Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mucho Mixed-Terrain

Mr. Crowell and I undertook a Vitamin G Mission yesterday in and around Ferdinand State Forest, as we have in before. Each time I come away humbled but ever hungry for more. It's got more gravel, more nature, more empty, more challenge, and more fresh (albeit humid and occasionally odoriferous) air than the rest of what is Kentuckiana. We've been doing some good mileage, and I needed the crunch of mixed-terrain to help focus the senses. What I came away with was struggle well-earned.

We started with a half-mile downhill which then became a half-mile uphill, all of which set the stage for a very jagged day on the bike. No, we don't have epic 1-hr Rockies climbs, but S.IN certainly does have plenty of mile-longish climbs to satisfy the craving.

This whop-dee-doo downhill early on was particularly fun on the fattie. The Mulkuk doesn't like to ascend, but not unlike during my snow adventures, it really, really likes to go downhill.

Along the double-track in the previous pic I saw a road-like entity going off through the field, and it was marked on my gps. We took it. By the time we crossed the ditch, as you can see, it got more "textured".

Fattie at Enlow Cemetery while Dave fixed a surprising flat.

Weird, abandoned house that shouldn't be.

Our run along Carlisle and Calvert through Siberia was particularly nice. We reveled in the low traffic and the mellower road conditions. Yes, we did have a couple climbs, but, no, they weren't as damn long. We hit Co.Rd.Chickadee and took a brief turn down FerdForestCoRd to find that the derelict bridge had been taken down to our chagrin (take at look at the Oct link from above for pics of the standing bridge- just barely). After that we climbed into Ferdinand State Forest for several miles of yet more gravel, but sheltered on both sides by nothing but forest, green, stillness with an occasional farm. Great stuff.  We suffered passing either a chicken or pig farm that filled the air with an acrid urine smell that followed us for at least a mile. Terrible.  We were further surprised to find a $2 entrance fee to FSF that I hadn't paid on previous trips. Damn gov'ment. We searched and find a very easy short-cut that bypassed the fee and even found a nice picnic spot next to the fire tower. That was the high point of the day. Get it? Funny!

At our picnic amid the fire tower we decided that the full 55-mile route wouldn't be a good idea. Simply stated, the climbing was kicking out butts and we doubted that the later miles would be fun. We found a couple alternates, one including our planned store stop in Birdseye, the other the most direct route back to the car. Leaving FSF we planned to make Birdseye and go from there. Our turn onto E 625 and then the flattish run along S Schnell was a real treat. Finally we weren't climbing like banshees (do banshees climb?), but we still had our gravel and trees. Mmm, good!

At some point we took a minor wrong turn and added a mile and change along easy roads, and at that point decided the most direct would be prudent. We just weren't strong enough for the conditions and wanted to finish with some semblance of pride.  The long climb along 710S was both challenging and delightful; it might have been my favorite road of the day.

C.Rd.710S, gravelled, forested goodness

Soon thereof, after bombing a downhill on my pillow tires past a fighting cock farm and passing a gigantic dairy operation we joined our original out route and from that point, we just moved our way home.We slowly "climbed" the 1-mile E Anderson Valley Rd. and then met October Rd again, which shows as a 2-mile acclivity. No wonder we were tired!!! At some point Dave got sort of sick to his stomach, but I was a bad ride friend and just kept pushing (slowly) towards the car. I needed the car.

To be fair, we just sort of crawled in to the car, bought some Gatorade, and skeedaddled.  I would go back tomorrow, in the rain.

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