Thursday, June 13, 2024

Country Views: Redlining

Escape Route: Highway 63 South on the shoulder.
Monday was a banger of a day. They just don't get better than that. Low humidity, breezy out of the Northeast, and not a single cloud in the sky as the temperatures moved from the 60's to the mid-70's. 

With rain forecast for a couple of days mid-week, higher humidity, and then necessary time off the bike before the big "Victory Ride" Saturday, I knew that it was one of those times that I would rue greatly if I chose not to ride. So, of course, I rode. Otherwise what's the point of this post? Right?

The recent high winds we've experienced must have knocked a tree down on the Sergeant Road Bicycle Trail. There were utility trucks and the distinct sound of a chainsaw telling me that the trail was blocked. So, I had to improvise. I rode on the Highway 63 shoulder, a nice, wide, flat, fine gravel shoulder that wasn't bad but for the speeding traffic alongside of me. Eventually I was able to return to the trail and then I reached the Ridgeway Avenue stop lights where I had to wait my turn to cross the 4 lanes of Ridgeway Avenue. 

That's when it happened. An older gent rolled up beside me on what appeared to be a road bike. He was waiting our turn to go as well, but he only motioned a hello and then kind of looked ahead, as if he wasn't wanting any interaction. I can certainly appreciate that. When the light turned to "Walk", we took off, but the gentleman had difficulty getting onto his pedals, swerved a bit, and we just about collected each other. 

That's when I went into "Flight Mode". I stabbed a gear or two and hauled you-know-what down the trail for the next two miles not looking back once.

Look closely at the sky here. It's filled with Red Winged Blackbirds.

A man cuts hay in the field as a car heads East on Washburn Road.

I don't know what got into me, but I felt as though I just wanted to get away from the man on the bike. And it felt good to run as hard as I could go for that long. Now, what was really bad here was that I left the house in a hurry that morning. I had no coffee, nothing to eat, and while I felt good while I was going hard, once I backed it off when I reached gravel I started feeling less than great.

I finally stopped to regain my composure at "the regular stop".

This cornfield is almost canopied over.

I went down Aker Road to the spot where there used to be a farm at one time. All that is left there now in the big, empty lot, is tall grasses and a grain bin. There is a bent-up steel gate, which generally is closed, but at this time of year it is often left open. On this day it was open. I stopped in the old driveway and leaned on my bike for a minute or two, realizing what I had just done. 

I had grander plans for more miles, but after running at the redline for so long, and that with nothing to eat or drink with me but water, I thought the better of it. I turned back, headed for Washburn Road, and would end up doing a shorter loop. 

The way the plants have just emerged here gives this field a green, hazy appearance.
That's Orange Road heading West

I was trying to take an easy pace, but the combination of fresh gravel, a headwind, and rollers to climb on Washburn Road kind of negated that plan. The fresh gravel was not as heinous as last year's or the previous year to that when the County seemed bent upon dumping as much chunky rock from ditch to ditch as often as they could do it. No, this was more "normal" and there were "good lines", most often toward the edges of the road where the gravel hadn't been piled up. 

Surprisingly going East was met with a healthy push from behind and I was able to back off the work load a bit. Then getting back to the bike trail got me out of the wind and back home without a failure of body or mind. 

Next time I probably should, you know, eat something before going that hard. Yeah..... 

That'd work.


Nathanael said...

I wasn't sure where to ask you about this, but are you open to having a rider stop the ride in Vinton this Saturday? Not sure I can do the whole thing, but would like to join for at least part of it.

Guitar Ted said...

@Nathaniel - Absolutely! I welcome anyone to ride all or part of the ride. I would love to have you along for however long you want to go. Just know that the logistics of what you want to do are all up to you.

Nathanael said...

Great! I already have a plan in place.