Monday, September 25, 2023

Country Views: Moody Skies

Escape Route; Waterloo Maintained this trail!
First day of Fall. The air and light is different. The temperature? Summer-like. 80's and windy. out of the Southeast, so I headed East first into it. I decided to head over to Evansdale and maybe go out to those little dirt road sections out there, but I had no real agenda. 

On the way over I ran across a couple riding their hybrid bikes going my way. I waited for an opportunity to go around a block to leap-frog them and then I dove back into some quieter city streets to stay off the main drag which is typically very busy. I'd have to come back to that same busy street near to the border of Waterloo and Evansdale, but then I was planning on riding a gravelly shoulder until I hit the bike path and then maybe go up on the CVNT to those dirt roads.

When I popped back on the busy street, there went the hybrid riders! They had stayed the course and because I went a long way around they were back in front of me again. I aimed for that shoulder of gravel, but they opted to cross the street and take advantage of a big parking lot. I ended up passing them by again, and then I went into "being chased mode". 

The Sun was out for a hot second there.
Lots of brown now!

Well, I know..... It's silly, but I get into this "I cannot be caught again!" mode and I went off. I was pushing it pretty hard compared to my usual pace all the way through Evansdale and I just felt like going onward to Elk Run Heights because I figured I could drop these phantom cyclists going into that stiff wind and the long, slightly uphill grade. 

I looked back at the corner where I turned right at the Casey's and I "thought" I saw some cyclists, so I wasn't off the hook in my mind and I went gangbusters all the way to the corner with the road that eventually turns into Young Road. Gassed, I looked back and, of course, I saw no cyclists. 

Why? Why do I do that to myself? Anyway....

Headed up Young Road into a stiff wind.

The clouds got thicker as I headed North here on McStay Road.

I stopped briefly to have a "nature break" in a cornfield and then I was trying to decide how far to go up Young Road. I had burnt a lot of matches so far, and the wind was unrelenting. I decided to cut the madness short at McStay Road and I headed North. 

Now headed Northward on Pilot Grove Road

Still a lot of corn in the fields yet so far into the ride.

The clouds thickened and then the oddness of this time of year became evident. The air felt like Summer, but the winds were definitely Fall, and the light over the land is starting to get that weird feeling with the lower angle of the Sun. Even last week riding with Jason it felt like Summer yet, but now? 

It is as if someone flipped a switch.

A beam of Sunlight illuminates a corn field in the distance.
I started to see some harvesting action about halfway into the ride.

I had been passed by a big combine early in my ride but I saw no evidence of harvesting until I reached about halfway into the ride. Then I saw many corn fields which had been partially, or some wholly harvested. 

Traffic wasn't as bad as it was when I rode with Jason, but maybe that was because some places had received heavy downpours of rain the day previous. This may have deterred harvesting. At any rate, you couldn't tell by the gravel that it had rained. It was even powdery dust in some places. 

The Standard Rando v2 got the call for this ride.

I eventually ended up coming onto Newell Street and putting the wind behind me. Wow! Was that a relief. I was now in the big ring just toodling along on the pedals but flying down the road. A nice respite from the wind and fighting the crosswind while going North. 

I finally started seeing some harvesting action.

I realized that I had actually still gone a long ways on this loop. Longer than I had intended to ride in the first place. But I let those recreational cyclists kick me into that mode and well.... Here I was. I had to finish out. My legs were probably not doing real well by this point, but it was all masked by that glorious tailwind. It's great when it works out that way.

You can see how hard the wind was blowing this flag.

The skies were downright moody. It looked like a cool, Fall day, but the temperature was 82°F. It just felt really weird. Soon enough we will be reaching for the wool jerseys and wind jackets. I shouldn't complain!

The last stretch on Newell before hitting the outskirts of Waterloo.

Soybeans getting harvested. That's the first I've seen of that this season.

Well, that wind pushed me all the way back to Waterloo and I was home before I knew it. That was about a 2.5 hour ride and I was glad to shoehorn this in between days of rain and not-so-great weather. We're supposedly coming into a dry stretch again, so I look forward to getting out a bit more yet. 

Time is running out on 2023. Before long it will be a lot more difficult to get in longer rides. Gotta get to gettin'.


Derek said...

Nice pictures! The contrast of the (still) green trees with the dried/ brown crops is cool.

Guitar Ted said...

@Derek - Sometimes Nature makes it so that even a mediocre image taker cannot take a bad shot! Thank you!