Gravel Roads and “Not” Roads

Tim, Asher, and I went out to New Castle Kentucky on Sunday for a mixed-terrain ride.  Asher and I are riding Gravel Grovel, so this is a training ride.

Tim, Timothy, and I rode some of the same roads almost a year ago.  This time, it was a shorter route of about 47 miles.  We still had the creek crossing to deal with, but it would be near the end of the ride instead of the beginning.

We arrived in New Castle just in time for a nice sunrise.

Kentucky sunrise

It was quite a cool morning, but I was dressed for it.  It took a while for the sun to burn off the morning fog and mist.

Morning mist

I hadn’t had time to load my GPS with the route ahead of time.  Tim had his GPS and navigation duties.  It also helped that he’s better at remembering roads than I am, and we’d been to most of these before.

What didn’t help, is he hadn’t charged his batteries, and I had to loan him mine.  I was then unable to track the route.

Lonely gravel

My new Fargo is the perfect bike for this.  On the fast descents on large chunky gravel, the bike was rock solid and inspired confidence.  I’ll write more about the bike later.

Salsa Fargo

Although I absolutely bombed downhill, I struggled on the climbs.  I’m out of shape and too heavy.  I’m really going to have to work on this for the upcoming Gravel Grovel.

The bike is geared low enough, and I never had to walk a hill, but it was close.

Tim and Asher goofing off

As the Fargo doesn’t have a bike computer yet, and my GPS had Tim’s dead batteries in it, I really had no idea how far along we were.  I also had no idea what time it was.

I suffered.  I stopped for breaks several times when the other two were ahead, over a hill, and I couldn’t see them.  They’d eventually wait for me, so I always caught up.

We eventually came to the “not” road.  This is a stretch of land, heavily grown, with a creek running through it.  It’s shown on every map we can find as a road, but in reality, it’s trees, underbrush, thorns, and the creek.  In other words, it’s a blast!

Last time I was here, the temperature was about 30 degrees.  Now it had warmed to almost 70.  I was much less worried about getting wet.

After walking/carrying/pushing my bike through thick underbrush, over logs, and through thorny patches, ripping my tights on the way, I reached the creek.  Rather than take off our shoes to avoid frozen feet, we were able to simply walk through the water.

I was wearing my clipless SPD shoes, so walking on the slippery rocks underwater was a careful affair, but it worked well.  We played near the waterfall a bit before lugging the bikes back up on land and returning to an actual road again.

You can lead a bike to water…

We had another five or so miles to roll back to Tim’s car.  Most of that was on a wonderful gravel road.  The last stretch was a busier paved road.  It would have been fine, but I was tired and ready for the ride to end.

I finished the ride with 47 hard-earned miles.  I needed a nap later.

Tim’s write-up is here.  Be sure to check it out.  He has better pictures.

One thought on “Gravel Roads and “Not” Roads”

  1. We’re all, like, “YMCA!” or something.

    I have no memory of that moment, LOL.

    Nice write-up! I have been more than a little remiss in my writing-up duties.

    Don’t worry … we’ll whip you back into shape in no time, and then you’ll be crushing us beneath the epic wheels of the Fargo.

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