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Archive for the 'Spring' Category

Morgan-Monroe Ride with Chris

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

On Saturday I rode up to Morgan-Monroe State Forest with my friend Chris. It was a great day to ride, in the mid-60s and mostly sunny, although winds were unpredictable and gusting to 20-30 mph.  It felt great to be out riding through the countryside again, something I haven’t done enough of lately. It was also cool to ride with Chris again. We’ve tried to plan rides a few times recently, but our schedules kept interfering.

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Old Bethel Church

Chris and I were pretty close friends through high school, and I’ve only seen him a few times since we both returned to Bloomington. It’s always interesting catching up, especially since he has kept in touch with more people from our high school than I have. Our conversation topics ranged from politics to former classmates from high school to other rides we’ve done, etc.

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Riding by these cows sparked a conversation about steak

There’s a great descent down Old 37 just north of Bethel Lane that’s a blast. We hit 39 mph on this hill, and it felt fantastic. I was glad to be out riding without a bunch of layers slowing me down. For a while it looked like it was going to rain, but the dark clouds quickly blew over.

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Bryant Creek Lake

We stopped by Bryant Creek Lake to rest, drink some water, and stretch a bit. Throughout this whole ride I was surprised by how green everything is getting. There were probably a dozen butterflies sunning themselves on the bank. I didn’t get any decent shots of them, unfortunately.

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Plants growing in the lake

As we rode through the state forest, many trees were losing their petals, and the wind was blowing them about. We were riding through a cloud of petals, and really got covered in them.

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Riding through the forest

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Petals on the ground

We stopped again at Cherry Lake. One thing I like about riding with Chris is the more relaxed pace of our rides. We tend to ride at a conversational pace, and stop frequently to check out the scenery. When I ride alone I usually hammer it more of the time.

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Cherry Lake, with people fishing at the other end

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Unidentified wildflower

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The bikes

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We saw this couple on recumbent tricycles a couple of times

We enjoyed a blistering descent down Bean Blossom Road. The road was flanked on both sides by wildflowers. White dogwoods and purple rosebud trees, violets and blue and yellow flowers on the ground.

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Many fields are covered in yellow flowers, giving them a yellow-green glow

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Approaching Anderson Lane

Our ride back was a little harder since we were riding into the wind for parts of it. We decided to go back via Cascades park to avoid riding into the wind for the last 4 solid miles of our ride. I saw a large bird (a turkey vulture, I think) with two smaller birds following it around. At one point one of the smaller birds flew right over the big one and — I think — landed on its back. Maybe it just hovered there, but it sure looked like it had landed on the bigger bird. Very weird to see.

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Sometimes we had clear skies, sometimes they were more like this
All in all, it was a great ride. 42 miles or so.

A very full weekend

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I was finally able to get outside and do some riding and some more hiking this weekend. My doctor gave me some Allegra D and it helps enough with my allergies that I can get outside and be active. I still get a little stuffy or sniffly and have a little trouble breathing at times, but it’s a vast improvement.

Saturday, Dave and I hit the trails at Brown County State Park. This was our first mountain bike ride together since his accident around New Year’s. It’s great he’s finally back on the trails, and we had a gorgeous day for riding, in the upper 60s and sunny, with a breeze that felt great. We rode the North Tower Loop 3 times, twice clockwise and once counterclockwise. I wasn’t as sluggish as I expected after two weeks with basically no riding. There were a few muddy spots but overall things are in great shape. We rode for about two hours.

Sunday was a very full day. After getting some breakfast, Sarah and I headed to McCormick’s Creek State Park to take some photos and do a little hiking. I borrowed a Tamron 28-300mm lens from a coworker and wanted to try it out. I’m thinking about buying one, or something similar. It has some macro capability, and having that range of zoom is great. Here are some of my better shots. First, we went by the waterfall.


Falls at McCormick’s Creek


Another shot of the falls


Redbud. These are everywhere.


Ferns and moss


My favorite shot of the whole day


Foam in the creek


Stairs

After spending some time by the falls, we decided to head over by Trail 2, which we hadn’t hiked before. We looked at the map and saw it had a side trail to an old quarry. That sounded interesting, so we went for it. There were wildflowers everywhere by the trailhead, so we spent a while getting some shots of them.

 
Wild Blue Phlox


Virginia Bluebells


Mayapples — these are all over the place, too


Trail 2


The old quarry


Hardy plant


Huge frog


Quarry ruins


Creek


Another creek

 
Trail 2 again


Fiddlehead ferns, partially unraveled


Trillium


Jack-in-the-Pulpit

After our hike, we headed home, got the dog, and headed out for another short hike in the forest in my old neighborhood. We hiked for about 30-45 minutes.


Rob

After that, we went back home and I went for a brief road ride, about 14 miles. It was a full day and at the end of it I felt tired, but great. I’m glad that spring is here, and I’m finally able to properly enjoy it.

Spring commute

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I missed a good portion of things blooming in my absence last week. Many things are in full bloom now, and a few things are shedding petals already. Let me assure you, this town isn’t called Bloomington for no reason. While all of the flowers and flowering trees are very beautiful, my allergies are going crazy right now. Even Claritin can’t help today, it seems.

I took it easy during my ride to work this morning, in part because I can’t breathe too well, and in part to enjoy the scenery. Here are a few photos.


IU actually goes a little overboard with the landscaping at times


Flowerbeds


We have a lot of these trees with white flowers


Mossy tree


One of a few cobblestone roads in Bloomington


Apartments

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