was in a bit of a slump.

But yesterday, I managed to get out for a ride. I wanted to revisit an area from this ride, but rode a bit of a different route. I also rode the route in the opposite direction, and explored a side road I have ridden by dozens of times but never ridden on. Here is the route I rode.


View Sickler, Krispen, Atherholt 07/08/2009 in a larger map

My ride started with the Bunker Hill climb. This is always tiring, but I did a bit better than I expected, given how little riding I’ve done lately. It’s just a really long climb. I was curious whether I would be able to see the effects of the last week’s mudslide. I sure did — a bare mud surface where the slide had occurred, and a damaged guardrail.

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Seeing this shook me up a bit. I ride on this road frequently, and in fact Sarah and I were driving up it shortly after the mudslide happened. It’s a good reminder to be careful. If someone had been on the road, in that spot, at the wrong time, the results could have been disastrous.

The sky was wild during this ride. Some parts of the sky were clear and blue, other places had white, puffy clouds, and other areas still had dark, ominous clouds. Some areas had all three features in one place.

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I rode down Carverton Road, climbed 8th Street, and got on Mt. Olivet Road. Then it was another climb up Sickler Road.

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Sickler Road is interesting because there’s a good-sized climb, and then it flattens out briefly, and then goes into some rolling hills. I thought I remembered part of it being gravel, but either I’m not remembering correctly, or they paved it.

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After that was a bit of flat riding, and soon I reached the view I had enjoyed so much last time I was out in this area.

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The road is visible in the distance

I also had some nice views of part of Abraham’s Creek that really is more like a lake. But it’s listed as a creek on every map I’ve looked at.

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The roads were routine for a while, so I didn’t take many more photos. This ride had more climbing than I expected, although I shouldn’t be surprised. These roads were challenging last time I rode in this area, too.

On my way back home, as I climbed Dug Road up the back side of Bunker Hill, I spotted Atherholt Road, which I have ridden past many times but never paid much attention to. I decided it was time to see what was there. I knew it looped back around to Bunker Hill Road, so it would only add 1-2 miles to my ride.

I’m glad I checked it out. It was a nice way to add more variety to the ride. It passed a couple of farms, at one of which I was greeted by some roosters and a barn cat. They crossed the road quite brazenly right in front of me, and one very vocal rooster crowed at me the whole time. Meanwhile, the cat ignored me completely.

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I enjoyed some nice views looking to the north. This was a pleasant surprise — there are some nice views of the Wyoming Valley to the south when descending Bunker Hill Road, but there are fewer opportunities to get views to the north. In the second shot below, you can make out the steeple of a church that I had ridden past earlier in the ride.

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Even though I had been in a cycling rut, this ride felt wonderful and made me feel a lot better about riding in general. A couple of minor route alterations mixed things up and exploring Atherholt Road reminded me that there are plenty of unexplored roads right along my usual routes. And the excellent scenery didn’t hurt, either.

I rode just over 21 miles, with over 2400 feet of climbing.

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