Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Paragon

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I’ve been on a mountain biking/gravel-roads-on-the-mountain-bike kick. But on Sunday, I was feeling the need to stretch my legs on a longish road ride. I decided to do a modified version of the Paragon route, which I have done before. Here’s  a map.


View 2009-12-13 Paragon.kml in a larger map

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The day was cool (upper 30s), grey and dreary. I actually really enjoy riding on overcast days. There’s no need to wear sunglasses, and they can seem moody, in a good way.

The first few miles were flat, as I rolled through town. I was immediately glad I had fenders on my bicycle. It wasn’t raining, but the streets were wet from rain earlier in the day. The streets were oddly deserted, with few cars and no other bicycles to be seen.

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I rode through Cascades Park, past a Tibetan Monastery, up a big hill, and past a golf course. Gradually, I left the city behind.

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I crossed State Road 37, a busy highway, and then I had really reached country roads.

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I rode down a big hill, and once in the valley I enjoyed some flat riding for a few miles. Creeks levels were high, and some fields were flooding from all the rain.

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All of this flat, easy cruising lulled me into a false sense of security. I rode about four miles with just a few small hills, and got to thinking, “Hey, this is easy!” No sooner had I had that notion when I hit some hills. The road climbed some 200 feet, plunged back down another 200 feet, and then back up again.

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Once I reached the top of the second big hill in two miles, I had a couple more miles of flat riding, this time on top of a ridge.

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I came to a point where I had to choose whether to go on an out-and-back section to the small town of Paragon, or continue on my way. I opted not to go to Paragon. I didn’t need more water, and didn’t feel I needed to add more mileage to the ride.

I rode on Paragon Road, back to cross State Road 37 again. The scenery was lovely, with some fields, wooded areas, flatlands, and hills.

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Once I crossed 37 again, I was in Morgan-Monroe State Forest. I’ve ridden here many times, except this time I took a small detour to ride down some excellent gravel on Jack Weddle Road.The gravel road was relatively smooth, but very greasy from the rain. I heard numerous gunshots as I rode through this area … hunters in the state forest. I saw a deer carcass that someone had left by the side of the road. Sad.

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The rest of the ride was on familiar roads, but they looked different from usual on this ride, thanks to the dreary day and wet conditions, including a little flooding on Anderson Road.

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My route had me stopping by Lake Griffy, always a beautiful place. The lake had a thin layer of cracking ice on top of it, despite the rain and the rather warm conditions. The water level was high, almost up to the boat dock.

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It was getting dark at this point, so I turned my lights on.  Within a few miles, I was home.

This ride started out deceptively easy, and had several easy sections in the middle, but overall there were about seven large climbs. So, it was plenty challenging. It felt great to hit the open road for a few hours; the conditions were really quite wonderful, and I enjoyed the solitude.

3 Responses to “Paragon”

  1. Errin Says:

    Wow, what a great area to live in. We don’t have scenery like this so close to home. I love the pics of the gravel roads. Looking forward to more!

  2. Chris Says:

    Nothing wrong with a dark, cloudy day if you know what to do with it.

  3. Tim Says:

    Although we missed you it looks like you used last Sunday to good effect. Gotta always enjoy the gravel. And the overcast conditions, to me, make for really crisp images. I like that.

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