Sunday, April 18, 2010

Good for 40

Too bad I went 61 (map adjusted for privacy) and last weekend for 53. Actually, not too bad. I had an A day on the bike today, riding with Apertome in Bloomington, IN. It seems, though, that the last 2 mixed-terrain rides I've done, today's and the one from last week, have rendered me daffy after about mile 45. It's obvious that I need a bit more fitness and a bit less weight. We covered 61 miles today, with half (probably) on the gravel of Hoosier Nat'l Forest and Yellowwood State Forest. The climbing got to me after a while and I really suffered those last 15 miles, but boy were those miles from 9-39 something to behold. Apertome took lots of pics, so I have a feeling some will show in the days to come, but the area around north Lake Monroe and the North Fork State Wildlife Refuge was something to revisit, being a mixture of gravel roads and dirt paths across earthen dams in the wetlands. Pictures will do it greater justice.

And then we met E. Rogers Rd. It was almost a joke. ridewithgps gives a high % of 23.5, on gravel, loose gravel, going on for a while. A joke. My lower legs started cramping from walking up the damn thing. It was great!

E Rogers Rd., @ 20%+ on loose gravel. A joke!

We enjoyed more riding in HNF before bridging to YSF. By this time my legs were feeling the effort, but YSF had many nice roads, including wildflowers and creek crossings. I particularly enjoyed the dive down Salmeron Rd. into another creek bottom. I was shocked to find that the climb out of Lake Lemon on Shuffle Creek Rd. listed brief sections in the upper teens! No wonder I felt like such shit! At this point is was survival. After some appreciated water and cookies at Apertome's friend's house. we put our heads down and made our way down 45 and some sketchy traffic into Bloomington for some neighborhood traffic home. At this point I was cross-eyed, or at least dead-legged. I publicly thank Apertome for being patient with me those last 15 and for taking me through town at a leisurely pace. I know he had better legs, but he was a most amiable host, as was his fine bride.

I know for sure I'm revisiting HNF again. As difficult as it was, I want to spend another day exploring the many nooks and crannies of that area. More pics to come, both via me and Apertome.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Commuted both Mon. and Tues., even during tennis season. Monday I did the tennis hopper commute; I like those. They're not necessarily lots of fun, but I feel a good sense of accomplishment. Today we were supposed to have a match, but it got cancelled. I rode regardless. And just now I posted an extra 3.6m up to Cumberland Brews to imbibe out of necessity. His brother, another friend, has femur cancer. Great guys. Might have to post more about those boys (I have the youngest brother in class now; he's great too).

On the bike tomorrow as the wife doesn't have the car back yet, although it's finished (brake work and 60,000m job). It's been a great excuse to ride instead of drive. Peace out! And enjoy every moment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mucho Mixed-Terrain!

In honor of today's Paris-Roubaix AND Dave's and my mixed-terrain fest, I'm going to leave mostly a photo montage of our ride, including a rating of each sector, just like they do in PRX. Their ratings are punishment-inspired alone, but my ratings reflect the difficulty, beauty and enjoyment of each of our non-paved sectors. I encourage Dave to chime in if he would like, but suffice to say it was an A+ day on the bike, well, aside the massive 'bonk' (la paraja que tuve) I experienced at mile 48 in a 53m day. Boy, those last 5 miles sure did suck, but the previous were just about perfect.

Our first section of the day was Kavanaugh Ln. (#1), an inconsequential sliver of a road (on googlemaps) that I had ridden back in winter. I may be crazy, but the surface seemed to be newly-graveled, and as such made for heavier, sketchier conditions. For the bumpy ride I give it 2.5 stars, although the ambiance deserves a better score. OK, I convinced myself to increase it to 3 stars because I like the surrounding scenery.

Nice rock wall

Dave nearing SW terminus.

Like the ATV trail seen later, this was a pick-up MT portion, a very brief 1-star section of Webb Ln.(#2). The various maps conflict as to whether it goes through to 421 or not. We tried but only found this gate. There is a chance that a private, gated driveway/road up 1606 is the "real" Webb Ln. pass-through. We used 1606 to bridge to 421 and later roads.

This was the short-but-nice section of Martini Lane (#3), a 3.5-star section. Our pictures are mostly of the upper portion, which entail a straightforward descent. The Lane improved greatly along the lower section with a sweeping bend amidst green pastures and good road. I give the lower portion 4-stars to bring up the overall.

With multiple pics of Dave, I threw in a gratuitous one of myself modeling the first ride of my Swobo wool.

This pic tries to convey the blend of kulture found at the bottom of Martini Ln, with a good surface, barns and green. The right turn onto Sulpher-Bedford also awarded us a nice turn through the valley before the climb up.

At this end of this valley we found both the old and new bridge. Obviously the old one had more character. Interestingly, you can't see the 3 people in this pics who were below the bridge (on the left) doing a fashion shoot. Sort of creepy, if you ask me. The family we saw about to put in a fishing canoe provided a more wholesome image. Also, the far wall provides a nice view of a Confederate flat. I used to teach in Trimble Co., so I'll keep any further comments to myself.

I don't think pictures can do Hardy Creek Rd. (#4) justice. It's a fabulous, 5-star experience, although the meek, 23c-riding roadies should take heed. Neither Dave nor I got a particularly good shot of Hardy Creek Rd.

You approach the gravel portion down a very steep .1m paved section and are immediately thrown into heavy rock and rutted conditions. The surface improves a smidge, but more importantly you are transported into a shadow world of deep shade, forest, and creek. One local rider rates this one of his favorites for wildflower. Great stuff, but I'll have to take it uphill the next time.

Hardy Creek also empties into a nice flat, creek-side portion that lends a resemblance to Eastern KY. This here was a recent creekside project.

Not mixed-terrain, but a nice creek crossing on a low-flung concrete bridge.

Bonus mixed-terrain ATV trail (#5), with 1 star. We saw this path just after the aforementioned creek crossing. We couldn't deny ourselves another section, however brief and rough. It wasn't long, but it was a fun diversion.

Our next section was Georges Creek Rd. (#6), which had a bit of everything, a gradual descent, a stream crossing and a challenging acclivity. I rate Georges Creek Rd. 4.5 stars for a very rideable surface, variety and generally rural nature.

gentle descent on a good surface

Dave with stream crossing. This is actually the second time he did this, but the camera wasn't ready for the first. I crossed it first and found it to be fun and manageable.

Our last section came on Turkey Run Rd. (#7), which left Carroll into Henry and climbed out of the Turkey Run Valley. This was a 2.5-Star section. This road gave us large dogs, large gravel, and a large logging truck relatively early on. It also gave us a relatively large climb. I'm sure it would've been nice as a downhill, but whew!

Another bend on Turkey Run.

Sketchy cabin off Turkey Run

Almost at the top, almost.

Turkey Run Rd. did end with a flourish, first with an aggressive downhill and then through this train tunnel. The .5 star is for this tunnel.

A fine day with 7 mixed-terrain sections. I've perused other area maps and that's a pretty high content for the Louisville, KY area (non-IN). I encourage anybody and everybody to take the map below and try the course out. The only specific road I know we left out was Kidwell Ln. in fat western Trimble. That addition would make for a sufficiently full day in the saddle.

Friday, April 09, 2010

How do they do that?

Quick 1-hr doing the Cherokee Loop, going pretty hard the whole way on the C'dale. Two, no, Four observations of note:
  • felt good. went hard. coming home via Millvale I had to back off. I was overheated. took my helmet off the last couple miles to cool down.
  • gosh, the weather sure is nice- 65F, sunny and a clean wind
  • came up behind rider a couple times towards Maple. After crossing Maple he shot off like a rocket. I saw him two more times at the bottom, but way ahead.
  • I got in the way of a rider on the north side of the creek near Grey Fox. He was cool about it but then he shot off like a rocket too. That section always gives me probs, with lots of ups-n-downs, roots and rocks. I did better than usual today, but as I watched the Specialized rider up the trail I don't really understand how to ride that section that fast. Impressive!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Ahh, Spring Break nothingness

I'm going to rub it in to my working friends that I'm spending the day doing exactly what I wanted, nothing. Well, not nothing. Actually, I'm watching multiple bike tour videos from a post from Russ at ThePathLessPedaled and Epicurean Cyclist fame. Having seen the top two ('55 British day tourers and the new Hunqapillar video accompanied by a new song from Louisville's own Bonnie Prince Billy), I'm really enjoying the vids from The Slow Coast, which is the 4th down. They're charming and the views are lovely. Take a look on this grey day. And thanks Russ.

Real Mixed-Terrain


Yesterday was a wasted opportunity for bigger mileage, but I won't dwell. I did end up with 11.6m of riding in two chunks. The first was to the Dupont Circle area on the fixie when I went to Korrect Optical (they seem to do glasses better than spelling). They're having a sale and the entire family unit has taken advantage. The missus and I are venturing into that "40 yrs old and eye changing" time, so progressive lenses for both of us. I can't eat or read with my glasses on, so I need something.

Later in the afternoon 'L' and I walked to the pool where he swam and I slept for 15min or so. Later again we took a neighborhood ride of 3.5m, on the Ute this time. In hindsight I should've made him run down the street for the Wednesday triathlon.

It's 4.06 and unfortunately (too much pizza and beer) I'm up. Live and (never) learn.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Pic here from of bikes ready for today's Scheldeprijs, a cobbled spring semi-classic in Belgium. The cobbled classics require adjusted tech and mech due to the conditions and potential for mud, lots of mud. I like this pic b/c here is a "pro" road bike with interrupter, cross levers on top. Unless you plan on sporting a front bag, interrupter levers are the way to go. I have them on the LHT and wish I did on a couple other bikes too. I guess that means my LHT is "pro".

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

#@!% Simplicty

I want some damn gears!!!!!!!!

Monday/Tuesday held out many possibilities, what with a Lexington/Maysville trip during the break. I was indecisive but decided, with valuable wife input, not to ride Lou/Lex on Monday. Fact is I don't have a ton of miles in the legs and I prioritized friendship (card playing) over bike-induced death. The second option was to do some kind of Lexington/Maysville, whether that be the full 85-miler or some variation of a pick-up or drop-off en route. Not feeling it, I decided on a drop-off ride, from which I could explore some mixed-terrain I had studied for a previous Maysville based ride.

The route began on the multiplicitous Stoney Creek Rd./Goose Creek Rd./Ishmael Chapel Church Rd. My first mile or so of riding set the scene for the carnage that was to ensue for the day. I back up to explain that I took the QB, a wonderful, beautiful, solid and worthy steed, but a steed that has two @$*%#! gears. I don't really know what I was thinking. Actually, I was thinking that I was mostly riding Lexington to Millersberg or so, which is rolling bluegrass. This route did nothing but creek and river dive for the first 12 miles. It was downright stupid- for me and my fitness- to have a 2-gear bike, however pretty it may be.

Licking River Valley at the top of my opening 1.5m climb

QB with scenery behind

The multiplicitous road provided me 2 substantial walks, as I had no answer for climbs with numbers like 14% and 10% respectively. Ouch! By the end of that 6m stretch I knew I was in for a long day in the saddle. Right after the Licking River and the aptly-named Pleasant Valley I saw my (unmarked, all unmarked) turn onto Mexico Rd., which I hoped would be a mixed-terrain highlight of the day.

Ishmael Chapel Church

Several houses along this stretch had large, brick mailboxes with Ishmael and googlemaps lists this stretch as Ishmael Chapel Church Rd., although the Co. map doesn't.

This region of southern Fleming Co. has several long gravel roads marked and I was excited to see what they brought me. The first stretch brought 2 things of note, an attractive river-side view, and big rock, not monster gravel, but big enough for me to worry about the QB.

Mexico Road along Licking River

further on up the road, and with more foliage. road surface was adequate here.

After a reasonable 2 miles of river bottom gravel, I was met with the biggest challenge of the day, a half-mile climb out of the river bottom, but a climb topping 15%, in the height of the afternoon sun, on a 2-speed, with a very very heavy road surface. I would say it was the low moment of the ride, because it had turned from a ride into a slow, bike-pushing trudge. I reached the top and was able to ride a bit more except when the road had been covered with fresh, large gravel.

Mexico Rd. climb. Gotta love that heavy gravel road surface!

I met a turn and stopped to check my status. I use KY county pdf maps, which I find more correct than either Delorme or googlemaps. Assuming that what pointed left was my turn onto Tea Run Rd., I encountered a mostly dirt road, which in this case was heaven compared to the heavy gravel on the 3m stretch of Mexico Rd. I passed a quaint cemetery in the middle of freakin' nowhere and continued on the mostly dirt road. The county maps indicated that Tea Run dives down into a creek valley and eventually becomes the paved Hammond Rd., but I saw no semblance of that. To my surprise, on the top of a broad meadow (i.e. cow fields) I encountered a Jeep Cherokee coming my way. I waved, they waved, and I waved more furtively until they lowered their window. I inquired to the elderly gentleman in the passenger seat about Hammond and he gave me directions which very much put to bed whether I was *on* Hammond. No, I was not, but if I continued on this road I would find 32, where I could get myself back on track.

Old cemetery with colorful (plastic) flowers on graves, and chain on fence.

View of road along cemetery. I rather like this one.

Fact was, I was on Fleming Creek Rd., which the county map shows as not going through although googlemaps shows as doing so. This is the first time I can think of where googlemaps is more right than the Co. ones. Furthermore, the KY state searchable map also does not have this listed as a road. You can see the path on the satellite image, but no name listed. Fleming Creek Rd. also brought an added bit of fun, in the guise of a walk downhill. Yes, downhill. It was just too steep and rocky for my tastes, so I walked the damn thing. Later, ridewithgps shows inclines (declines in my direction) in excess of 20%, which is the steepest road I've come across, and gravel to boot. I don't regret my decision.

Wow! That's steep!

Once back on 32 I faced a 1m climb out of the river valley and was back on track northward. I stopped in Ewing for a snack and some ice and continued. Aside the walk on Metcalfe Pike with its 17%, the event of note on the entire northward stretch was the tailwind, and I mean TAILWIND. Without it I might have not gotten home. I was wishing for more gears, this time to pick up the pace. It was so windy and I so tired that I did a first, using the main road 68 to link up to the area closer to the in-laws; I otherwise always take the back roads. I was on 68 for 4.5 miles and the entire time I hammered, whether up hill or down. At one point I found myself on a flattish portion and I was spinning out the bigger QB gear. And then I just coasted while traveling at speeds I have to believe where in excess of 20mph. Ridiculous! I walked once more on Clift Pike, but surprised myself close to home, clearing 2 small climbs that I didn't expect to take on the QB.

I finished the day seeing 2 different cyclists on Key Pike, which is the road my in-laws live on. I can count the number of cyclists I've seen in Mason Co. on one hand, but I'm glad the "city folk" are learning to take advantage of such great cycling roads. I finished the day beat, but ready for a return to the Mexico Rd. area to do the roads I missed today with the wrong turn. Given my lack of gears, it was the best decision of the day. I certainly did get practice switching between cogs on the QB. The two issues were/are to keep the front wheel from flopping and that on the small cog the rear brake rubs just a smidge. I think the chain needs to lose a link to. Next time on Mexico Rd., though, the LHT.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


A tough, Easter day post-dinner ride. I hemmed and hawed between the 29er and the Crosscheck Monstercross, deciding on the latter. Fact it, is was a fine ride in Seneca and Cherokee, although it generally kicked my butt. My how I would love to have smaller gearing on the new MonsterCrosscheck! Another project perhaps. I did do a pretty good job keep my line and clearing smaller stuff like roots, but I balked bigger logs and such on the non-suspended CC. I've occasionally thought that the headtube of the CC is a bit ovalized, so better safe than sorry. I should have ridden yesterday, and I can accept that, so today was the first ride of Break/Ride week.

Hope everybody had a nice holiday- even the Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and such- and that everybody got out for these two spectacular days.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Spring Break

If I can get out of bed I'm going riding this week. But that's if I can get out of bed. Bone tired I am, says master Yoda.

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: