November weekend ride
In spite of what it looks like, our Saturday ride really didn’t just totally shred us. Sure, it was windy and we rode a few hills, but it was a pretty darn nice November ride!
Mike, Max, Pam, and I left Battlefield late in the morning with Billings as our destination. I really didn’t have a lot of expectations of ourselves other than to get in a 30 mile ride. We hadn’t been on the tandem for three weeks, so we knew our endurance would be down and with the wind blowing, we already had one strike against us. In spite of that, we had a decent feeling ride, although the average speed was nothing to crow about. I felt good that we finished the 30 miles with plenty left in the tank.
Given the late hour of our start, we opted to avoid Republic altogether and ride the hill on ZZ twice. Yeah, if you’re familiar with that hill, you know it’s a killer both ways, but that’s life! Actually, I should qualify that a little. Going south up the hill is a granny gear climb, but going north isn’t quite as bad. We usually deal with that valley going north, and I think this was the first time I’ve ever ridden it heading south on the tandem. We know we were better off to bypass Republic’s traffic by going that way, but there was still a surprising amount of traffic out on those roads outside of town. Even with the traffic, we know it would have been much worse had we gone through town like we normally do when we ride in that direction.
After the long climb up the hill on County Line to the roundabout, we had dropped Max, so we did a couple of loops around. When we did, Mike laughingly declared that he knew which direction he preferred to ride! When you’re riding around in a circle, you’ve at least got a chance to have a tailwind for a few feet! As it was, we spent most of the time riding west into a northwest wind until the turnaround point at Billings.
We worked our way over to Terrill Creek Road and started the long, steady climb toward Billings. As we rode through the creek valley, it seemed like there was still a little color in the trees along the valley walls but other than that, it’s starting to look a little drab out there.
We pulled into the c-store at Billings for a short break at the side of the building that was in the sun and out of the wind. While we were there, Pam discovered what happens if you clutch a handful of chocolate covered peanuts too tightly for too long!
And that picture was taken after she had licked quite a bit of it off!
As we mounted up to head back to the truck, we knew that the wind would be at least somewhat more favorable for part of the trip. It was, but we still slowed down a lot when we turned to the north.
We spotted this old truck in the side yard of a farmhouse about the time Max stopped to take a phone call. I would have liked to have walked up to get a view where I could crop out the little shed, but the dogs across the road were making a ruckus and a guy was working on another vehicle in the garage just outside the image. He was giving us the evil-eye as he worked, so I didn’t want to chance it. You could tell he was wondering why all the goofy cyclists in their strange clothes were gathering in the road in front of his house, so we took care of our business and skedaddled.
We took a slightly different route on the way back, exiting the Terrill Creek valley on Lenape Road instead of Beal Road. The advantage of doing that was to avoid the granny gear climb just after crossing the creek on Beal. We still had a pretty hard climb, but it wasn’t of the granny gear variety that the other road offers.
We had a pretty fun time riding circles around the roundabout again. Pam was getting into it, and if Mike and Max hadn’t peeled off when they did, I think Pam was wanting to give it a shot at maximum effort to see how fast we could turn a lap! It’s probably a good thing we didn’t have the chance…..
We negotiated the ZZ hill for the second time then crossed the Wilson’s Creek valley to return to our truck at Battlefield. We pulled into the parking lot just a little under half a mile short of 30, so guess what we had to do. Yes, we circled the parking lot to make sure we rolled over 30 miles for the day!
You can click the map below for the full GPS track.
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