Posted tagged ‘Rogersville’

Whiteoak Route

June 10, 2013

I swear, you think I would learn!  If there’s a road around here that I haven’t ridden, there’s probably a reason.

I had mapped out a 47 mile tandem ride for Saturday that used mostly familiar roads.  For grins, however, I threw in a stretch of road from the map that looked intriguing…and that I had never ridden.  Turns out it was gravel!

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Unfortunately, the tandem and gravel roads don’t play well together and this one was particularly tricky.  As far as gravel roads go, it was in nice shape, but there was so much loose, marble sized stone on it that the front end was really trying to wash out on me, so after about 200  yards, I called “Uncle!” and we turned around.

Other than that, it was a great morning on the bike.  We had left at 6:00 AM with the idea of getting home early for a full day of commitments, so just about the first thing we saw was several deer between our house and the river.  Temps were in the low 50’s, so I was really glad to hit the climbs out of the river bottom to warm up, but Pam stayed cold for the first 25 miles.

Crossing through Mentor, we saw some folks setting up a rest stop for the Breast Cancer Ride, then as we approached the big downhill on Cottonwood toward Ozark the first fast group of riders passed us.  That didn’t last long, because as soon as we pointed ourselves down the hill the tandem took over and we quickly caught and passed them.  At the bottom of the hill, we went right and they went left, but we saw another large group of riders later on in Rogersville.

After climbing Hawkens Hill, we brushed the outskirts of Ozark, then turned our sights on Rogersville.  That entailed another pass over the Finley River and another Hawkens Hill like granny gear climb, but we handled it nicely and were rewarded with sweeping vistas once we got back out on top.  Pam says she can always tell when we’re around Ozark because the views are pretty awesome out there.

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There is a new coffee shop in Rogersville.  It’s called the Red Rock Café, and we stopped there for the first time.  It’s a pretty nice little place, although we spent $10 on two coffee and muffins.  While we were there, Pam shed most of her layers, and the stop did seem to perk her up quite a bit.  I could tell she had been either dragging or hadn’t woken up yet.  We didn’t have that problem afterwards.

Interestingly, we had more people speak to us during that little stop than had ever spoken before in Rogersville.  We weren’t sure if it was the laid back coffee shop atmosphere or the fact that we were off the highway intersection where people come and go fairly anonymously, but it was kind of fun.

From Rogersville, we raced a train (and lost) down to White Oak Road, then took it north before circling slightly south on B Highway to the aforementioned gravel debacle.  With that, my planned route was out the window, so we continued on Highway B to Highway D and took that up to intersect the farm roads that would take us straight home.

We got home about 10 minutes later than we originally projected, but added about 2.5 miles to our planned outing.  We both considered it to be a good morning in prep for what ended up being a great day!

You can click this map for the full GPS track.

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God bless…

TW

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


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