I was surprised to find that our office would be closed a half day for Good Friday. Since I didn’t see it as being any gooder than any other Friday it seemed a fine opportunity to rack up some miles toward my Mohican legs.
A quick mapping session and I’d described a 57 mile backroads route from the office back to Clay City. Who-hoo! That’s just the mileage I needed for my “training regime” this week.
The weather was promising with a forecasted high of 52F. My schedule was clear. I had food and water to propel me east. And I was willing. LordI was willing!
And there were Strava segments to create! Oh, glorious backwoods pavements! Glorious! Glorious! GLORIOUS!!! I could be king (of the mountain) for a few days at least!
Noon on the dot I stood in the parking lot outside my office all jammed into my lycra, foot jammed into toe clips, mind jammed into the 57 miles I had written a check for that morning when I abandoned my car at the Clay City park-n-ride. I’d have to earn it back or call in a fossil fuel loan from my matrimonized SAG vixen. Big money! Big money! No Whammies!!!
And so began the Long Commute Home.
I blasted out of town with my riding partners for the day: Lance and Eddie. I felt good as I rolled over I-75 and turned onto Grimes Mill road. I was looking forward to crossing the Boone Creek valley. My first real climb of the day went well, but I knew the bottom of my power reserves wasn't too far down there. Oh, and I had so many more climbs between me and the end of my ride...
Lance and Ed were good motivation, keeping up with me as I cranked eastward. I dropped down to the Kentucky River and followed a long section of road through Ford, Kentucky and beyond along the big muddy river. Then the road turned up Fourmile Creek, finally climbing up out of the valley on Bybee Road through picturesque farmland. I was still feeling good at 32 miles.
Along Fourmile Road
Checking out a stone fence along Bybee Road
Then I turned on Cole Road. The first short climb went slow. The rollers along the ridge after went slow. The pool of energy was draining fast. I bombed back down into the Fourmile Creek drainage further up and turned onto (oddly) Muddy Creek Road. It was nice and flat and I cruised until I hit a short hill. My speed dropped way off until I crested it. A short descent brought me to Red River Road and just a few moments later I was looking at a slog up out of the Fourmile Valley for good. I walked a few yards.
A well needed rest stop in the sun
Another bomb run carried me into the Howard Creek drainage where I rode last weekend. I was back on the familiar part of Red River Road. That meant I knew exactly what I was up against to get back to Clay City. I knew how many climbs were left and how burly they were. And I was sucking the pool dry.
Red River Road
As I climbed the last (of three) grinds on Red River Road I decided I'd change my route from KY 89 over to Log Lick. I had originally planned to retrace Mina Station, but I knew if I swung north to New Log Lick Road I could avoid one deep valley crossing and also have the opportunity to stop at a little country store at Trapp.
Lance and Eddie collapsed by the bike as I went inside and bought an Ale-8. I choked down my last Clif Bar and sipped on the cold beverage as I figured in my head that I had about 12 miles left to go to get back to my car at the park-n-ride.
I know how you feel guys, but we still got miles to go
I coaxed the boys back on the bike and we took off with a little oomph. I could do this. There were only two significant climbs left. I didn't think the Lulbegrud Creek crossing would be too bad, but I knew the last climb on Snow Creek was going to hurt like a mother.
My oomph was short lived. I felt like I was crawling out New Log Lick Road. One the upside, despite my slow pace I reached Log Lick rather quickly, and before I knew it I was across Lulbegrud and running the Snow Creek dog gauntlet. Two or three “dog surges” later the pool was dry. No more agua. No energy left to burn.
Snow Creek still went fast. Too quickly I was staring up the wall of the last climb. I leaned over the handlebars and was determined to wring out as much juice as I could. Within a few yards of the start of the climb I was off the bike and walking. Shut up Lance. Shut up Eddie.
Once on top I got back on and cruised the mostly flat and scenic ridge and then down, over a little bump and out to KY 82. I could almost see the car. The worst was over. I had completed my Lexington to Powell County ride. I'd wanted to do that for more than 10 years. It felt good, even though my battery was at about 2%.
I feel okay now. I'm tired, and I think I could crawl in bed and sleep for about twelve hours. I didn't get good sleep the last few nights.
I rode Minus. I'm still hacking gunk out of my lungs. The legs are a bit weak from lack of use. I think three months ago I would have cranked out that ride and felt like going on at the end. I would have done a metric century just to say I did. So I have a lot of excuses why my pace wasn't faster, but really I think I'm just out of shape.
Oh, it turns out that when I thought I had 12 miles left I only had 7.
I rode 55 miles in 3 hours and 43 minutes. I ain't breakin' no records, but I'm fighting for the cause all the same.
Ed and Lance gorged themselves on leftover pizza and then crashed. I had my own share of the pizza and am still hunting for the crash.