Hale Ridge Lollipop DBNF'13 D2

Saturday's ride was to be our 'Queen Stage'. Instead of riding the loaded bikes, we pared down to essentials including the Esbit stove for a warm mid-ride lunch. Our opener included the cruise south along 399, where we made a note of the store at Yellow Rock for later purposes. Unfortunately, the run from LagoLinda to the river crossing at Heidelberg was basically a 5-mile descent, which we would have to repeat on the return leg home. The descent down Heidelberg Rd. was thrilling, but it was damp and we were both treading lightly with our RacingRalphs. The pic below shows a lovely bright blue bridge in contrast to the lush greens of the Kentucky River valley. Great stuff.

Shortly thereafter we turned right onto Cressmont Rd, which the KY Division of Transpo map shows as unpaved. We found a paved creek run road which we couldn't decide was ascending or descending. Neither of us had particularly good legs. Whining.

We briefly stopped at the juncture of Cressmont, Todd and Hale Ridge to find Todd's Rd. as gravel, as promised. We turned up Hale Ridge, which fortunately was paved along the steeper pitches. The entirety of the Hale Ridge hill is sort of unknown. Strava has the primary climb at 1.6 miles with a 5% average. Suffice, though, that that opening pitches were mid-teens and 24% at some point. That, my friends, is steep. Imagine it on gravel. We worked out way up the ridge, which ended up being a solid 5 miles of gain which did include some gravel at the top as it worked its way through the forest proper.

I'm not sure what is more impressive, my many chins, scraggly beard, or helmet straps so loose as to be unsafe.
At the top of Hale, a marvelous cycling road and one I would love to ride again, limited gravel or no, we debated lunch plans and decided to work our way back towards the barn. We had had designs of Turkey Foot or Wild Dog Creek Rd. further south, but instead went with the game plan of enjoying- not killing- ourselves. If the ascent of Hale Ridge was tough but satisfying, the 5-mile gradual descent of 587/Farmer's Ridge Rd. was even better, maybe the best. I am not a daredevil descender; I get scared. So this kind of gradual, flowey descent felt great, relaxed. Just right. We found a turn-off near a cemetery where we made a lunch of macaroni/cheese bowls with packets of tuna and salmon using the Esbit pocket stove. I'm going to be honest, a warm lunch using the small stove was far preferred over mutated, gooey sandwiches or fake food. Yet again, I think Pondero with his mid-ride coffee stops in on to something. Warmth.

At the end of our thrilling descent we turned left onto Todds Rd. and finally found our gravel creek run. It wasn't long but was refreshing and appreciated. Pics at this point became rare. Yes, again, the theme awoke. Spoke. Rain.

By the time we left the gravel back on Cressmont (we made a lollipop) it had become something of a deluge. From then on we put our heads down and resolved to grind back, make progress. At Heidelberg we turned left, then right, and up the climb, which was to be another mile long grind. Strava has the average at 7%. I say take out the last couple tenths, give yourself a .8-mile climb and have pitches of 15, 23, and 18% beat the living daylights out of you. Remember that Heidelberg to the camp was a general 5-mile ascent and we felt it. The store at Yellow Rock provided sugary goodness, and we rolled into camp beaten up but not beaten.

In camp we beat around and relaxed. Oh, it rained, only this time with actual conviction. The climbers had come back from their work day so they filled up the pavilion. Pat and I, like many others, ended up pinned down in our tents for an hour or so, the heavens open and crying with a furious rage. I felt a few drips but stayed dry. Patrick, on the other hand, had three distinct leaks and he spent some time mopping. After the storm we were able to have some supper- this time rice, curry, chicken and some potatoes the nice lady at Yellow Rock grocery gave to us for free- and finished with chocolate. We fell asleep to bluegrass music and plenty of noise from the revelry. Good for them. Good for us.

But no Perseid meteor shower like last year. Our expectations has modified to basic warmth and dryness.

p.s. Earlier in the camp afternoon we were "entertained" by a group of young ladies and a guy who was gay or not gay or a dad or a boyfriend of something. His sexuality is not the point. The point is that this group of young girls- say 23yrsoldish- and a guy at least as old as us spent a solid hour talking VERY LOUDLY about poop, bra sizes, pregnancies, clitorii, and the like. It was vile. I spend time with teenagers and these girls and guy reminded me of my years teaching freshmen. LISTEN TO ME! I AM GOING TO OUTDO YOU WITH MY DUMB CONVERSATION TO GET ATTENTION! ME, I AM TALKING LOUDER! ME!! We had to stroll off from our  campsite because we couldn't bear it anymore. Fortunately they joined the bigger throng of climbers and melded in. Totally inconsiderate and atypical amid a group of generally chill folks.


Pondero said…
Cool stuff. What an excellently designed tour itinerary. I like how you guys roll.

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