As I crossed the bridge I noticed it being pretty windy, but I turned east for the roll along Utica Pike and could barely feel the pedals. Tailwind! I made very good time in to Utica and then felt very comfy up Waterline Rd. (where I saw a red-headed woodpecker and several goldfinches). I assumed the run along Bethany Rd. would be more into the NW wind, but aside the rollers I still felt really good along Bethany/Stoney Point. Again, figuring my turn onto Brick Church would bring headwinds, instead I found a tree-covered road along the Singing Fork creek with just enough profile to make it interesting. I don't ever remember being on that road, but I really liked it. I turned south into Sellersburg for a stop right at the mid-point and felt great, pulling in with a 16mph average. Stage 1 completed.
If Stage 1 was bliss, stage 2 was my comeuppance. What I thought was a NW wind was more like a SW one, into which I dragged myself along various St. Joe roads. My combo of barbq chips (salt, you know) and choco milk wasn't sitting well. Then I came upon the redone St. Joe/Dug Knob climb, which unfortunately isn't even a mile long. It contains plenty of steep, though, and that is where my fancy bike loses out. I'm "ample" and I need me some small gears to climb and the fancy Campy just doesn't have enough smallage for fatties. And so I toiled. Stage 2 with one of the slowest climbs up St. Joe ever was in the bag, huffing and puffing.
The I took a left and began Skyline Drive, which follows the contour of the knob ride in S.IN just to the north of the 'Ville. I had heard about it but don't think I ever rode it in its entirety, but yesterday I did. I found blue skies and enough legs to enjoy the ebb and flow of such a great cycling road. It moves away from the knob edge to do the little half-mile climb up Christian/S.Skyline- I still had some legs there- and then dived down Spickert Knob. @Lithodale intimated that Spickert was quite the descent, and it certainly was. I wish I knew the road better. At this point I was getting sort of tired and sort of butt tired, so I gingerly picked my way through New Albany until I found Lithodale's place of employment where I stopped for a water break and chatted him up for a minute or two. Stage 3 was completed. Successful, but I was tired.
Stage 4 was the anticlimactic "transpo" stage through N'albany and Clarksville before crossing the river and in to home. I had different notions of stopping for coffee, for a snack, or even to get my bars re-wrapped, as the Brooks leather was moving on the left side of my bar. Instead I somewhat meekly picked my way down the busy traffic of B'town and into home. My slowest "laps" by far- aside the world's slowest climb- were my last 8 miles on the transpo portion. I was toast and later in the afternoon felt it even more. I laid around like a zombie, to be honest. I think I like rolling along at fat-man-on-rbw pace better, but it was great to get out and push the envelope a bit. And anybody living in the 'Ville should try this course out as a metric. Absolutely fabulous from miles 10-45. As good as it gets in the area.