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Archive for the 'Road Biking' Category

Still here …

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s been over four months since I posted anything here. It’s a travesty!

I’m still here, but school and my contract work have been keeping me busy. I haven’t been riding much. I was at least commuting most of the time through late February, but then I got out of the routine of commuting by bicycle for most of March. I did manage a couple road rides during that time, but nothing else. Instead of riding to class, I took the bus a lot, and sometimes even drove (due to an odd set of circumstances, we ended up with a second car, so driving is an option for me now, although parking is expensive near campus).

A number of my bike/blog friends are doing 30 Days of Biking during April, that is, riding every single day in April. I’m not doing that, but I have at least started commuting every day again. I’m a creature of habit, and I feel like I’m already back in my riding routine.

One thing that is interesting to note is that there is a massive amount of construction in Bloomington right now. Anywhere you drive, the construction is an obstacle. However, my bike commute route is completely unaffected. I guess those low-traffic roads just don’t need as much work, and they are less likely to be undergoing “improvement.”

I’ve also been having a few health issues, nothing serious but enough to prevent me from riding at times. Nothing serious, I think, but I have a doctor’s appointment coming up, so hopefully we can figure out some of the problems I’ve been having.

School is great, I’m loving it and learning a whole lot. It is, however, sapping all my energy. I almost got out for a ride on Sunday but then had to spend the day working on stuff for a project. I’m hoping I can get out for something more than a commute soon.

 

Christmas Eve ride

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

On Christmas Eve, Dave and I had planned on riding. It was almost another aborted ride, as my dog Rob got sick in the morning and Sarah and I had to take him to the vet (he seems to be doing OK now). The only time the vet had available was  during the short window Dave had to ride. But I talked to him after the vet and he said he schedule had opened up. So, we were able to ride!

Neither of us had ridden much for a while, so we decided on about a 27-mile route and moseyed the whole way. This ride was exactly what I needed: a relaxing ride, not too tough in terms of distance or pace. Though there was a decent amount of climbing, it was much easier at our relaxed pace.

It was an unseasonably warm day, probably in the upper 40s. And sunny skies. Aside from a little wind, it was a fantastic day for a ride. We rode a subset of this ride, but we did the loop in the opposite direction. So there were no new roads, but we rode some in a new direction.

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Carmel Ridge Road was one highlight, but in this direction, it was mostly climbing.

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These folks had their own private bridge. The sign over it read “Rodgers’ Bridge over Branstetter Hollar.” Nice.

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As time wore on, the shadows grew longer.

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Somewhere along the way, Dave’s knee  started acting up. And then his other knee. He has had some knee problems on and off for a while now, and they certainly were bothering him on this ride. I think it may have hampered his ability to enjoy the ride … which is too bad because I found it very fun and relaxing.

We passed some very interesting barns and cabins.

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Another highlight of the ride came after a nice long descent on Lick Creek Road, as the road traversed flat creek bottoms for a couple of miles, following Lick Creek for a while.

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We passed this huge house with a beautiful pond in front of it, somewhere along State Road 45.

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We saw some lovely hills along Indian Hills Road.

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Soon w were approaching Lake Lemon.

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The sun set as we rode across the causeway on the lake.

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Just one last (killer) hill, and we were back at Dave’s house, where we started our ride. A great end to a great ride. Rides have been too few and far between, but I am certainly enjoying them, when the opportunity arises.

 

A beautiful late summer road ride

Saturday, September 24th, 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.

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Once Dave and I connected, it was wide open road for a while.

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There are a couple of climbs lined with limestone walls like this one.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We only got a brief glimpse or two of Lake Lemon. I had to stop when I saw all these huge lillypads.

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Below, you can see a tree that’s changing a little bit. Soon these trees will be ablaze with color.

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The area surrounding the creek, below, was flooded badly, but they appear to be making good progress on cleaning up and rebuilding.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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