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Monday, February 6, 2012

Blissful Start, Painful Ending: Great Ride

02/06/12 #234 25m 2h38m 30-40F

I've been riding on urban trails quite a lot recently, mostly because they're paved and they offer more alternative options in cold weather than the country trails, but today I decided to ride the Montour Trail.

There brush along the trail was covered with hoar frost as I started out at MP0 in Groveton. As WinnipegCyclingChick points out, hoar frost is both an attractive phenomenon and a lot of fun to say out loud. The trail surface at the start of the ride, with a temp of 30F, was hard frozen and a bit irregular so it was a jarring ride.

As I continued west I encountered a variety of conditions; at times the trail was clear, in the shade it was sometimes snow-covered or had a cruddy permafrost, and as the sun and the temps rose it became wet and quite soft.

I took this photo just west of Gene Mine Road:

I continued to the Boggs Trailhead, where I stopped under blue skies - not quite Carolina blue, but close - and ate a banana and drank some hot coffee out of my thermos. Sunny and now 40F, good food and a warm drink, listening to Byork on WYEP, life is good.

I reversed course and descended to Enlow, and the surface was noticably mushier. I decided to depart the trail at Enlow and indulge a curiosity I've been nursing and ride a route that seemed to make sense, and I figured riding on the road might be more pleasant than slogging through the wet trail surface.

In the beginning... (all stories should start that way.) In the beginning the alternate route (orange line on map below) was great. Hills, to be sure, but they were fun. I brought out the Granny gear, and Granny was up to the task. It was a beautiful blue day, and the effort of climbing kept me warm.

I passed by the Guard base and took a picture of my bike with the vertical stabilizer of a KC-135. I think it's just the tail, I don't think there's an airplane buried there.

Descending east, I encountered a character-building climb that switchbacked up a steep hill (parts of the ride that made me want to cry are noted in red on the map below). It was terrible. Granny and Me were not up to the challenge. I did not get up that hill without stopping.

It was terrible. (I was terrible) On the other side of BizLoop376, where the route turns red again, I stopped at the green-X to drink some coffee, take some honey, and lay down in the sun for fifteen minutes just to collect my thoughts. It was not pretty.

Back on the bike, Ewing Road. I was popped, cooked, done. I think I understand what Jens Voigt means about pain. I told my legs, Shut Up, Legs! but they would not listen.

Two things:
Now I know why nobody suggests using those roads.
I need to take my legs back there again until they get it right.

It was a great ride on a beautiful day, and a welcome change of scenery.

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