Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2010

Ride around Lake Lemon

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

On Saturday, I rode around Lake Lemon with Dave. This was a paved-road ride, and Dave is more of a mountain biker, so this was a bit different. I rode my Long Haul Trucker, and he put slick tires on his full-suspension Cannondale Prophet mountain bike. The bike disparity certainly put him at a disadvantage, but he rode very well despite this.

I rode to Dave’s house before the ride (7.5 miles or so). It was rather foggy, and the roads were wet. It was a weird week; the roads were wet all week, even on days when it didn’t rain. It was just VERY humid. It was also a very warm day, in the 40s. It may have even topped out around 50. It felt luxurious to ride without a ton of layers of clothing.

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I got to Dave’s house, and we rolled out, right down a big hill to Lake Lemon. The water level was very low, and we saw a couple of people with a high-end video camera taping a group of riders. I wonder what that video was for. The lake looked especially beautiful, with the fog.

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After debating which way to do the loop, we started riding, counter-clockwise. This is the way I prefer to do the loop … but each direction has its challenges. Going counter-clockwise, there’s one VERY steep hill, but it’s over before long. Going the other way you suffer for a lot longer, even if it’s not as steep.

We rode across the causeway.

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After this, we rode around to the other side of the lake, and over some rolling hills. Then, up the very difficult hill described above.

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As we made our way along the north side of the lake, Dave suggested we make a trip over to the spillway. I’d never been to this part of Lake Lemon before; it was rather small, given the size of the lake. We saw a couple of Great Blue Herons and some geese, and had some nice views to other parts of the lake. I had ridden very close to this spot many times before but never knew it was there.

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We headed back toward the main road.

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Once there, we had a few more hills, and then we reached a flat road for a few miles. We enjoyed the easier cruising on flat ground, after all the hills.

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But, it wasn’t completely flat.

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We turned onto another road, where we had quite a bit of climbing to do. It was very steep toward the bottom, and got easier after that, but it sure was a lot of climbing. Along the way, I took a photo of my favorite sign in the area …

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NO TRESPASSING
VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT
SURVIVORS WILL BE SHOT AGAIN.

Once we finished climbing that hill, it was just a few more miles back to Dave’s house, and then another 7.5 miles home. My total for the ride was about 37 miles.

This was a great ride. It was a route I’d done before, but not for a very long time. It was cool to do a road ride with Dave for a change, I love the gravel/mountain bike rides we usually do, but this was fun, too. And now I have a new spot to go to, the spillway.

It felt great to do some more road riding, I haven’t done enough of it recently.

A foggy ride, and a new home

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I planned a long road ride on Sunday, but I’ve just been super busy, so I decided to shorten it. I still managed to ride about 27 miles in 30ish degree temperatures, so I really don’t feel bad about that.

I headed out, to an area where I haven’t ridden much. Partially, I wanted some variety, but there were other reasons for going to this particular area, which will become clear momentarily. It was a cool, foggy day, predicted to get into the mid-40s, but it never got there; I think the actual high was right around 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

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I rolled through town, mostly through neighborhoods. Riding the Trucker was an absolute dream compared to the beater I ride to work, which has studded tires to boot. I was excited becauseĀ  I was exploring part of what will becomeĀ  my new commute (assuming everything goes well). You see, we put an offer on a house — sale is pending. Pretty exciting stuff! On a side note, buying a home is an extremely complicated process, made even more complex because of a federally-backed loan and another government program on top of that. But this will all pay off in a very, very low interest rate.

Anyway, my new commute will be about twice as long as the old one. So my commute will now be 5-6 miles. I fully expect the Trucker will see a lot more commuting duty, my heavy old beater is up to the task but not exactly ideal. I’ll still ride the beater in bad weather.

I was riding to the new house, and most of the ride there was quite pleasant, through rather quiet neighborhoods. I’ll have to check out the part of the ride that goes downtown, but I’m feeling good about this new ride. It’s longer and hillier than my current commute, but that may even be a good thing.

Here are a few shots of the new house. Technically it’s a townhouse, but it’s only connected to one other house, and the neighborhood just feels like a normal neighborhood, not a big complex. Ours is the left half.

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More on the house later … more about the ride now. I had planned a 42-mile route, but as I said, I didn’t really have a lot of time. So rather than head out of town on the west side, I turned back toward the east and rode over to do one of my usual training rides, the Water Works route. I’m happy to say that this route will still be easily accessible from the new location.

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I had some great views of a foggy, frozen-over Lake Monroe for a couple different points in the ride.

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I headed back toward our current home.

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I’m excited about our new house. Admittedly, I have some trepidation about the fact that it’s on a different side of town; my riding area is going to change a bit. This means some of my current favorite riding spots will be an additional six miles away or so (Yellowwood State Forest, in particular). But on the other hand, the west and south sides will be more accessible. It will be interesting to become better acquainted with these areas.

Of course, this all depends on the house purchase going through. Wish us luck!

In search of a pond

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

On Saturday, Dave and I went hiking at Yellowwood State Forest. He had spotted something on the satellite view in Google Earth that looked like an undiscovered pond, so we set out to see if we could find it.

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We started on a horse trail, and hiked up a hill. Once on the ridge, we bushwhacked down into a ravine. We saw a creek at the bottom, and worked our way down. Along the way, we saw bare spots where turkeys had made their beds.

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We didn’t find a pond, instead, we followed another, very muddy horse trail out to a nice view of the lake.

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We turned around and got on another trail … just because we didn’t find the pond didn’t mean we couldn’t hike more.

We climbed a bigger hill on the 10 O’Clock Line Trail, a 14-mile trail that ends in Brown County State Park. Once we reached the top of the hill, we followed some horse trails for a while on some narrow ridges.

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We looked through the trees and thought we spotted a pond. Dave got out his binoculars and it was pretty clear there was SOME kind of water down there. We couldn’t tell if it was a wide creek or a small pond, and the ravine was too steep to go down and check.

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We got to the bottom and followed the road back to the car, getting some more views of the lake.

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Later, we looked at my GPS and realized we had been pretty close to the water we spotted from the top of the ridge. We just turned the wrong way. Next time, we’ll be able to go there and see if there is, in fact, a pond.

It was a fun hike of about three miles, with a couple of good climbs and some great scenery. And it was great to see Dave, I hadn’t hung out with him since before Christmas since he was sick, and we’ve both been busy.

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