Almost a 50k

Full Route: 29.8 miles
Today was an epic riding day. I plotted a course, gathered my things and hit the open road. It was glorious!

First of all, this ride was freaking fantastic. Lots of uphill challenges, plenty of downhill thrills, a distinct lack of traffic and wide open roadways. Have you ever wondered what it felt like to fly? I may have never gotten off the ground, but it was exhilarating.

I started off going out 940, towards Freeland. I then turned off 940 and rode through Jeddo, eventually going past Eckley Miner's Village. Past Jeddo (and especially past Eckley) the shoulder widens, leaving plenty of paved roadway to ride on. Not that it matters, as traffic is virtually nonexistent. It's mostly uphill, but that just means plenty of downhill to come.

Entrance to Eckley Miners Village
When I finally began to head downhill, I relished it. Arms tucked in, feet firmly planted, I hung over the handle bars and let the wind rip through my hair (well, what's left of it.) I could hear the front tire screaming as the speedometer climbed past 30 mph. However, the blissful moment was over all too soon. Back to reality, back to tough uphill roads.

I made a right at the bottom of the hill on Buck Mountain Road, heading towards Weatherly. Again, not very steep, but a long climb to the top. Eventually, however, I saw a welcome sight, a sign indicating a 7% grade for the next 3/4 of a mile. Time again for pure, downhill adrenaline. This time, with a slight twist.

You have no idea how happy I was to see this sign.
There's a marker obscuring the squiggly line on the map at the top of this post, but it represents the tight, hairpin curves of the Weatherly Hillclimb. People come from all over to race up this hill in souped-up vehicles twice a year, and the tire tracks all over the surface of the road tell the tale of the hundreds of cars that attempt it. But it's just so much fun to ride down it! The 20 MPH speed limit signs, then 10 and 5 MPH signs were pretty funny at the time. I won't say how fast I actually went, but I was respectful of those curves.

Finally, Weatherly. I made a slight deviation in my plotted course to stop and visit my brother, but he wasn't home. So, onward. I had planned a stop at the Dollar General that lies across the bridge to refuel. I bought a Nature Valley Granola Bar (Google Affiliate Ad) and went looking for some chocolate milk -- carbs and protein, basically -- but the only available drink was some brand that had 450 calories in it. In hindsight, I probably should have grabbed that one -- I burned over 1,000 calories on this trip -- but I spotted a bottle of "Protein to Go."

SCORE! Oh, wait, no. This stuff tastes like vomit.
At first, I thought I'd scored gold, until I actually tasted it. Horrible! It tasted like spoiled milk and sick. The date indicated that it was good until 2014, but it still tasted like the worst dreck I'd ever had. Was it bad, or is it supposed to taste like that? I thought twice about finishing it, then bottoms-upped it before thinking again. Time to move on.

The Weatherly Plains Road was the only part of this trip I was worried about. However, looking back, I found that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. All those runs up the hills here in town seem to have prepared me well. I was even surprised to see that I'm not dead-last on I'm only second to dead last...

Onwards through Beaver Meadows, up the Stockton Mountain Road, along Diamond Avenue to 309 and, finally, home. If I get to my driveway and remember feeling like I'd never see it again, that's how I judge a journey like this. True, I was never very far from people I knew who could help me in a pinch, but there were times that it did feel very lonely.

I'm well aware of those who would not be challenged by this ride -- I even encountered a fellow cyclist on the Weatherly Plains Road who blew right by me -- but I still feel very proud. Think of nothing but victory; recall nothing but triumph.

29.8 miles in 2 hours and 49 minutes. Almost a 50k.


Post a Comment