Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for June, 2010

Ride Around Lake Monroe

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

On Sunday, I decided to do the Ride Around Lake Monroe. It’s a great route, a little shorter from our house than it was from our apartment. It was around 36 miles, very hot, and hilly.

Not much commentary other than that. Let’s try the photos in a slideshow. Let me know if you like this better or worse than putting all the photos in the post. Note: if you are viewing this in a feed reader, you might have to click over to my site to see the slideshow.

A recipe for sore legs in only 21 miles

Friday, June 25th, 2010

I put together an interesting route southwest of town to revisit some roads I had only ridden once, and to explore some new roads as well. I knew this would be a hilly route, but I underestimated it. The temperature was 90 degrees with a heat index of around 100 when I set out, which made things more difficult. Here’s the route I rode — 21 miles and over 1800 feet of climbing, according to RideWithGPS.

I rode part of the route that I rode as the last ride before my foot surgery, but I also tacked on some new roads. I enjoyed Bolin and Rockport roads again, and rode by the Independent Limestone Company.

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Then I turned onto May Road. This was new to me, and offered relentless rolling hills, which generally trended upward. Looking at the elevation profile, I can see that no one hill was very large, but there were quite a few of them all in a row, getting bigger as I went along. And, as I mentioned, it was very hot. This was tough riding.

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Even though I was only a few miles from town, the area felt very wild and remote. I worked my way over to Kirksville Road, which was flat for a while before climbing up to the tiny town of Stanford, IN.

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As soon as I reached Stanford, I looped back toward town, a brief stint including a big climb on Burch Road.

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From the top of the climb, I got some great views which only improved as I rolled along further.

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I soon turned onto Evans Road. I was tempted to continue on Burch to see where it went, but I will have to return to explore that another time.

Evans was another tough roads with some sharp ups and downs, although a flat section did allow a little respite.

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I made my way over to Koontz Road. Koontz was another gem, with a long line of rolling hills, but this time the overall elevation trend was in my favor, and I enjoyed an awesome roller coaster ride for a couple of miles.

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I went down a long hill on Rockport and made my way back via Tramway Road, another road I had ridden before which is absolutely fantastic. It climbs a little but offers some very nice views. The moon is visible in some of these shots, if you look closely.

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I wanted to photograph some great hay bales, but a dog gave chase and I was forced to press on. From this point I was almost back to town. I’m amazed at how close to town some of these beautiful and rugged areas are. I love riding in this area and can’t wait to explore it more.

Getting in over my head

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

On Sunday, I decided to ride with some people from the Bloomington Bicycle Club. They were planning to ride the 80-mile ride Cordry-Sweetwater Lakes route, so I thought I’d tag along and see how it went. I figured it would be good training for the upcoming Ride Across INdiana (RAIN) ride, which I signed up for (all the way across Indiana from west to east — 160 miles — in one day).

I guess I didn’t realize what I was getting into. At first it seemed fine; the pace was faster than I’m used to, but doable. Really, I did pretty well for about the first 40 miles. At that point, I started slowing down, but they showed no signs of letting up. I managed to hang on, by a thread, until about mile 50 or so. At that point I dropped back considerably. By the time I reached the lunch stop in Nashville at mile 60, I was way behind.

I could have made it the 20-30 miles home, but I was really suffering. It was really hot, and I knew I couldn’t sustain their pace. I decided to pull the plug, and called my wife to come pick me up. I could have limped home at my own pace, but that didn’t sound too appealing.

So, I rode 60 miles for the day. Still respectable. The kicker is, my average speed was nearly 17 mph! This is VERY fast for me, especially for a long ride with plenty of hills. Here’s a map.

The BBC riders were very kind and welcoming, but philosophically, we couldn’t have been more different. I like to stop frequently, take photos, check out the scenery, etc. They just like to ride, stopping as little as possible. We only stopped twice in the 60 miles before lunch. By the way, I’m not complaining; it was illuminating to try a different style of riding. And, it felt good to push myself more than usual.

I think next time I’ll try one of their Saturday rides. Apparently these have more riders and break up into faster/slower groups. Hopefully I can find some other riders who are more my pace.

On our way out of Bloomington, we took Kerr Creek Road down from State Road 46 — a first for me. This is a fantastic downhill with some twists and turns. The valley was cool, but very humid. My mirror fogged up as soon as we reached the bottom of the hill.

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We had to cross this under-construction area very carefully.

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For a while, it looked like rain was imminent. It never materialized.

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Once we got past this point, the roads were new to me.

The sun came back out …

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The lakes were just beautiful.

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The route got flatter for a while …

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I started losing ground …

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I would love to spend more time out in the Cordry/Sweetwater Lakes area. I spotted some gravel roads out of the corner of my eye as we flew through here. In particular, those would be worth exploring sometime.

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