Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Orleans70

I'll first point you to Apertome's write-up, because it does a nice job covering the bases and his pics are much clearer. Apertome and I had discussed doing a "road tempo ride" for some time, given that so many of our rides end up finding the rough stuff.  I based the route mid-way between Louisville and Bloomington to make travel easier. Near time fears of storms and further route inspection mutated the ride from the original intent into what it became, yet another great day of mixed terrain on the rough stuff bikes. David posted it on the RCCS site and we were joined by Patrick and Barturtle, both from the 'Ville. A merry band were we.

The first portions were classic mid-IN rolling terrain, ripe with green corn, fences laden with flowers and weeds

Boys busting down the road early

Morning Glory, purple/magenta form

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We stopped a couple times for me to play with my front fenders, which was rubbing on the tire. By Campbellsburg I was disgusted, pulled the fender off and slung it in the grass by an old, decrepit warehouse. It didn't match anyway! Soon we turned north onto NW Washington School Rd. where we found the terrain a bit lumpier, in a good way. Eventually we encountered our first climb of the day on N.Rush Creek Rd. where I had to stop and pick my glasses off after they had fallen. Dumb. Maybe I needed a breather.
Cloud. I took 3 or 4 of this for some reason.

Things got particularly interesting when we turned onto N. Reynolds Rd. to find what we always seem to find, Gravel. A short portion there lead us to a divebomb of a descent. Excluding Patrick, who took off like he was on a dual-suspension bike, the remainders of us took it cautiously. Fun was had.
Patrick entering sector #1

Michael and Timothy before the descent

Patrick before the disappearance down the flume.

Dave either happy at not falling, having a bright red jersey on, or thinking about beer post-ride.



After gravel portion our ride normalized for a while through a nice valley along, get this, W Buffalo Bottoms Rd and later a right turn onto, get this, Goat Hollow Rd. These were fine rural routes. Just fine!


The ride improved even more after the short, intense climb up to 135. After a quick rest in the shade we turned onto old 135 and began one of the finest descents I've done, really, I've ever done. It had this just right combination of flow, curves to carve, switchbacks to weight, speed but not flying speed, no traffic, shade, everything! We stopped twice for views and pics but at this point my camera lens wasn't opening fully, so I had to toss some pics. The remainders for a while are foggy with fingerprints. I don't need mementos, though. It was an awesome experience and I would go back just for that section of road.

Michael, Timothy and part of Dave through a lower curve.

Patrick carving the turn. Terrible picture, but fun carving the turn.

Tres Amigos at the bottom of the descent. Dave had stopped to look at cats. I don't like cats.
Shortly thereafter we were to cross the Muscutatuck (said Michael. I thought it was a branch of the White). We found the bridge "closed", but who cares? We were on bikes. After a hop, lift and jump, we admired the river briefly and kept going.




BR in fine, roadie/gravel style. The new fork and wheels have made this a new bike. Couldn't be more pleased, and I don't have to beat the IF to death either.

This next portion wasn't that long, but I sure did become enamoured of the fields and farm homes along this section. Not far down the road we hit our 2nd section of gravel. I hit the gas and felt good. That was fun!





The first portion of S.CR600W had a discernible path, but later on, as often is the case, the ground got a bit chunky. I slowed down to admire the view of the river and to wait for the crew. First in sight was Timothy and later Michael. We waited at the stop sign for Dave and Patrick, who wanted to take a breather. We then went to inspect the Medora covered bridge, which seems almost completely rebuilt and not so historic, although it did have a nice path and parking nearby. Shortly after that we hit our half-stop at Medora.

chunky 

Timothy with Michael shortly behind and the bridge

Medora proved an amiable stop with the necessary ice, water, sandwiches, seats, and a giant fan which I could barely pull myself away from. We started slowly after that, bellies full, and find a variety of flattish roads following the railroad. What I noticed more than that, though, was heat. Heat, sun and headwinds. The return leg was still fun but becoming a little tougher. We started to stretch out a bit as each of us was running our own pace, and then later we would yo-yo back together for a while. Like our "out" leg, we ran across another closed bridge near Sparksville, with the new one right down the road. No crossing this time. Shortly thereafter we hit more gravel on River Rd., which turned left onto Tunnel Rd, our longest stretch of the day at 8.5m.


Dave on River Rd.
My camera ran out of memory at this point, so no more mediocre pics to capture our day. I might not have taken too many more b/c the sun, length and heat were taking their toll. The Tunnel Rd. section really took it out of us. From there I think we were each doing our own ride, as much together as possible, but more apart than usual. To be honest, I felt as strong on this ride as an distance ride ever, so I sort of set the pace and kept pushing out front so we made reasonable time. I would stop at somewhere key, let the crew catch up and take a breather, and then push again. I did this 3 or 4 times until we got to our final southerly road where Michael, Patrick and I rode roughly together while Timothy and Dave were not too far behind. I think we were all well-spent by the time we returned to Orleans, but what a ride, especially that first half! Yet again I have another spot to visit again down the road, hopefully with such a good group of ride mates.

3 comments:

Apertome said...

Great writeup, and even if your photos aren't super high-definition, you managed to capture some sections that I missed, particularly folks carving those turns. And yes, the BR looks better than ever. What a fine ride.

It was another great day on the bike. It's amazing to think about how many standout days of riding we've had. I'm already looking forward to the next one, whatever it may be.

Tex69 said...

I think it's because we're smart enough not to ride too often, and we end up making it an event out of sheer will. If we all lived in the same town and did the same routes there wouldn't be too much magic in that.

David Crowell said...

I need a dedicated gravel bike. My LHT is still covered in dust.

I loved the ride though.

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