For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking it was time to go ride B Highway between Rogersville and Northview. It’s a lovely ride, but one that takes a while to do and one that you need to work to since it is 50 miles that involves quite a bit of climbing.
Yesterday proved that opportunity, as I had taken the day off work in anticipation of hauling off a bunch of brush we had cut out of my sister-in-law’s yard. Fortunately, she got that taken care of on her own, leaving me with just a few chores/errands for the morning and the afternoon free to ride.
From the beginning, though, the voice in my head was second-guessing every aspect of my ride. Pam and I had run 6 miles early in the morning, and I wasn’t real sure what impact that would have on my legs when it came to riding an additional 50 miles. From the house, I headed out over Kinser Bridge and south to Mentor. That’s a bit of a tough climb getting out of the river valley, and the strong south wind didn’t help one bit. Compounding the issue was the head and humidity, so by the time I got to Mentor, I was already wondering if I was up to the entire distance.
I remember thinking that the wind shouldn’t be as strong after I turned east toward Rogersville, but I as wrong on that count. There was just enough of a southeasterly direction to the wind that the tough ride continued all the way to Rogersville. The entire trip out there, I kept asking myself if I had the legs and the stamina to continue my entire planned route and gave serious consideration to just going straight home from there.
I noticed a lot of scenes like the one pictured below as I headed trudged into the wind.
Maybe they were smarter than me after all?
At Rogersville, I decided to stop for a Gatorade. I had nearly emptied one bottle in the fourteen miles between home and there, so I felt like I shouldn’t need it too badly. I think I perceived it as more of a preventative measure than anything. It did taste pretty good going down, though.
As I crossed the highway and made my way to State Highway B, I could tell that the wind would be in my favor until I hit Northview, but then I knew there would be a 20 mile stretch back home where it would be against me again. Telling myself I would enjoy the wind until the Highway AD intersection and make a decision then, I headed on.
I always enjoy riding “B”. It does have a lot of hills, but they’re generally pretty nice rollers. There are a couple of pretty big valleys at the James River and the other creek that feeds it, but the exhilarating ride down is worth it. There were people playing in both the river and the creek, but I felt like it would be too creepy to stop and take their picture.
As I approached AD, I slowed to nearly a crawl while I debated my options. How hard would it be to ride against the wind from Northview to home? I finally threw caution to the wind and went for it! Once I passed AD, there was no turning back, so I cranked it onto the big chain-ring for the first time and took advantage of the wind! It felt great!
The fifteen miles between Rogersville and I-44 flew by in no time. Before I was ready for it, I had crossed over the interstate and turned onto the northern outer road. I generally prefer it over Highway OO on the south side because it has less traffic. You pay a price, however, because the pavement is some pretty nasty chip-seal that’s in horrible shape. The Northview hill is just as bad on either side, but as I climbed it yesterday, I was grinning as I remembered a time that our friends Sam and Barbara had been riding with us out there. Sam was moaning and suffering up that hill on their tandem and I finally turned to him and said, “Sam, forget about the hill. Just look at that beautiful view out there and pedal!” So that’s what I did.
I suppose it was about this time that I kind of got mad at the wind and the road. It’s about a seven mile trip to Strafford on that outer road and you’re subjected to the roar of interstate traffic the entire time. For some reason, I got tired of it and just put my head down and pedaled as hard as I could to get off of it.
By the time I got to Strafford, I really needed to stop, so I bought another Gatorade and a candy bar and enjoyed the air conditioning of the c-store for a few minutes before heading off for my final leg.
Throughout the ride, I noticed a couple of things quite consistently. First, there were a log of guys out cutting or bailing hay. For some of them, I think this has to be the second cutting already. The guy below (he’s hard to see…working on the back tractor) seemed to have broken down.
The second thing I noticed was that the “wild daylilies” were blooming in the ditches.
I call them “wild daylilies” because they are untended. One of the characteristics of the Ozarks is that a lot of the old country homesteads planted daylilies in the ditches. Those old places are mostly long gone these days, but you can always tell where they were this time of the year by the bright orange flowers blooming. When we built our house 20 years ago, I went out and dug up some of those and we’ve got a pretty nice patch of them under a tree. When my daughter left, she took some with her, and I noticed she’s also getting a pretty nice patch of old time daylilies.
After descending the hill at Danforth Cemetery, and heading for home on Highway E (Division Street), I noticed a road closed sign. Hoping it was closed after I would turn, I continued on and got lucky.
I turned left right were I stopped for the picture. The bridge is completely out there and in the middle of being replaced. I don’t think it was that way last week when we were out that direction. When on the tandem, we usually take a little farm road around that hill, but I think we would have seen the sign.
I made it home with 49.82 miles on the bike, so I’m just gonna call it a 50 mile ride. The only real trouble I had completing it was in my head. A breakdown of my average speed is as follows:
- Home to Rogersville – 15 mph
- Rogersville to I-44 – 18.4 mph
- I-44 to home – 15.4 mph
- Overall – 16.2 mph
Here’s a link to the Garmin Track.