I had been planning on doing a long ride on Sunday. I had even considered riding a century, but when the alarm went off in the morning, I was not ready to get up. I set it back a couple of hours. I had a backup plan, but then my friend Dave texted me to ask if I was up for a ride. That sounded better than any of the ideas I had come up with, so I said yes. And, I rode out to Dave’s house, around 15 miles away.
This worked out very well. It was an odd feeling though at the end of the day, riding a metric century (62 miles) but not really feeling like it was an epic ride. It was really 62 miles of just riding around: to Dave’s house, a solid loop with him, and then taking the scenic/fun route home. Here is a map of the day’s riding, (with a few privacy edits):
Everything about the day was moderate: the route wasn’t super hilly. The temperature was mild, with a high temperature in the 50s. My pace was brisk, but not insane. It was, however, an absolutely gorgeous day, with not a cloud in the sky.
Here are a few shots from the ride out to Dave’s.
I was using a new saddle bag, the Medium Saddle Bag from Minnehaha Bags. I got this a while ago on uber sale, but had not yet tried it. I had some issues. More on this in a later post.
I knew Mount Gilead Road had undergone some construction, and had a new bridge. The bridge was quite nice but the real surprise was that they repaved part of the road, which previously was incredibly rough. It’s buttery smooth now.
After I got to Dave’s house, I shed a few layers, and we headed out rather quickly. There was more fall color remaining in some areas than we expected.
We rolled through bits of the always-beautiful Yellowwood State Forest.
And soon, turned onto Lick Creek Road. I had been on this road once or twice before, but not recently. The road was flat for a while through a beautiful valley.
Soon we made the climb up to another road which took us over to Carmel Ridge Road. These were new roads for me for a while, and they were wonderful. The road surface was rough in places, but riding through these shady woods on a cool, sunny fall day was fantastic.
We noticed an unusual number of ponds in people’s yards along the way.
Stands of green pines contrasted with colorful hardwoods and other already-bare trees in a beautiful display of color.
We reached a trailhead for the long-distance Tecumseh hiking trail and stopped for a snack.
The ride was amazing. Given the extreme amount of climbing and rough “road” surfaces I’ve experienced on some recent rides, it felt like I was absolutely flying. The miles just melted away. Carmel Ridge had some very fun descending that contributed to this feeling.
We flew around a corner and Indian Hill stunned us, looming before us with quite a bit of color. Sadly I did a poor job of capturing this below.
We faced a bit of a climb …
… and before we knew it, we were crossing Lake Lemon. The wind was really in our faces at this point. It slowed our progress considerably.
Not to worry, we took advantage of our slower pace to look out over the lake.
Damn. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Soon we made the big climb back up to Dave’s house. Dave invited me to top off the water bottles, and pet the dogs for a few minutes. Then, I was off.
Carmel Ridge Road had reminded us a bit of Shilo Road, so now I had a hankering to go ride down Shilo. It’s a wonderful extended descent, actually there are some rolling hills in there as well, but there are a lot of fun downhill sections with crazy twists and turns.
Right along the edge of some ravines.
Soon I was on Anderson Road. Now, Mount Gilead Shilo, Anderson, and some others are all roads I used to ride on frequently when we lived on the east side of town. Now, I don’t make it out there very often, so I especially enjoyed it this time around.
I found a rather unpleasant surprise, however.
It’s good to be on a bike! I just rode right under this thing.
And then I was headed back toward town on Old State Road 37, another favorite.
I rode through Cascades Park, where the empty baseball diamonds appeared a bit eerie.
The park is always beautiful. Today was no exception. Or maybe it was exceptional.
Soon I was on my way home. I took one of my commute routes home, which we will call the “short cut with traffic” route. Of course on a Sunday afternoon there was little traffic to be found. Here is one of several good-sized hills on this particular commute route.
All told, an excellent day of riding. I had a blast “just riding around,” and I’m glad I got to ride with Dave. It also felt great to ride the Bianchi a significant distance — that bike has been rather neglected lately.