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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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This basketball hoop might give a little more perspective.

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Or this shelter …

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or these partially-submerged trees …

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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.

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Notice the street sign just barely sticking up.

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I headed back, stopping to top off water bottles.

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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.

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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.

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

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I’d say those reports were accurate.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I stopped in Harrodsburg to refuel.

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

 

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

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I passed a quarry or two on my way home.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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

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Here’s the picnic shelter.

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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.

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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.

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I rode a bit more …

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

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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.

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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.

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

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The trees and grass look so lush and green.

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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.

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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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