Day 1 had the plan to taking a very similar route to what we experienced a year ago, the famous Fixer-Leeco Rd., which at the time left our mouths agape. The first pic below suggests that our first day was going to be an interesting one, if not "epic", what with the rain, plenty of rain.
|We parked at the Natural Bridge SP lodge.|
We may have started in the rain, but by the time we finished the steady 1-mile grind up KY-11 the rumor of sunshine peaked out and we attacked Fixer-Leeco with relish. Given the rain and a year's worth of oil trucks and who knows what else, we found the conditions thicker, chunkier than last year. Both of us rode RacingRalphs from Schwalbe, Patrick's a hearty 2.4/2.3 combo, mine both 2.25s", and we enjoyed the extra float and grip. The road this year kicked up loads of sand onto our drivetrains; within the first miles Patrick had a link issue and my mount was skipping gears. A mess.
Below the reservoir things became a bit more civilized as we began to pass houses instead of oil rigs, well except for the vicious pit bull at the shack of a house at Fixer with the meth head who couldn't get up the hill to take his dog away. We eventually escaped but only just.
We passed by Indian Valley Recreational Retreat and Peaceful Valley Resort, which research shows as being "developed" areas with cabins and rentals. You should understand that these cabins are as deep in the middle of nowhere as anywhere I can imagine. The roads in and out are unimproved to say the least. Both, though, are marketed to the Jeep and 4-wheeling crowd, and to that I am sure they are nirvana. (Let's not forget the mixed-terrain cyclist types).
We were amazed last time at the section of road as it became Bald Rock Fork Rd. with its many creek crossings. This time the crossing provided us with more water, one of which was axle/BB level. No pic from that because I was primarily concerned with getting across and then how my front end was doing after crashing a boulder mid-stream. I stayed up! Once through the climbers' preserve we faced the 1-mile climb out of Bald Rock and we took to walking. The rain, while stopped, created an oppressively humid day which blanketed us while walking, requiring both of us to take extra breathers at the sections of 20%+
At the top by the small cemetery we stopped for a snack and a breather, the snack courtesy of the owner of RedRiverRockhouse, my near-favorite restaurant on earth. On the run up in the morning we stopped by there to take a gander and the owner and employee were outside getting ready to leave, the restaurant closed for the morning. Out of kindness he gave us a mostly full roll of all-natural summer sausage. At the top we sliced that roll up and had the best fatty, salty, yummy bike treat every.
We found LagoLinda quite empty, surprising given that it was to be the climbers work weekend (like last year) and they were expecting some 200 climbers piling in. Many of the campsites were already called for, though, and we ended up in the same one as last year, on the end. We set up for a pleasant evening, which the pics convey. What is not well-shown is that around the dinner hour, not long after Patrick had prepared a nice pasta and sausage dish, the skies grew heavy and God began to cry. And cry. And sob. It *poured*, both of us concerned about the watertightness of our tents. We found fundamentally dry tents but standing water all about. We survived. The gear survived. But only barely.
A solid day's ride and rain experienced made for a pretty easy bedtime, but as often the case, the night's sleep was as terrible as ever. I'm not sure why I camp.