Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Finally … a nice, long ride

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Late Thursday afternoon, I learned that the office was going to be closed on Friday for Good Friday. I decided to take advantage of this unexpected time off by going for my first long ride since my foot surgery. Here’s the route I rode.

First I headed downtown to have lunch with my mom. We both work in downtown Bloomington, and eat lunch together every Friday. We had lunch at Bloomington Sandwich Company; we sat where I could keep an eye on my bike, and I saw a couple of people stop and gawk at it. The Trucker’s a great bike, that’s for sure.

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I spotted another interesting bike that I’ve seen around town, after lunch. Of note, it had a built-in LED light in the weird thick top tube. I’ve read about these bikes somewhere before, although I can’t remember where.

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Spring is in the air. Trees are blooming and in fine form. My allergies have been bothering me a lot, but I haven’t let that slow me down. The flowers downtown and through campus were absolutely beautiful.

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Once I got out away from town, the flowers were considerably less impressive. It drove home how landscaped everything in town is.

I rode down the infamous hill on Boltinghouse Road. It’s mostly infamous from a climbing standpoint, as it’s very, very steep for some time. It’s certainly not the longest hill around, or the one with the most elevation gain, but it is very steep. I’ve heard the grade estimated at around 22%.

Here’s a helmet cam video of the descent. You can’t tell this from the video, but I was riding the brakes most of the way down, and I still hit somewhere around 40 mph.

After Boltinghouse, I spent a while on Old State Road 37. I hadn’t planned an exact route, but I was riding in familiar territory and had a pretty good idea what I was going to do. I had a nice tailwind for a long time, which was nice, but gave me some pause, as I knew I’d have a hell of a headwind to fight on the return trip.

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Soon, I reached part of Morgan-Monroe State Forest, and Bryant Creek Lake. I rode out on the dam for a better view. A few people were fishing at various points around the lake.

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I got moving again, climbing up into the State Forest, and rode on the main forest road for a few miles. The smooth, flat road was a nice rolling break from the hills. It was a warm day, but there was plenty of shade in the forest.

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I stopped by a logging area/overlook, where I both reviled and enjoyed the view.

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Soon I stopped at the forest office for some water and visited Cherry Lake.

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I rolled on some more easy forest roads before they turned downhill and fell into disrepair. I took some more video, of the insane descent. Actually there are a few ups and downs, but it’s mostly downhill through here. It’s hard to tell from the video, but the road is quite cracked, smashed, and eroded in various parts. It was a tricky, rough ride down the hill. Once at the bottom I rode across flat fields for a while, with some nice views of the surrounding hills. This video is longer, but hopefully it’s worth it. The best part is the descent at the beginning. One thing I like about the video is that you can get a sense that I was on a rather narrow ridge, and see how it felt to swoop down along the top of the ridge.

Once I was on flat, wide open ground, I was more exposed to both the sun and the wind. It was in the 80s, and I don’t handle heat well. Anything over 80 is pretty hot for me, especially when I haven’t had a chance to get acclimated to it. The stiff headwind had a bit of a cooling effect, but it also sapped my energy and slowed my progress considerably.

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When I decided to take this route down from the State Forest, I did so knowing that it would add several miles to my ride, and, as I told myself at the time, “just one additional hill.” Which was true, but that hill took more out of me than I expected.

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I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get frustrated during my ride home. This was the longest ride I’d done for a while, and I didn’t really ramp up to it. It was great to spend a good portion of the day riding, but the last 20 miles or so were a real slog into the wind.

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Despite my frustrations, I overall felt great. Even though I had had foot surgery just about a month ago, my foot gave me NO trouble on this ride.

Unfortunately, I ran out of water and some of the usual replenishment places had yet to turn their water on (namely, the fire station and Cascades Park). So, I couldn’t get anything to drink until I got back to town. I stopped at a gas station for some water and saw some V8 sitting there. It looked appealing, even though I hadn’t had V8 in years, if ever, and I decided to give it a shot. It was pretty good! It’s nice to discover a new ride beverage choice, especially one that will help replenish electrolytes, but isn’t sweet.

I returned home around 5:30 pm or so, having ridden 56 miles and climbed something like 3,000 feet.

3 Responses to “Finally … a nice, long ride”

  1. Bill Lambert Says:

    Glad to hear you had no foot pain. Now you’ve got some great biking adventures to look forward to!

  2. furiousball Says:

    excellent! glad to see you out for a long one and with no pain 🙂

  3. tim Says:

    Funny. like my recent slog on the QB, those rides look better in hindsight after having conquered the elements. Just think. You’re recovered enough to pull off such a ride and even did some extra miles on the return to make it all happen. Nice stuff.

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