Sunday, September 05, 2010

Century Sensaciones

Jefferson/Bullitt Co.

I began the day excited but a little wary of what I had decided to undertake. The fact was, a very busy week had made me tired and a little frantic. I knew, though, that being by myself also made for a more flexible schedule, where I didn't have to worry about other people's pace, strength, fatigue or mood. After a shitty breakfast decision at MickeyD's, I rode to the bus stop at B'town and waited, becoming a little anxious when it didn't arrive on time, but it did. And it had plenty of bike room. After an easy ride I talked to the driver about letting me off at my start on Brentlinger Rd. I felt really good once I got moving, as the temps were reasonable and after fidgeting a bit, I settled into a good steady pace and enjoyed some new roads that the club uses (I think). Early on I committed by one mistake of the day, not trusting my computer (which is measuring wrong even after a roll-out Thursday) and turning left onto Dawson Hill Rd. instead of straight. I was fortunate that I still had cell service there and was able to cobble together a route that didn't require backtracking. The lack of navigational confidence meant that my first couple hours were certainly more scattered than they should have been.

Bleriot ready for a bus ride, with cup o' joe on the trash can. The picture below does better capturing how dark it was. This pic certainly doesn't.

Early morning on Broad Run Rd.

Wild Turkeys on Broad Run. Rd.

Serendipitous misturn, as my ride up Brush Run/1819 was quite pleasant. It's worth a return.

Spencer Co.

The portion through Spencer Co. got me thinking of "sensaciones", as the vapid pros like to discuss in their interviews. Mine, at this time, weren't exactly clicking. What I had put on a pedestal as an "uber-ride", to be honest, was a little glum. As some later pics show, I was being chased by a cloud cold front that would take an early sunshine and squelch it like a blanket. Yes, everyone says, "great temps", but I also like brilliant skies, and I lost them over the course of Spencer. And as for the topography, the general nature of Spencer, it didn't do much for me. It seems like both the roads and dwellings were haphazard, thrown down without though or flow. On more than one occasion I though of the lack of "flow". Maybe it was my legs or my irritation with the missing turn, but I wasn't enjoying myself as much as I should, on my "uber-ride". This wasn't helped at the shitty gas station stop in Taylorsville. It was inhabited by pissed off Indians/Middle-Easterners behind the counter and- to be frank- white trash in the parking lot. Again, the sensaciones weren't positive.

Barn which provided both cell coverage for map reading and a tree for, well, you know.

Random small cemetery on side of road, not even marked. Blah Spencer Co.

Cloud blanket following me into river valley near Taylorsville.

Leaving Taylorsville by the old bridge.

"Gladstone Acres"
If you know us, you'll get the idea.

This pic as much as any characterizes the gloom that was chasing me across Spencer, and this at the top of the steady 1m climb out of Taylorsville.

Nelson/Washington Co's.

The turn from the busy 55 to 458 towards Chaplin proved to be an instant game changer. As soon as I swooped downhill from the bigger road my attitude changed. Gone were the house-strewn roads of Spencer, and while the cloudy gloom still followed me, it seemed to be taking a more northerly track, giving me glimpses of sunshine in my path. A stop at Chaplin let me use the facilities and food up for the next portion along 1754/Willisburg Rd. I think this was my favorite portion of the ride, a tree-lined rural road devoid of traffic which winded its way along a ridgetop all the way to Willisburg. I held a pretty good pace here, helped by an occasional tailwind and fun topography and also spurred on by the chances of lunch in Willisburg.

Willisburg provided the the exact half-way point, an excellent time for lunch, in this case cheeseburgers of which I found mention of on the site. I rode up and back a bit in town, not seeing any kind of cafe and eventually deciding on trying the gas station at the crossroad. What I did find was a bustling local gas station/diner with lots people waiting for...cheeseburgers. I ordered one and waited maybe 10min for it to be cooked. From there I retired to a local church picnic area for a quick lunch and a halfway call home. After lunch I found more of the excellent Washington Co. via 433/Mackville Rd. before turning towards Mercer via Deep Creek/442. The entire Washington Co. stretch was very pleasant riding, helped by a tailwind none-the-less, but the sensaciones were improving. The legs good, skies clearer, traffic non-existent, and terrain interesting. I did have some more cuesheet v. map issues as I exited Mackville, something I'll discuss later.

458/Chaplin Rd. Nice.

Salt River

1754/Chaplin-Mackville Rd.

Old bridge in the underbrush. I happened to see this b/c the road pitches at around 10% here and I was going slow enough to see it. With its wooden trestle, I wonder how long ago this was used.

Sky begins to open up.

Savage attack! I've never been so scared during a dog attach. Look at those ferocious teeth! Look at that snarl!

He and his buddy. I barely survived!

Deep Creek Rd. approaching Mercer Co and Perryville Battlefield., right at the top of a short climb with some double digit pitches.

Mercer Co./Boyle Co.

The terrain shifted ever slightly once in Mercer Co. once I turned from Deep Creek to Battlefield Rd/1920. It seemed that instead of spending time in and out of creek bottoms, with the subsequent climb up, I instead rode higher up on ridge tops with a series of challenging rollers that brought me to and past Perryville Battlefield. This stretch was the one that told me I was out all day on the bike, and that I would have to grind myself to the finish. As I was getting leg-tired, I still maintained a positive frame of mind, as the rolling hills and blue skies brightened my mood from the morning gloom in Spencer Co. Perryville provided a food and drink stop, where I sat on a church bench and watch some odd man in solider fatigues, I don't know, sort of act like an idiot at the gas station. He just didn't seem to have any purpose, but his carriage suggested that he enjoyed being in his fatigues. ??

I left and crossed Boyle Co via Webster Rd., which for me was the hardest stretch of the day, although the elevation guide only shows a series of small rollers. Crossing miles 69-78, this was a distance that I had done before, so in that respect I should have had confidence, but the rollers sapped my legs and the wind was playing games whether it be head, side, tail or whatnot. I have a feeling Webster Rd. is nice for cycling, but I was trudging here, even more so on Alum Springs Cross Pike. This was one of those, "How am I moving so slow?" roads, assuming that traveling due south put me more directly into the wind. I also encountered my first traffic in this area, really for the first time since Taylorsville. Boyle, while pretty, was a march, nothing more.

Stewart No.1 in Mercer.

Stewart No.2

Stewart No.3. I wished I could remember the name of the church, but nice sky.

Perryville Battlefield, site of a Civil War skirmish. We visited the reenactment back in a few years ago.

bustling downtown Perryville

Webster Rd., pretty but shitty, in you ask me.

Lincoln Co

As I used the downhill on 300 to speed into Junction City, I knew that, #1 I was heading down the homestretch, and #2 I would make it. The JC/Yosemite route is the one I used in '08, so I knew what terrain I would encounter and how much energy I needed to finish. After a choco milk and a call to the fam at the gas station, I headed south. Miles 83-88 was basically a 5m false flat climb, during which I almost rode in a bubble. While on typical rides I look around and appreciate the scenery, during this section I barely looked 10ft in front of my wheel; I just didn't. Head down. Regular breathing. Tap out quick enough rhythm to get me to my destination. While the riding wasn't fun per se, I knew I was getting closer, AND knew that I was riding distances I had never done, passing the low-80s mark in JC. Approaching Moreland I made a fateful decision that had no real impact on my riding, but certainly on my psyche for the last. Moreland has a mom-n-pop ice cream shop, and I was craving a treat to finish my journey. Up the road, though, in Middleburg near my destination was an ice cream place just a few miles from the end, so I chose to by-pass Moreland. You can only imagine the later result.

After diving into Hustonville, I did the final climb out of the creek valley. I knew all along with would be the final challenge, and it wasn't as bad as I remembered. It was the first stretch all day where I used the granny ring, and I plodded up to get the view of the day, mostly b/c I was near the finish. I waxed enthusiastic about Mt. Salem road last time I rode it, and at the end of the solo century it was every bit as good a batch of scenic ride riding as ever. The sensaciones had improved completely, even as the physical shell was tired, spent. From the summit at 91m, it was a series of big downhills with a couple nuisance climbs. I would finish on my own terms.

Delirium suggested this was an Indian mound, not the remnants of a farmhouse on the top of the hill.

A view of the knobs to the west along Moreland Rd. I was fighting fatigue and 3/4 headwind at this point.

The well-earned view atop Mt. Salem Rd.

The western view atop Mt. Salem Rd.

Panda. Tired.

Horseman. He was actually in the road for a while while I was getting my camera out, but turned into his driveway.

Casey Co.

I was only in Casey for the last few miles. Good fortune smiled on this relatively flat portion along the creek valley. I didn't have much left, especially after finding that the Middleburg Tasty Freeze had closed. That was a bitter pill!! That broke my spirit, and my stomach, and from there I limped the 2 miles to my destination. I even passed it by and added a few tenths as insurance that I completed the full 100. With my .6m commute to the bus stop, I ended with 102.4 via ridewithgps.

First time in triple digits for one ride. I'm pretty proud that I nailed it so spot on while in motion.

I hit 100 at almost the exact spot crossing into Casey Co.

.1m of mixed-terrain, on the entrance road to camp

Final total=105.8, in contrast with the 101.8 on ridewithgps. Whatever, it's over 100. =)

Final Thoughts
  • I finished satisfied, but I've had more "fun" on other rides. The morning cloudy gloom mixed with the Spencer Co. terrain made for a very mixed first 30m. I did feel a real sense of accomplishment after cresting the final big climb onto Mt. Salem. Perhaps the comradery would help the miles go by better, but I'm also pleased I pulled off the first as a solo.
  • I've got to get better with cuesheets and maps and such. I'm pretty good mentally piloting, but I can't use cuesheets worth a shit. And as stated on this blog, the road names on googlemaps often don't correspond out in the country. They use numbers instead of names, so in the future, I need to doctor my cuesheets to reflect that. It would help to have a computer total I trusted.
  • I ate and drank very little after JC. It's rare in life, but I was actually tired of nibbling and drinking by that point. Future long-distance explorations warrant much more effective calorie intake.
  • For the day I ate: 2 McDonalds sausage griddle things (terrible idea), 2 bags M&Ms (PB and Pretzel- I didn't like the pretzel), 1 Willisburg cheeseburger, 1 bag combos, 1/2 bag peanuts, 1 chocomilk, 1 G2, 3 Nuun tablets, uncountable waters.
  • The wind was devlish, stiff all day, so one minute it was a tailwind pushing me along and the next a 3/4 headwind that stopped me in my tracks.
  • I had no bad or butt pain for the entire ride. I did end up with a slightly dead right shoulder, although it felt fine later.
  • The next day, Saturday, the only ache was stomache in nature. I battled stomach issues all weekend, but the legs and the rest felt fine.
  • Family Camp was great. The weather was perfect and the vibe as positive as ever. I even took the world's most perfect 2.5hr nap on Saturday afternoon.
  • I've caught myself not once but twice looking at the map and thinking of alternate routes for the future. I guess it wasn't too traumatic.
  • My route was excellent. It had numerous store stops, which made keep my fluids up a cinch. I could've had other "real food" options as well. The climbing wasn't too challenging and the traffic very, very mild.
That all. I'm shutting up now. Can I imagine doing the RAIN? Not really, although with some weight loss it may be feasible. I'm feeling another century in the legs come Fall.


Apertome said...

Congrats again!

The ride looks wonderful, and I'm glad you took the time to do a thorough write-up.

What's funny is, yesterday I rode a century and I had been thinking about how on longer rides, you can hit a negative place physically and/or mentally, and usually you'll get past it. That happened to me yesterday, and it seems to have happened to you, with the beginning part, and possibly again later as you got more tired.

I think it's interesting that the cloud cover got you down, I tend to prefer cloudy days, especially when it's warm, so I'm not squinting all day.

Your food intake sounds like something that would've been a little rough for me, but it seems like it didn't work out too badly for you. I usually try to consume more carbs and less meats, and try to eat food that isn't too heavy, although yesterday I had a small personal pizza and was fine, so who knows.

I also think it's interesting that you broke things up by county, I tend to think in terms of counties on longer rides, too.

Anyway, great job! I'm really glad you went for it, and overall it seems like you had a good time.

LvilleTex said...

I def had a good time in hindsight. After the fact I have a sense of accomplishment; the monkey is finally off my back. As for food, I'm not in the least convinced I know how to fuel myself for long days. I do think the burger was food, and I got tired of snacking. And about changing moods, yes completely. Those last 20 were not bad at all, but rather focused on pedaling, wherein the first 20 I was somewhat negative. I just seem to like the sun, but not the heat. Picky picky.

Laura said...

Wow! I'm impressed with your century! I've never ridden anywhere that far. Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tex,

Found a book you need to have the Mrs. bring home for you...Hermes on Two Wheels: The Sociology of Bicycle Messengers.


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