Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for September, 2010

Crooked Creek + Nebo Ridge

Monday, September 6th, 2010

On Saturday, Dave and I headed out for another ride on the Nebo Ridge trail. However, this time we took advantage of the new way we found to get there, last time. This time, we started in the corner of Yellowwood State Forest and rode doubletrack alongside Lake Monroe to a gravel road, which eventually take us to Combs “Road” (really more of a trail in places) and then Nebo Ridge itself. This way, we cut the drive time in half and increase the riding mileage. It’s a win-win situation! Here’s a map.

One advantage to this approach is that the first several miles are flat, whereas from our normal starting point, the first mile+ is uphill. This way, we get to warm up, and it’s a lot nicer that way. Plus, the scenery along the new section is nothing short of amazing, with views of Lake Monroe much of the time. We saw herons, egrets, beaver lodges, geese, tons of butterflies, etc. Here are a few scenes from the first five miles or so.

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Soon we headed up a climb we hadn’t done before, the opposite side of Combs Road from where we’ve ridden before. This is a tough climb, regardless of which way you approach it. But, we made it to the top.

Once at the top of the hill, we connected with the Nebo Ridge trail. I haven’t compared stats, but I didn’t feel quite as fast this time as I did the last time we were here. In fact, during one section, I made a silly mistake. The trail takes you through a number of downhills, each of which is followed by a corresponding climb. During one climb, I didn’t shift quickly enough and I stood to climb, but the hill was just too steep. Despite my efforts, I slowed to a complete stop, and then fell over. I landed in soft dirt and immediately started laughing. Dave asked if I was OK, but I think he could see from my laughter that I was just fine. I wasn’t hurt at all.

Here are a few shots from the trail. There’s a pond that was extremely low. We had a very dry August.

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Aside from that fall, I rode fairly well. Again I didn’t feel as fast as the last time we were here, but we kept a good pace. I was practicing my bunny hopping skills, so any time we had to ride over a log, I tried to jump it instead. In most cases I cleared the logs without either wheel touching. I messed up on the rock garden, but I went back to try again and nailed it on my second try. Overall, I felt pretty good about my riding.

At this point we were at the end of the trail and rode down to the road. We’d follow paved roads very briefly, then gravel, then the other side of Combs “Road,” which again, is more like doubletrack.

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Soon we got to head back down the other side of Combs, and this presented several opportunities to catch some air. I felt a little more comfortable with that after my bunny hopping practice, and hit the jumps with a little more gusto than before. Tons of fun!

Soon we were headed back to the start, now with 4-5 miles of flat riding to wind down. I stopped to snap some shots of the campsite alongside the trail.

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It was another awesome ride. I love the Nebo Ridge trail, and the Crooked Creek extension makes it even better. In the future, we should be able to connect this with even more gravel roads and trails, on both sides.

I remembered my helmet cam on this ride, but unfortunately, I had a bad battery and wasn’t able to use it. Maybe next time!

Small variations make all the difference

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Last night I had a fantastic ride along my regular Water Works route, with only a couple of slight modifications. I rode home via Ramp Creek Road, which added a good downhill and uphill, as well as some rolling hills on Fairfax Road. I also rode the Moore’s Creek Road hill downhill/uphill in the opposite direction from usual. It’s harder this way, but the hard climb felt good. The slight changes to the route made the ride feel very different. Here’s a map.

It was also just a beautiful night; the days are getting shorter but the light is getting better, and while it had been hot during the day, it had cooled off enough by the time I rode that I felt more comfortable on the bike than I had in some time. I also had my red-lensed sunglasses, which make everything look more appealing. I tried to reproduce the effect, again, in my photos.

The ride was routine for a while, but this is one of my favorite routes. It’s just packed with variety. I felt strong on the bike, and I was having a blast! A totally different story from my rather sluggish ride over the weekend.

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Soon I had a big hill to climb. It’s pretty steep for a while in this direction, but it wasn’t too bad. As you can see I’m trying out a helmet mirror. At first I hated it. It’s growing on me now, but I have to say, I rather like Chandra’s DIY helmet mirror. ┬áHis has a much bigger mirror!

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Next was an out-and-back section on Handy Road, which is quite flat. I saw several deer along the way.

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I also got a nice glimpse of the lake. Unfortunately during one section there were clouds of insects in the air and I had to cover my face with one hand to avoid getting them all over my face.

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And then turned around. Now I was heading into the sun which was getting quite low in the sky, but partially obscured by clouds. Enough that it wasn’t blinding me.

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Soon I was headed down Ramp Creek Road. Here I had an insane descent, a hill I’ve climbed a couple of times, but decided it’s best to descend, going this way.

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Almost immediately after this, I had to climb back up. However, the climb in this direction really isn’t too bad.

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After the long, twisty, dark climb through a wooded area, climbing out into the open and seeing flat straight road, and a lot more light, was quite a transition.

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Soon I turned onto Fairfax Road for some medium-sized hills. The road has been paved recently and is buttery smooth. It was bliss.

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This next shot is possibly one of the better ones I’ve gotten recently. It’s worth viewing it large.

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View Large On Black

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After a few rollers and one longer climb, I was home. It was only about a 19-mile ride, but I loved every minute of it.

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