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!
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.
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.