Monday, March 10

Moz Before Hoze

The guttural purr of an early ‘90s Nissan Sentra—minus its factory bestowed muffler—almost drowned out the pathetic tinny horn warning Jeff and I of its approach.  We didn't ease off our pace as the car struggled around us.  Seems the ghetto chariot's top speed wasn't much more than that of two early season Pottsville Escarpment cyclists.

We were on our way back from a fantastic ride.  Starting out neither of us were motivated, but the deeper into it we got the more the quality of the ride awakened my spiritual energy.  When the Nissan honked its warning at us I was meditating on Jeff's back wheel, caught in a 20-25 mph draft, and being dragged on toward Clay City like the jersey-busting slob that I am.

You don't see much else, and you have
to depend on the draftor to call out obstacles,

Except...I wasn't struggling to hang on Jeff's wheel.  He was punishing his crankset, and I stayed right on his tire, rubber to rubber.  We were at the back end of a 50 mile ride.  It was a 50 mile ride we rode at a sub-6 hour century pace.  But more than that it was a good ride.

A dozen miles we pounded out to Goff's Corner.  Then we turned west toward Trapp, surfing rollers through Rabbit Town and Rightangle.  A pause at Trapp for some OJ...then we backtracked to Willis-Rupard Road.  What was intended to be a detour from riding on KY 89 became a pleasantly surprising gem of a road.  Quiet, scenic, and one of those roads you just wish went on forever.  But it only went to Ruckerville.  There we turned off toward KY 15 again onto Pilot View Road. 

"It's Clark County's Cobhill," I said, indicating what lay ahead.  "At least I haven't found anything bigger or steeper."  It's possible there's another obscure beast out there.*

"Is that it?" Jeff exclaimed a few moments later as the hill came into view.  "That's awesome!"

Approaching Pilot View Hill near Ruckerville

After an initial slight curve Pilot View Hill angles straight toward the sky.  It's not as steep as some, or as long, but for the fringe of the Bluegrass—and being removed from the Kentucky River gorge where there are some stout climbs--it's kind of a lone sentinel, guarding a farmland ridge against lycra-clad invaders.

After easily slaying the “beast” I urged Jeff on from Pilot View Road down to Stoner-Ephesus Road.  It was one of my earliest surprise discoveries as a budding road cyclist.  It's a nice paved road through a scenic valley that's hardly wider than some paved multi-use paths I've been on.

Stoner-Ephesus conveyed us to L&E Junction where we turned south back toward Powell County and headed down more stellar roads to Kiddville and on back to Goff's Corner where we paused for the obligatory Ale-8 before the final push.

Heading back toward the Escarpment

And therein we rode in a paceline couplet.  I even took a turn pulling on a long slight downhill between West Bend and Waltersville.  I just can’t beat Jeff’s wind-splitting capabilities.

That’s now three weekends in a row we’ve ridden.  I only rode 50 miles on Saturday, but I rode it—in Jeff’s slipstream—at a sub-six hour century pace.  Considering our leisurely pace when we were on the quieter backroads that’s a pretty good clip.

Mandy’s been able to ride some lately too.  She and Casey did the Gorge loop the “right way.”  That simply means they rode up Sky Bridge Hill and not down it.  As we drove back from Rogers on KY 15 yesterday she mused:

“I ride this road enough to know that's new road kill.”

Oddly, for me anyway, an increase in activity and a seeming improvement in my diet has not led to a decrease in blubber.  I dropped off about three pounds last week only to see it have made its own triumphant return to my midsection this morning.  It’s time to get serious.  The Mohican is stalking me hard, and the Redbud is right around the corner.  I’m not worried about being able to complete a road century right now, but the thought—currently—of trying to tackle even a truncated Mohican scares the pee out of me.

What a change in mindset I’ve had since this time last year.  Road centuries have become old hat.  I think I’m back in the saddle for long road rides mentally at least.  I have to remain diligent in regards to preparation and fueling as I ride, but after my SAG call three weekends ago I think I’ve broken through the early season mental barrier.

Ride on!  

Seen in Trapp:
The upcoming 2014 Preservation Pedal gets front page coverage!

*Halls on the River hill might just be more gnarly.
And a note on the title of today's post: not to offend, but while we were in Loudonville last summer for the Mohican Jeff and I went into the dollar store there on some errand for our wives and Jeff spied a novelty tee with a picture of a water hose.  The caption read: "Bros before Hose."  This is, of course, a poor reference to that and not to the relationship between me, my regular riding partner, and our wives.

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