Sunday Afternoon Hill Mash
The last time I rode this route, it kicked my tail. With similar conditions yesterday, I was hoping to fare better than before. This time was much better.
With sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50’s, I was counting on the roads being ice-free. There was only one patch that was so deep in the shade that a thin film of ice still covered the road, but that was only for about 6 feet and it was soft enough that I just plowed right through it. By the time I got home, I noticed I wasn’t seeing hardly any snow and ice in the ditches.
The last time I rode this route, the temperature was in the upper thirties and the wind was blowing stiffly from the north. Today, the wind had shifted from the south-east, but seemed like it was blowing about the same speed as last time. Today, however, I was on my road bike, which made the 3,000 plus feet of climbing much more enjoyable!
I’m not sure why, but I really like riding into and then out of that valley where Farm Roads 116 and 249 intersect east of Strafford. I know it’s one of the toughest climbs within easy riding distance of my house, but it might not actually be as bad as the one on Farm Road 231 between Strafford and Division Street (Highway YY). That sucker is tough! I notice from looking at the Strava Leader Board for it that I’m listed as DFL, although when I look at the guys ahead of me, I don’t feel too bad! I’ve got to be honest, though, I’ve never really tried to see how fast I can get up one. I’ve always been too busy just trying to survive it!
I encountered road construction at the bridge over the spring/creek on Sparklebrook Road. I saw the signs, but figured I could probably find a way around it so I ignored them. Not this time! It was too wet and muddy to even think about it. I had to backtrack a bit and add about a mile to the route because of that.
I suspected I was going to get dirty on the short quarter-mile gravel section of Lon Road, and I did. The first half of the gravel was in the shade and therefore very wet and nasty. The second half had dried out in the sun so it wasn’t a big deal. I guess I was going slow enough that I didn’t sling a lot of crud up on myself, but the bike does need a bath now.
Even without the mud, there was enough water and salt on the road that a smart person would go ahead and wash it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance later in the day, so I’m looking for an opportunity this week.
I made it home in much better shape than last time. I suspect the difference was in the bike rather than me, but whatever it was, I’ll take it!
You can click the map above for the full Strava track.
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