another day, another route
So, today I wanted to do something different. This is NOT my nature - I am quite content to continue to follow a predetermined orbit, and frequently will, when left to my own devices. This happens sometimes when you grow up with a parent who has a compulsive need to re-arrange things continually ... but no, my main concern was to avoid the broken bottles on the Heritage Trail and have a morning ride without flats.
I went straight down Durst past Lander University and hooked a right over onto Cambridge and waited, waited, waited for the light - and then some helpful soul rolled up in a motor vehicle on the other side of the intersection and tripped it for us all. It had been a while since I had cycled on that road, and I was surprised at how fast I rolled down the approach to the bridge over the walking trail and how much momentum I could keep going up.
It was good to be on West Cambridge at 6:15 or so, because the traffic most definitely picks up later. Early on, though, it was almost peaceful, and I turned the 45x17 almost as smoothly as I could on the rail trail despite the somewhat bumpier surface. I pondered again how this road, which is frequently VERY heavily traveled, has stayed so narrow - then again, it does adjoin the Greenwood Country Club, so maybe that has something to do with it. At any rate, I timed the light at Mathis Road just right but had to wait for a while where Calhoun Road/225 Bypass intersects it. A moment or so later I gauged things nicely and made a smooth arcing turn onto Chinquapin Road.
Up on the left was Sunset Road, which I hadn't ridden in a long time, either. I rolled past Ainsley's house and thought about the speeds he's been getting coming back the other way - which meant, yes, there was a wall of a climb ahead of me. The run-up was nice, some lovely little whoop-de-doos where I could spin the bike up around 25-27 mph and then romp on up the other side and keep as much momentum going as I could. I buzzed down towards the pond and realized, no, there's one more hillock, and then I was going over it and confronted with the steep bit.
It doesn't look particularly impressive - but the grade was just exactly right, just enough to really make me work for it. I thought about Ainsley climbing that rascal regularly and was grateful I didn't have to do that myself. My speed dropped rapidly and then I was standing on the bike and very conscious of how I was breathing, long, slow inhalation and exhalation, trying to turn circles with my feet, no matter how slow they might be, rather than be a plongeur. Then I crested it with much, much gratitude (Thank you, LORD!) and turned out onto the 225 Bypass. Almost immediately came the turn onto Maxwell Avenue, and I rolled down the slope past the Connie Maxwell home.
I heard the train horn - that sounds wrong, it should be whistle, but trains don't make a whistle sound anymore, and I agree with John Fahey that they sound like they're making an augmented chord - and concluded I would probably have to wait down near Edgefield for it to pass. I spun on down, then climbed up towards town, keeping a surprising amount of momentum - and no train awaited me. I was thankful again and turned onto Edgefield and took it down to Circular, emerging onto South Main.
I cut around behind the Inn on the Square and found myself almost nose-to-nose with a city garbage truck. I had the right of way and took it, then they passed me as I spun down Phoenix at around 28 mph. I slowed way down and held back - I mean, it WAS a garbage truck - and waited, waited, waited for the light to change. The garbage truck shifted a little, too. After a certain point, when it was clear the light was NOT responsive, they rolled on through the red and cross over to Pressley. I rolled up, looked right and left and treated it as a stop sign. The truck's crew was rolling the green Herbie-Curbies toward the maw of their vehicle as I rolled by, and they were amused when I commented on how I was used to not being seen by traffic light sensors, but when their truck didn't trip the switch, well ...
Back down Jennings, up and out and onto Reynolds and almost missing my left turn onto Gatlin, then deciding it was a good day to take Cokesbury and explore the far end of Henrietta. It was absolutely silent and still on the loop of big houses down there, the road surface was buttery, and I had flashbacks to rolling Eli and Claire in strollers along those streets, back when they were babies and we would occasionally meet overweight Labrador Retrievers who would snuffle us and waddle off. I heard the shhsk shhsk shhsk of a patch of sandy mud I'd picked up on a tire as it wore away and faded and made the turn at the bottom of the hill easily. The climb back up wasn't really a climb at all, but then I had a lot more momentum on my side than I would have pushing a stroller.
I came back through, looked at the time and decided to make one more quick loop down North Street, up Melrose Terrace and back down Woodland to the nasty climb on Sproles - because one short little wall climb isn't enough for my morning. Then back home to find I had 10.6 miles and felt a whole lot better than I would have had I just stayed in bed and slept another hours like I really wanted to this morning. Again, thank you LORD!