Python/Django developer, primarily
Published Jul 05, 2023
A few quick bike-related ramblings:
The Specialized Tarmac that I blogged about last fall bit the proverbial dust due to a cracked seat stay. It served me very well, especially for how much I paid for it and how much I rode it (~3800 miles).
This thing cares not for your personal comfort. It exists first and foremost for going fast. It’s a great bike to ride and stupidly light. I’m definitely hard on it, though. I am not babying it in the least.
As I’m writing this, that bike is currently in the shop for a busted spoke. The more things change…
In June 2023, we went camping in Barren River Lake State Resort Park in Kentucky. It was a gorgeous park with lots of lake views, boat rentals, and a surprisingly decent beach (with rocks instead of shells in the sand). The hiking was virtually nonexistent, though, and the 2.5 mile paved bike trail needed serious repaving. I would not recommend doing what I did and riding a pure road bike through it. It’ll really throw you around.
Knowing that the riding was pretty lackluster inside the park, I plotted out a couple of possible routes to head outside the park and go ride the countryside. Thanks to a combination of weather and other family activities, my only big ride was a 25 mile loop (see the map and picture above) with 1,362 feet of elevation gain at 18.2 MPH (overall, 18.3 MPH moving). It was a really fun route with a couple of decent climbs followed by rapid descents over bridges (and repeating) followed by a long, mostly gentle ascent along a back road to Tracy, Kentucky, which then ended in a six-mile gentle downhill ride back to the finish where I averaged 21 MPH. I had very few encounters with cars, all of whom gave me plenty of space and were quite pleasant to deal with.
In March 2023, we stayed in a cabin in Norris Dam State Park. I knew weather was going to be bad (lots of rain and cold), so I skipped the (very good) mountain biking in favor of bringing my gravel bike to go explore the Norris Watershed, which has several gravel roads which are nominally open to the public but very lightly traveled.
Roughly speaking, I left the east campground, headed south on US 441 down to Lower Clear Creek Road, the gravel road next to the Lenoir Museum, and turned left on Lower Clear Creek. That was some stunning gravel. It was buttery smooth and uphill with lots of switchbacks. From there, I rode on Red Hill Road over to Park Lane, which had some brutal rolling hills that kicked my ass. I ended up stopping for a break at the gas station near Sequoyah Road and debated cutting my ride shorter than planned, but ended up going with it and flying down an excellent descent, so much so that I missed my left turn on to the other end of Sequoyah Road! I quickly turned around, trudged uphill, then rode along the lake on Sequoyah (getting some awesome views I wouldn’t have otherwise seen), then rode Upper Clear Creek Road (which was on the watershed map too) on a fun, mostly downhill gravel blast. That ended on Red Hill Road, which I rode straight uphill back to Lower Clear Creek Road and then straight uphill on 441 back to the campground. I expected the climb on 441 to suck; it was surprisingly not as bad as I thought. The climb from 441 to the campground, though, nearly wrecked me. My legs were done.
Final tally: 18.76 miles, 12.1 MPH (12.2 moving), 2,103 feet of elevation gain (at the time my personal record).
I submitted a PR to
garminexport to let my exported rides include which bike I was using.