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Archive for the 'Mixed Terrain' Category

Not much riding this weekend

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I was hoping to get out for a long ride this weekend, but I have multiple large projects going on simultaneously for school, so I almost didn’t get to ride at all.

I was in a rotten mood earlier today. After spending some time with my wife, while simultaneously working on a photography project, I started feeling a bit better. Then, I managed to sneak out  for maybe 30-45 minutes on the singlespeed. It wasn’t a long ride, but it helped clear the mind and I felt ready to focus on my next project afterwards. Sometimes, it’s surprising how much even a little ride helps.

I’ve made some changes to the singlespeed. The Brooks B17 wasn’t working for me, so I took the saddle off my 29er and put it on the singlespeed. It’s a lot better, although this saddle isn’t great if I’m not wearing biking shorts. So, I still need to figure out the best course of action.  The saddle change also forced a saddle bag change. This saddle will need to go back on the 29er, so I’ll have to buy a saddle for the singlespeed; now I’m leaning toward a WTB like I have on the Trucker.

I also put clipless pedals on it. They’re OK, but my foot placement feels a little awkward. I feel like I’m sitting too far back, maybe, even though the saddle is as far forward on its rails as it will go. This problem might actually be related to the stem, which I haven’t been able to change yet — it’s too long.

Those issues are noticeable, but I really wasn’t bothered by them, or even thinking about them, during my ride. I “just rode” for probably eight miles or so. I didn’t even bring the GPS, which is unusual for me, even on a short ride. Here are a couple of photos from the ride. I was in the 50s today so it killed me that I couldn’t ride longer, but I made the most of the time I had.



Muscatatuck – Crosley with RCCS

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Saturday was the 200km brevet, which Tim and I had decided not to ride. Instead, I rode in the Seymour, IN area with River City Cycling Society. In addition to Tim and David, we had a couple of other riders show up from the Louisville area, Kirk and Cathy. We rode 47 miles of mixed terrain, starting in Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, and working our way over to Crosley State Fish and Wildlife Area. Here’s a map of our route.

Starting at Muscatatuck NWR gave us great scenery, and gravel, from the very start. Even just on the drive there, we all saw an entire field full of sandhill cranes. Beautiful!

We headed out under blue skies, with temperatures probably in the 40s. This was also my birthday ride, of sorts, and I rarely get to ride in these kind of pleasant conditions around my birthday.





We stopped off to visit the beautiful Stanfield Lake. We rode out onto a small, floating pier to get a better view.



Before we left, we saw an otter running along shore. I didn’t get any photos of the otter, sadly.

Soon we were rolling again, reveling in the warm sun and the beauty surrounding us



Here are Kirk and Cathy, a couple, both strong riders. This was their first RCCS ride. They were both on mountain bikes. I very much enjoyed riding with them — they both had positive, adventurous attitudes and seemed to be up for anything.



After a bit, we came across another beautiful, small lake.



Here’s where the riding started to get a little more interesting. The “road” we were on reached this gate.


We took a brief break and then went around the gate. On the other side was grassy doubletrack. Cathy said, “Oh, we’re going offroad?” I think that at this point she started to get a better idea of what an RCCS ride is like. She seemed to enjoy it.


This next shot is blurry from shooting while riding on a bumpy surface, but gives some idea of the experience.


After a bit the trail reached a paved road. We headed south, then east. We were mostly headed into the wind for a while. The wind wasn’t overly strong, but it was noticeable.




The terrain was a lot of fun — moderately rolling hills, enough to make things fun, but no grueling climbs.



We saw a lot of dogs on this ride.  If you enlarge the photo below, you can see several of them chasing us. Fortunately it was all in good fun, none actually seemed to be aggressive.


The hills got  a bit bigger as we headed east.


The road surface alternated between paved and dirt. This particular narrow dirt road was especially lovely.






Soon, the scenery would change from wide open field space …


… to enclosed, and heavily wooded forests, as we entered Crosley State Fish and Wildlife Area. Crosley was bigger than I expected, and offered many miles of wonderful flowing dirt roads. We also noticed a number of side roads, fire roads and trails branching off from the roads we were on. This area definitely warrants further exploration, probably with mountain bikes.



Another narrow dirt road took us down to Crosley Lake.


Smiles abounded.



The lake portion was an out and back. After we headed back we found more absolutely stunning, flowing, narrow dirt roads through the forest.


Including a creek crossing, and some rock formations.



And an incredibly narrow iron bridge over the Muscatatuck River. This is probably the narrowest large iron bridge I’ve seen that was intended for motor vehicle traffic. Definitely a one-lane affair.




By way of more gravel and paved roads …



… we made our way into the small town of Vernon, Indiana. The liquor store was the most convenient place for us to stop and get water and snacks, so that’s what we did. We were all quite amused by this sign.


The courthouse, right across the street, was beautiful.


Here is Kirk’s bike. It seems like a practical rig for a ride like this — a rigid, steel mountain bike with slick tires.


Cathy’s bike was a hardtail. Again, fitting for a ride like this.


Here are the other three bikes — David’s LHT, my LHT, and Tim’s Bleriot.


We turned around to head back.



At this point, I filled up my SD card, so I don’t have any more photos.

The ride back was wonderful. It was similar in some ways but we had the wind at our backs at least part of the time, and the return trip was mostly paved, rolling terrain, which allowed us to cover ground more quickly, and the flow of the roads was just phenomenal. Great riding all around.

Tim and I noticed several excellent-looking gravel side roads along the way. We’ll have to return and explore this area more fully.

This ride was an absolute blast. During the ride, Tim and I mentioned a couple of times the 200k that we had planned on riding, but we both felt we had made the right decision not to do it. We enjoyed ourselves fully the whole time on this ride, instead of what we can only imagine would have been all-day suffering in the 200k.

This ride had it all: beautiful scenery, wildlife, flowing paved roads, wild dirt roads and trails, a small town stop, and great company.


Monday, February 21st, 2011

I had a fantastic weekend.

Saturday: 47 miles of mixed terrain with RCCS.

Sunday: Photography.

Sunday evening: Birthday dinner, cake, presents (my birthday is, in reality, today).

More coming later, once I have a chance to work with the photos. I plan on experimenting with some Photoshop techniques. I think I’ll get good results (see first photo above) but it may take a while.

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