Archive for the ‘Rogersville’ category

Sunday Afternoon Hill Mash

February 25, 2013

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

God bless…

TW

It just keeps going

December 3, 2012

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I couldn’t resist.  We were back from vacation, the laundry was done, the groceries were replenished, and in fact, everything we needed to get done was done.  I hit the road shortly after noon Sunday for a planned 2 hour outing.

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I cruised out past the river and headed south, thinking that the wind was in my face and that it would be in my favor most of the way back.  I was only half-way right.  I never could find a direction where I felt like the wind was at my back.  I think it was in the process of shifting from the south to the west.

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Regardless of the wind direction, I couldn’t believe I was overdressed on December 2nd, wearing shorts, a long sleeve base layer and a jersey.  After being cold for the past 10 days in the Big Apple, this was heaven!

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I decided I would go out all the way to Smyrna Road and  climb the big hill.  I think that’s one of my favorite rides…down the hill on Cottonwood and then up again on Smyrna to what seems like the top of the Ozarks.  I can remember when that hill used to kick my tail, but now it’s one of my favorites.  Funny how things change, isn’t it?

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I thought this young man was going to be the only cyclist I saw for the day, but I finally saw a couple more as I was almost home.  I got a kick out of the kid.  He was pedaling his bike around the trailer park just above Linden, and was giving me the evil eye as I passed.  Notice he’s riding around without his shirt…and did I already say it was December 2nd?

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Even the cows were confused by the weather.  At nearly every pond I passed, they were out in the water cooling off.

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As I turned toward Rogersville, I decided I would ride through town, but just keep on pedaling.  I was feeling good, and despite the wind, I felt like I was riding pretty fast (for me).  We had eaten just before I left, so I didn’t think I would need to stop for fuel.  My computer rolled over 20 miles just as I crossed the highway in town, so I knew I would end up with 36ish miles for the day on the route I intended to take back.

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To be honest, I was enjoying the solitude after several days with way more people than I’m used to being around.  It was just me, the bike, and the wind in my ears!  Oh, and a few cows, and occasional hawk, and a couple of squirrels.  Traffic was almost non-existent, making the afternoon even more perfect.

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When I passed the house above, I had to stop and grab a picture.  In spite of the warm afternoon, it looks like they’re well prepared for the months to come!

I pulled into the garage with a big, silly grin on my face, weary legs, and 36.5 miles behind me.  What blew me away was the 18 mph average speed I carried for the afternoon.  That’s not necessarily what I was intending, but I’ll take it.  Not a bad way to spend the early part of a Sunday afternoon, if I do say so myself.

Links to the GPS track are here and here, if you care about such things.

God bless…

TW

Kathy, he did it again

May 29, 2012

On our ride on Saturday, we were climbing out of the Terrell Creek Valley and Pam commented, “Wow!  This hill is worse than that monster hill at Ozark.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize what hill she was talking about, so she had to describe it to me and when she did, I knew she was talking about the Smyrna Road hill just before you get to Linden.  Yesterday, we rode again, and it just so happened that the route I chose included that “monster hill”.  I didn’t mention it until we were long past it, and found that she hadn’t recognized where we were at because we came down Cottonwood Road instead of crossing the river at Riverside (the bridge is out).  I presume that hill must not be all that bad (actually, it probably is)!  Mike is just at the base of it in the picture above, and it goes on quite a ways after it curves to the right. 

We had another hot, windy ride, but it was a pretty fun one.  We left from the Evans Road c-store, looped down to Smyrna Road, back to Rogersville, and almost over to Turners for a total of nearly 35 miles

As we were coming up out of Linden, Mike did it again.  As always, he was in front of us on the hill and for the second ride in a row, missed our turn.  No amount of yelling could get his attention, so we just let him go.  We knew our routes would eventually intersect at Highway U, so we hoped he would wait for us there or figure out his mistake and catch us.  When we got to U, he wasn’t there, so we pulled over in the shade and started to try to call him.  As we did, we caught sight of him coming up behind us.   

We also had some comic relief at Hardee’s in Rogersville.  It was pretty warm in the sun, so Mike and Pam put the umbrella up for shade.  What they didn’t count on was that it wasn’t anchored at the bottom.  The wind caught it and pretty much jerked it straight up.  Mike managed to catch it with one hand, but there for a minute, we thought we were going to have a Mary Poppins moment!  He barely held on!

As we got out on the flats west of Rogersville, we noticed that the ponds are getting pretty dry looking already, and the wheat looks like it’s getting close to harvesting.  I said it in the last post, but it’s way too early for that around here.   I’m afraid it’s going to be a long, dry summer.

As we made our way back toward Evans Road, we passed what we call the “horse farm”.  We hadn’t ridden down that road in a while, and that place just keeps getting bigger and bigger!  It looks like their guest house is probably way bigger than our humble abode. 

As we finished our ride, I noted that we finished it with just a little faster average speed than Saturday’s 42 miles.  I think the wind was just as bad, and it was a little bit hotter, so I was very happy with the effort.  I think both of us benefited from taking a rest day on Sunday…and it probably didn’t help that we consumed a bunch of calories at the Sunday evening barbeque!

God bless…

TW

A game of deja vu

May 11, 2012

Yesterday evening my wife ended up having to sit at the hospital with her mother, so that left me to my own devices.  When that happened, I did what I usually do in that state, which is take a bike ride.  I gathered up my best friend (pictured below) and headed out the door about 6:30.

For the first 15 miles, I played a little game I like to call “deja vu”.  Have you ever played it?  It’s my own version of hill repeats.  The way I play is to ride up every hill twice!  I ride up one, turn around and ride down it, then repeat the ride up. 

The problem with playing that game (other than wearing yourself out) is that it takes you forever to get anywhere.  After an hour, I had ridden 15 miles but was only at the place I call 4-Corners, which is really about 7 miles from the house.  At that point, I decided I had better stop playing games and just ride, so I buckled down and headed toward Rogersville with all the gusto I could manage.  I wish I had thought thought to capture a lap on my Garmin, because that second hour of riding was a lot faster that the first.

It’s hay-making time around here.  With the exception of one, every hay field was freshly cut or actually still being cut as I rode past.  In some places, there was quite a bit of dust in the air from the tractors and implements, and by the time I got home, my eyes were itchy and watering constantly. 

The only real stop I made was to photograph this purple and white flower that I didn’t recognize.  It was growing in a fence row, and I’m guessing the bushes it was on spanned about 15 feet.  It’s the only place I noticed it, so it’s not very common…but it is beautiful.  If you know what it is, drop me a comment.

I originally only planned to do one of my High School loops, but it was so nice out and I was having so much fun hammering hard that I decided to go all the way to Rogersville and come back on the the south side of the highway through Mentor.  I knew it would be dark by the time I got home, but I had the foresight to move my light over to the Madone before I left, so I wasn’t worried.  I just kept hammering.

As the sun went down, I stopped for what I thought would be one final picture, changed my glasses (glad I remembered to bring both pairs), then realized it wasn’t quite as dark as it seemed with my sunglasses on and continued hammering away.  Eventually, though, I did stop for that final sunset picture of the day.

As I crossed the bridge and rode alongside the river toward home in the dark, the bugs were so bad that it was miserable.  You just had to keep your mouth shut and hope they stayed out of your eyes and ears while putting up with them in your hair, clothes and helmet.  As soon as I started up the final big hill out of the bottom, that was the end of them.

I finished my ride with 34.5 miles in exactly 2 hours, giving me an average pace of 17.2 mph.  Combined with my commute, it gave me a total of about 55 miles for the day.  Not bad for a Thursday!

God bless…

TW

Never Say “Never”

April 8, 2012

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We all know, that you should never say “never”.  As sure as you do, you’ll eat those words.  We got a laugh out of that Saturday, because at some point in the past, Ron brashly told his wife, “I’ll never ride on Farm Road 193 again!”.

Well, I’ve got news for you.  When you leave on a ride from my house, there’s a good chance you’re gonna get to ride on Farm Road 193.  It’s not that bad…just a little hilly, especially in the section I’ve circled on the map above.  It’s kind of pretty, though!  Ron joined Mike and me Saturday morning and even chose our starting point, so we had no sympathy for his dislike of 193!

But before you get there, you’ve gotta cross the river.  Ron says he knew he was in trouble when he was going 30 mph within three minutes of leaving my driveway! 

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Yes, it’s true.  What goes down must come up.  As soon as you cross Kinser Bridge, you have to climb part way out of the river valley on Battlefield Road at about a 9% grade.

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As soon as you get past that minor obstacle, you turn south on 193 proper, cruise over a few rollers, then take a quick dip down and start climbing a relatively short 10% grade.  Unfortunately, as soon as you top that, you go down again and back up at 8% for a bit before crossing the highway.

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For all his complaining, though, Ron climbed right up those hills with no problem.  We rode on through Mentor and into the wind to County Line Road (FR 194) before we turned back to the east and headed toward Rogersville.

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At one point we saw several riders in a cluster.  There was a group of two or three, followed by two more maybe 50 yards behind.  Perhaps another three hundred yards behind them we met a single rider.  I gave him a wave, and he responded with a sheepish little grin and wave that told me he was trying his best to keep up with the others but had been dropped!  Oh well, it’s all good anyway!

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We started with decently bright sky, but as the morning wore on, it got progressively darker and felt like rain was eventually going to fall (it did in the afternoon).  I was glad we had planned a shorter ride today because of that.

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The last time I rode this route, I noticed this oddity.  It’s a milk can buried in the pavement.  From the other side, you can see it actually extends down into the ground under the asphalt, although I wondered how in the world the asphalt got tucked so neatly under the little ridge.  Mike joked that it looked like a spittoon, so I took a shot at it, but being on the fly, missed by a mile.  In reality, I suspect it might have contained a mailbox post at one point. 

We made our usual stop at Hardees in Rogersville, where Mike enlightened us about a new kind of Snickers bar.  The one in the blue wrapper is supposed to have three times the chocolate than the normal one.  I’m thinking I need to try that one of these days!  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the c-store didn’t have one to try, so we headed for home. 

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As you get out to the hay fields between Rogersville and home, the grass absolutely beautiful.  Just about as far as you can see, the fields are a deep green right now.  I’m thinking the first cutting is going to be a little earlier in the year than normal for around here.

We pulled into the driveway with 30 miles under our belt and took one last celebratory picture of the three of us. 

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Ron’s the only one of us with arms long enough to pull  off that shot!

You can click the map above to see the full GPS track for the day.

God bless…

TW


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