I asked a fellow cyclist today at Tribble Mill if he knew where the trail was that would take you to the old mill site. He did and told me where to look. I had driven in my car to this particular parking lot before, but I hadn’t noticed the wooden posts about 8 feet back into the woods. These were the markers indicating the trail head. I headed down it, very down, a long way. I hit a hole and augered the front tire in, came off the seat and landed on the top tube. Ouch! And the left pedal came around and ripped down the back of my leg. Lots of choice words were uttered, but being alone in the woods, and no one was there to hear them…
Anyway, I continued down the trail and finally hit large sheets of granite. It looked like being at Stone Mountain. I could hear a fast moving stream nearby and headed for it. The stream was about 20 feet across and moving at a pretty good clip across the rocks, making lots of noise. It was a lovely sound, and a lovely sight. I didn’t even attempt to cross because I could tell that the rocks were very slippery and I would slip if I even tried to ride across. As for the mill, I don’t know what was supposed to still be there. I could see a man-made wall about 30 feet upstream from where I was standing, but no good way to get there. So I hung out by the stream for a few minutes then headed back out. That hill was now an ascent instead of a descent and was quite hard. I had to walk a little of it, but I ultimately made it out and headed for home. Total ride: 9.32 miles.
The hill at Tribble Mill Park that I mentioned here suffered a crushing defeat today as I surmounted its summit. It sounds impressive, but it really isn’t. Most riders probably wouldn’t flinch at this hill, but it whooped me the first time I tried it. Today I made it over the top with only a brief stop half way up. After that I picked up the multi-use track at the bridges and finished a counter-clockwise circuit. After resting for a few minutes and eating 1/3 of a chocolate PowerBar I headed out again to do a clockwise circuit.
After completing that circuit, I rested again and decided to go just one more time and headed out again clockwise. This time as I approached the bridges in the woods, my right calf was starting to cramp, so I parked on the first bridge and got off to stretch. While standing there I was looking at the trails below me next to a little stream and decided to go off-road and check them out. So I backtracked about 150 feet to a little wooden bridge that I figured was the entrance to these trails. I was met with a fork and headed to the left, which was the direction of the stream. I was immediately faced with an enormous mud pit with no obvious way around. I could tell by the tire tracks through it that it presented no problem for a lot of folks, but this being my first off-road experience, I decided not to tackle mud just yet. So I turned around and took the right fork. This was lovely! I was back there for about a mile, pedaling almost the entire way. No one else was around; just me, the birds, and a lizard. O yeah, and one squirrel.
I finally came out back to the road and stopped for about five minutes to finish off the PowerBar and rest. I then picked up the multi-use again and completed the circuit for a total of nine miles. I’m tired, but it was extremely fun. I’m going to have to check out some of the other trails out there.
In an amazing ride, Jan Ullrich of Germany, riding for Team Bianchi, rode the 47 kilometers in 58′ 32″! Incredible. Lance came in at 01′ 36″, almost two minutes behind. Armstrong keeps the Yellow, but today’s victory brings Ullrich to within 34 seconds of catching up.
I went riding again last night with grand plans to ride 12 miles, topping the 10.6 I did Monday night. Well, about 30 yards into my ride my thighs just above my knees started hurting mightily. I pressed on, thinking that I had overdone it, and I would just complete the one circuit and go home. But by the time I finished the circuit, I was feeling a little better. So I stopped, had some water and a chocolate PowerBar and decided, stupidly, to set out again. I was in pain again about a mile into this circuit and ended up walking up one particular hill. I did ultimately finish riding the circuit at a decent pace, but I was hurting. I’m still hurting today. Ibuprofen is a good thing.
So, for the time being, 5 days in a row is too much for me. My plan is to ride Friday through Monday, then off on Tuesday, ride on Wednesday, then off on Thursday (for Weight Watchers). Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
I made my fourth trip in as many days to Tribble Mill tonight, planning on doing two circuits of the track, which would bring me to about 5.5 miles. After the second circuit I stopped for a delicious Vanilla Crisp PowerBar and to finish off my 70 oz. of water. While stopped I met another rider and we started chatting and then, re-energized, I decided to set off again. We set off together, chatting while riding, easier than the previous two circuits. After making it around again, I was at 8.42 miles and I could just taste that 10 mile mark. I decided to press on to get to 10, so I started making another circuit, then turned around after about .75 mile. When I made it back to the parking lot I made another partial circuit, riding much easier now, to cool off. Total distance: 10.6 miles. Total time: 62 minutes. Not a great time, but it’s good for me.
I had set a goal last Friday to be able to ride 10 miles at a go within one week; looks like I achieved that goal a few days early!
Holy broken collarbones, Batman! According to Lance, Tyler Hamilton, who broke his collarbone in 2 places during that terrible pile-up in Stage 1 yesterday, will ride today in Stage 2, and will ride as long as he is able. What an amazing desire to compete! Here’s a bit more on this over at Bicycling.com. This story also mentions that Jimmy Caspar, of the FDJeux.com team, will be riding with a neck brace! That’s dedication to the craft, I must say.
There was a serious accident during the first stage of Le Tour de France today, with only 400 meters to go before the finish line. American Tyler Hamilton is out with a broken collarbone; Levi Leipheimer has a broken hip (read his journal about it here) and several others were also hurt, including Lance Armstrong although he says on his website that he is OK and it was “nothing serious.” That would have sucked big-time for him to lose his shot at 5 Tours in a row in the first stage. Let’s hope this is the one big accident for this year’s Tour, eh?
I rode my bike out at Tribble Mill Park again today. That makes three days in a row, each day going further than the last. Today I rode the paved double-track twice; once in each direction. Both directions seem to be about the same difficulty level, contrary to what someone told me yesterday. After the second time around I was almost out of water so I asked a passerby if there was a restroom and/or water fountain in the park, and she told me there was and how to get to it. I took off on the road and after about half a mile I came to a big-ass long hill. I made it about half way up and had to pull over for a few minutes of rest. I drained the last few drops from my water bottle then looked at the top of the hill and said “I will beat you!” I hopped back on the bike and made another go for the summit. Unfortunately, about 100 yards further up the hill I felt like I might barf up a lung if I continued, so I turned around and headed back down, saying “I’ll beat you another day!” over my shoulder.
After coming home and cleaning up I went to Wal-Mart to get a CamelBak knock-off. The one I got is a backpack that has a water reservoir that holds 70 oz. of water with a tube that you hold in your mouth. The pack has pockets and bungees to hold things in/on like cell phone, PowerBars, etc. It was half the price of an actual CamelBak but seems to be of good quality. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow when I take it for a spin.
I said earlier today that I was going to take some pictures at Tribble Mill Park. Well, during a respite from the rain, I headed out for a ride and took the digicam with me. You can see the photos here. It is really beautiful out there.
And I made it around the trail twice for a total of six miles.
A friend yesterday told me about a local park with a really nice paved multi-use trail called Tribble Mill Park, which is about a 10 minute drive from my house. I went out there and discovered a really lovely trail that is right at 3 miles long. There are some hills, but no gut-splitters. I made it around once and was starting to go around again when the weather turned on me, so I headed home. I’m going to go out there in about an hour (assuming no rain), and I plan to take some photos. There were some great wooded areas that seem quite photogenic.