I had to drop to drop Z off at his first week of church camp, so I planned an afternoon to search for the elusive Susan's Amish Bakery, of the KY Donut Trail fame. My route had me at little over 40 miles, and I had a clear free afternoon to again ramble around in this central KY area. The ride can easily divided in thirds, albeit not in actual mileage.
The first third took me from Yosemite, KY up to the location where Susan's Bakery was to be on state road 643 near Crab Orchard, KY. Previously I had only descended state 501, but today in my second mile I had the opportunity to warm up via a 1k climb that saw in excess of 10%. On top, 501 gave me a 10-mile run of ridge-top running under sunny skies, but with some dark foreboding in the distance. After crossing 27 the roads got lumpier into the Buck Creek valley at Kocher Ridge, but the .3m steepie dumped me onto another sunny ridge-top where the tractors were cutting hay and setting tobacco plants (a bit late). I turned onto 643 and began looking for the enigmatic Susan's and found nothing. I eventually stopped at Ottenheim Cemetery (or church. I think it was a Lutheran church. Old.) to use my phone (with only a sliver of service) and eventually gave up on a mid-ride treat and ate some dark chocolate and had water.
|Looking back climb up 501|
|Rainy, foggy distance. I like this.|
|The disappearing culture and vision of KY tobacco. Yes, it's bad for you, but it's KY.|
|Bridge across Buck Creek|
|Ottenheim church in middle of field. Not sure what's going on here.|
|Seafoam with front bartube bag for gps and binoculars (later camera and even later bagged pringles and rear Carradice Pendle bag. That's an awfully nice-sized bag for one-day trips such as today. Awfully nice country bike, at Ottenheim church.|
Thus began the next third of the day, and I can't say that it was much fun at all. Just before arriving at Ottenheim I notice that my rear derailer cable had moved out of its cable guide and had practically fallen on to my crankarm. I fiddled with it some and had it shifting, but during this next 10-mile leg from Ottenheim to Waynesburg it slipped out a couple more times, necessitating stops. The run along Schuler/OK Schuller Rd. was sort of grimy and dark, my first sketchy road of the day. Then, somewhere during this I encountered a perfect storm. Ha! My biking was shifting poorly, I ran into a wall, another .3-mile 10+% steepie, and at this exact time the heavens opened with a furious deluge, not a summer rain but a bucket of wet death raining down on my climb/not-climb. The final miles in to Waynesburg and a gas station proved pretty low and challenging: wet, weak, mopey, shifty, blah. A positive is that I hit 43.5mph on a descent mid-ride. Fun!
|St. Sylvester, rather new|
|Claustrophobia along Schuler Rd.|
I stopped in Waynesburg and bought chocolate milk and some barbque chips to get some salt back in my system, as well as some Nuun-infused water. It helped that it had stopped raining and I was drying out, and aside my mediocre mood I also knew that about 10 miles remained; I could suffer through that. I bombed down the nice descent of Pond School Rd and found the intersection of S Fishing Creek Rd. Almost immediately, my mood improved. Maybe it was the Pringles. First I encountered a strange, foreboding intersection into a wilderness abyss, a stop sign to nowhere. I like those. Then I moved along S Fishing Creek, which in all honesty has been added to the mental "Top Roads" list. As its title suggests, it hugs the contours of Fishing Creek and the valley it follows. I don't remember encountering one car (maybe one) nor one house. It was secluded, scenic, and had "flow". While not gravel, the road surface was deteriorating asphalt, which sort of felt like gravel underfoot the 26" Marathons. After too few miles I made the turn onto the Fishing Creek bridge and stopped for a couple to take things in. Very shortly thereafter I found another highlight of the day- maybe the best- in Phillippe Rd., a mile+ gravel climb up through a close, dark, cool tunnel of trees and terrain. The surface made it challenging, but it stayed in the 5-7% range, making it rideable. I did stop for a breather at some point, but more so I just wanted to drink up the mood of the texture of the road and surrounding greenery. Phillippe Rd. had a nice feel all the way to its terminus at 837, where I made a quick turn to find my final road of the day, Bastin Creek Rd. Again, I had a creek to follow. I had previously climbed this and remember it being a steady up. Today it began with a bombing 35mph careen through the trees and 5 miles of downhill for the most part. I felt great, pumped the short rises and finished in a way that had nothing to do with my mid-ride storm-fueled malaise.
|Fishing Creek Rd., or not. A road into the grassy distance. This stop sign is actually not along the road. I can 't really figure this out, but I like it. My camera accidentally switched over to "pinhole". I like it.|
|Pin-holed S Fishing Creek Rd. I like it.|
|Sunny Seafoam on Fishing Creek|
|Phillippe Rd. gravel climb|
|Looking north just of 70 at 501|
Today was proof-positive that longer rides have varying moods just as the contours of central KY vary from wooded creek runs to exposed ridges along with steep, sudden jolts of climbing. One road can include a climb, an open tour of fields and then disappear into a silent world. KY is great for bike riding.
I did a bit of bird watching today, although I find that I need to either choose to ride or view, but it's challenging to do both. Something to consider. Following are ones I remember. None is special; they're all KY summer birds and I sort of like that about them:
barn swallow (a bit more obvious)
swallows aplenty- small and hard to differentiate
eastern kingbird (binocs)
eastern meadowlark (numerous)
blue indigo (numerous)
kingfisher (at the one clean pond I saw all day long. The rest were algea-green)
I won't count the innumerable sparrows and other little brown birds I didn't try to ID
brown thrasher (binocs)
Raptor- I saw one late in the ride at a distance getting harassed by some smaller birds. No clue which one.
Domestic chickens- One yard had LOTS