Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Road Biking' Category

A bit lacking

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

It’s been too long since I posted here. I haven’t been riding much, aside from commuting to work and class. This still has me on the bike about 12 miles per day, four days per week (Fridays this summer I have devoted to some other projects, so I am essentially working from home those days).

Even though I’m only taking one class this summer (and working, of course), I’ve still felt a lack of time, energy, and even motivation to ride. That “motivation” part is weird to me — the past few years I’ve wanted to ride as much as possible whenever the opportunity arose. I’m not feeling that way right now, though the rides I do manage are always enjoyable. For now I’m taking things as they come. But I’m definitely looking forward to my class ending. Hopefully the rest of the summer will be a little more relaxed, and maybe I’ll have more time, energy, and motivation to ride.

I did get out and ride last weekend. It was a little on the hot side — maybe mid-80s. Probably the hottest ride of the year so far. I used to hate heat, but I have learned to deal with it better, and on this day, I actually enjoyed it. I headed out with a sort of vague plan to ride east of town, an area where I rode a lot when I lived on that side of town, but haven’t ridden as much lately.


It was a beautiful day to ride. I felt pretty good, though I did notice that my fitness has declined a bit. I struggled on the hills a bit more than I would have liked. A strong headwind on the return trip certainly didn’t help, though it did cool me down somewhat.




I replaced my rear tire. The old one was worn through the outer casing and a weird purple layer was showing in many places. I’d say I wore it out — it only lasted about 1700 miles. The new tire is also an upgrade to a Continental Grand Prix 4000 700×25. I’ve read that these are more durable than the Conti Ultra Race I had before.

Oddly enough, the GP4000 700×25 is significantly wider than the Ultra Race 700×25 I had on the wheel previously. Before, I could put the wheel on and off easily, but now I have to deflate the tire to do it. As far as I’m concerned, this is a good thing. The extra volume leads to a slightly cushier ride.


I got rained on, on my way home, but the cool rain felt good. Naturally I had just washed the bike, which is now a grimy mess again. I took a road through town that I normally avoid, but on a Sunday afternoon it was quiet and pleasant.

I rode 33 miles, and I felt quite refreshed. I’m hoping to be able to do a longer ride over Memorial Day weekend. I’d love to stretch my legs for 50-60 miles or more. We’ll see!




More flooding

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

After writing about the areas of flooding I visited last week, I felt inspired to visit the Lake Monroe dam area to see the situation there. So, I planned a bicycle ride to the dam, and took a “scenic route” home. I wanted to see the dam and the damage to Valley Mission Road. Here’s a map of my ride.

I took a direct route to Fairfax State Recreation Area, then to the dam. Every time I ride in that area, I think it seems hillier than I remember.  There aren’t any big hills until you are near the lake, but the hills are rather constant all the way there.



Here is Baker’s Junction, the creepy “Haunted Train Museum”



Soon I was at Fairfax SRA, on Lake Monroe. I was greeted by ducks.


If you’re not familiar with the place, this might not look too weird. But, there’s a large parking lot at the bottom of the hill. It’s just underwater in these shots.



This basketball hoop might give a little more perspective.


Or this shelter …


or these partially-submerged trees …



Here’s another illustration of how high the water was. There’s a cul-de-sac that’s completely submerged right now, past where the road dips into the water.


Notice the street sign just barely sticking up.



I headed back, stopping to top off water bottles.


I headed toward the dam. On my way there I saw more high water, coming right up to the side of the road. There were people fishing from the side of the road. I wish I had gotten a photo of them.


Soon, I reached the dam. The water made a crazy sound as it was sucked down to be expelled by the floodgates. The water rushing out made quite a racket, too. I made a few videos to capture the scene, and I edited them together here. What you can’t tell from the sound in the video is that there was also a low-pitched rumbling sound that you could both hear and feel. Pretty wild.

I took some still photos, too. There were several other people there to check out the scene.








Next I wanted to see Valley Mission Road. I had heard the road was washed out.


I’d say those reports were accurate.


Some people had spotted a catfish down in the water below here and were trying to figure out a way to get it out.


The rock pictured below was placed on the road to try to stop it from washing away. It’s hard to say how effective that was; I guess we’ll find out when the rocks come off.


I probably could have continued past this point, but I would have had to climb a big hill and it might just be more flooding on the other side. I decided to turn back.

On my way back, I spotted some dead fish along the side of the road. It was a bit surreal.


I headed out. Soon I crossed State Road 37. I wasn’t sure exactly how the roads interconnected and actually ended up on an on-ramp or feeder road briefly. There was NO traffic at all.


I stopped in Harrodsburg to refuel.


Then headed back, a rather indirect route. My return trip was quite hilly.













Some ominous clouds rolled in, but no more than a few drops ever fell.








I passed a quarry or two on my way home.




This was a great ride — it was nice to have a mission of sorts (seeing and documenting the flooding and the dam), but the riding was a lot of fun, too — 36 hilly miles.




Lake Monroe flooding

Monday, May 9th, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had a lot of rain this spring. So much so now that some areas are experiencing flooding. In particular, Lake Monroe reached nearly 20 feet above normal pool level, setting a new all-time record. Normal pool is 538 feet; the lake level went as high as 557.28 feet. Despite widening the floodgates, the lake overflowed the emergency dam and flooded Valley Mission Road (among others), which is a common cycling road. According to the local newspaper, Valley Mission Road is being washed away by the flooding.

I headed out late last week for a ride and decided to check out the flooding, though not in the area described above. I thought I’d check a couple of other spots.

On my way there, I saw a pond that is normally fairly small. It’s noticeably bigger than usual.


A closer look showed quite a few turtles sunning themselves on logs, including a couple of rather large snapping turtles (though I was not able to get a good shot of them).


After a while, I was at Moore’s Creek State Recreation Area, on Lake Monroe. Below you can see a lamp post that’s partially under water.


This little road normally goes through to a picnic shelter and a popular fishing area.


Here’s the picnic shelter.


This sign gives you a good idea of how much higher the water is than usual. The sign reads “Road ends in water” 300-700 feet, but yet the water is just a few feet behind the sign. This is at a boat ramp.


This next shot is not relevant to the flooding, but I was inspired by Alfred Stieglitz’s “Equivalents” series, which we studied in my photography class.


I rode a bit more …



And eventually made my way over to Moore’s Creek Road, where I expected to see some more flooding.


I thought I would be able to make my way over to Swartz Ridge road and climb up that way, but I hit flooding sooner than I expected. I couldn’t even make it to Swartz Ridge.



I thought about trying to cross the water, but it looked like it was at least knee deep, probably deeper than that. I decided to turn back.




I’ve seen this barn several times but never got a satisfactory photo of it before.


The trees and grass look so lush and green.


For the most part, the creeks didn’t seem overly deep. I guess most of the water had already rushed down to the lake by this time.


Sometime after my visit, the lake levels began to get lower. Hopefully the flooding will subside soon. I’ve read about a number of other roads being underwater. I haven’t heard about much or any damage to homes yet, but newspaper coverage has been a bit spotty. I do know that many local cycling routes are affected.


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