Sorry to cross-post this, but I posted some new photos on my photography blog that I’m particularly proud of. To those of you who follow both my blogs, I apologize for the double-post.
Archive for September, 2011
My school workload is picking up. I haven’t had a chance to write about this excellent ride from last weekend until just now. It’s a shame I haven’t had more time, but at the same time, I find all my classes absolutely fascinating. I love being a student!
Anyway, last weekend, Dave and I went for a road ride. We ended up doing something we’ve done in the past. I rode the 13+ miles out to his house, we rode a loop together (in this case, around 35 miles), and then I rode home. I ended up with over 60 miles and 3600 feet of climbing for the day.
The day was beautiful — nay, perfect. 70 degrees, breezy, sunny, and literally not a cloud in the deep blue sky. But even more amazing was the humidity — a mere 30%! That kind of low humidity is awfully rare around here, and I sure enjoyed it while it lasted.
Amazingly, this ride didn’t include a single new road. We rode some roads in a different configuration from what I’ve ever done in the past, but every road was familiar.
This kind of ride — with the long out-and-back sections at the beginning and end, and 100% familiar roads, makes it easy to put in some long miles without feeling like I’m doing an epic ride. It’s easier, physically and mentally, than a 60-mile ride in the boonies in new terrain. There’s something to be said for both kinds of riding, but this day was just an excellent day to turn the pedals for a few hours, with great conversation, worry-free.
Fall is starting to arrive. Some trees have started turning already, and some fields are a beautiful golden yellow color. It’s a wonderful time of year.
On my way out to Dave’s, I had a headwind most of the time.
Once Dave and I connected, it was wide open road for a while.
There are a couple of climbs lined with limestone walls like this one.
We rode up to Morgan-Monroe State Forest. There are a few good hills along the way, but once you are in the forest, it’s easy, gently-rolling, perfectly smooth asphalt, with deep shade from dense forest. It’s a wonderful respite from the climbing, at roughly the halfway point in the ride.
Our bikes couldn’t be more different, but you’d be surprised at how well Dave keeps up with my road bike on his full-suspension bike. If he ever gets a proper road bike, I’ll be in trouble.
We enjoyed rolling down Bean Blossom Road. This is more or less a 1.8-mile downhill. If you ride the Hilly Hundred, a popular annual ride, you’ll ride UP this hill. I’ve done it, but when left to my own devices, I always, always opt to ride down it instead of up.
Then it’s a flat valley for a few minutes.
Dave suggested we take North Shore Road to extend our ride and loop around Lake Lemon. It’s been a few years since I rode North Shore from west to east, and I think I have changed my opinion of this road. I used to think it was better going east to west, but now I think west to east may in fact be better. Either way you go, it’s quite hilly.
We only got a brief glimpse or two of Lake Lemon. I had to stop when I saw all these huge lillypads.
Below, you can see a tree that’s changing a little bit. Soon these trees will be ablaze with color.
The area surrounding the creek, below, was flooded badly, but they appear to be making good progress on cleaning up and rebuilding.
We usually take South Shore to ride across the causeway, and see more of the lake, but we decided to take State Road 45 back instead. It was a shockingly quiet day, and even the highway was incredibly empty. I think everyone must have been indoors, watching the IU football game, or actually at the game (there was a home game that day).
Dave went home and I stopped for a minute to get a shot of the little post office in Unionville. A couple of big logging trucks went by, full of logs probably taken from Yellowwood State Forest.
I had an excellent tailwind the whole way home and finished the ride on a strong note, feeling great and enjoying the push after having a headwind so much of the day.
It was a great ride! I was hoping to get to ride some evening after class/work, but I just didn’t have time. Tomorrow, though, I get to go mountain biking with Dave and Tim. The forecast looks iffy, but it should be another great day on the bike.
The week before last, we had temperatures in the 90s, tipping topping out at nearly 100 on Saturday. All of a sudden the temps dropped and we had cloudy, drizzly days most of last week, in the 50s-60s. Some of my favorite weather, really.
Now we seem to be in a middle ground — in the upper 80s the next couple days, lows around 60.
This weekend was a total loss though, I spent Saturday throwing up and otherwise feeling miserable due to what must have been a nasty combination of a hangover and food poisoning. It was truly awful. Sunday I was much better, but still dehydrated and weak … I tried to keep it a restful day, spent recuperating, with a little cleaning around the house.
My mountain bike is now fixed again, I ended up having the shop upgrade my rear brake to an Avid BB7, instead of the BB5 I had before. I haven’t had a chance to try it out, but I’m excited.
I had a couple hiccups with the LHT, the first being a flat tire. I lucked out — I walked out after work and found my front tire flat. It was hot that day but I just sat in the shade and calmly changed the tube, rather than fighting with it by the side of the road. The hole was right by the valve stem, so there was no patching it.
The shifting is getting fidgety on the LHT, as well. I’ve made some adjustments, but the problem seems to be getting worse. So, I just threw my barend shifter in friction mode, and it has been a lot better. In fact, I’m rather liking the improved control I get with friction shifting.
Unfortunately, I think my cassette may be wearing out. The brakes are also not quite right, and my front shifter is stiff. The bike needs work, and it may need a professional’s touch at this point. I’ve done a good job of keeping it tuned up for a while, but it’s getting to a point where it just needs more than I can confidently do. At this rate, I’d say it definitely needs a good solid tuneup before winter strikes, if not sooner. That’s probably a good idea, anyway, I suppose.