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Another small milestone passed and a new trail traveled

July 11, 2008

Tonight’s ride took us past the 300+ mile mark since we started cycling at the beginning of June. I know… some people do that in a week… but hey… we’re just getting started!

There generally isn’t a lot of time for us to bike in the evenings once Penny gets home.  We have been pushing up against sunset every day this week, and I can see that as Summer turns to Fall that taking any evening rides of significance will be difficult.  Right now, with our mountain bikes, we manage trips in the 15-20 mile range.  We could eek out a few additional miles by not stopping at the mid point for a short break, but I don’t want to see this turn into a “forced-march” dreadful activity… yet. 🙂

We have been pondering our next bike purchase, looking at the “value” priced fitness/recreational road bikes in the Specialized, Giant, and Cannondale inventories.  Why those brands?  I’d rather build a relationship with a local bike shop, and the one that I’m starting to feel most comfortable with has those in stock.  There is also a Trek store nearby, as well as other bike shops, but I haven’t had the warm and fuzzy with them yet.  All things being relatively equal equipment wise, I’d rather buy from people than just focus on brand.

So… some of the Road Bikes we’ve been looking at are the Cannondale Road Warrior series, Giant FC series, and the Specialized Sirrus series.  One of the reasons that these appeal to me is the flat handle bars for more upright visibility and comfort, yet many of the other positives of a road bike.  Penny is interested in test riding some of the road bikes with the drop down aero handles though, so the game could yet change.  We’ll see… I’m trying to keep an open mind about this.

One purchase factor I’ve been trying to consider is timing.  Do we put off a bike upgrade until next year, or buy something this year?  As I look toward Fall, I have several different weeks that I’m going to be out of town doing training, and we have a couple of dive vacations schedules.  Part of me says that we should just keep grinding out the miles on the “box bikes” that we’re currently on.  If nothing else, they’ve served to get us started cycling, and have gotten us around to see some pretty cool stuff so far, so maybe we should just milk them for what they have.  Despite having a rear hub and bearings give out on me and other minor issues (Penny’s bike has been flawless), we are having some fun on them.  Decisions, Decisions……

Well… anyway… there was a bike ride tonight!  We decided to head toward Lebanon on the Lebanon YMCA trail.  I’ve never been very far past the “Hill of Death” that starts at Turtle Creek Rd.  It just saps way too much energy, and when I see the next sign indicating steep hills on the trail, I stop short so that I don’t have to come back up.

I didn’t know if it would be too much, but we tackled the 16 mile round-trip this hill course anyway.

Tonight was different, we decided that we would take a more conservative approach.  I wasn’t going to expend all of my energy going up the hills, so decided that however far I got, I was going to walk to the top from there.  It felt weird walking the bike, but it was a good walk too and definitely works the muscles differently.

To make a long story short, we rode all the way past the Lebanon YMCA (the largest in the country when it was built) and followed the winding trail through town to the historic downtown area where we took a break for some ice cream (gotta have rewards!) Coming back, we had to walk the bikes up the hill on Deerfield Road.  Since it’s a shared car/bike space, it was a different experience. In particular, one young idiot male was hanging out of the passenger car window yelling stupid things at us.  Despite the urge to flip him off or challenge his manhood, I just kept a stoic expression.  I later told Penny that if insults and jabs were all he did, it was better than him throwing a cigarette or water bottle at us, like I’ve read about from others.

After we got up that hill at the YMCA on the return trip, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing.

There were still hills to contend with, but we used momentum on the down hills and ground it out going up.  It’s mentally easier knowing how much trail was yet ahead between us and our vehicle.  In fact, since we still had some sun light and felt good, we tacked on a couple of extra miles by going all the way to the Little Miami trail.

A great new ride, and one that we need to add to our arsenal to keep the rides varied in intensity and scenery.  It was a major change from our flat Little Miami trail experience, or even the off-road trails we’ve done.

More pics:
http://www.uwwonder.com/pics/080711LebanonYmcaTrail/index.html

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One comment

  1. It was especially easy coming home since the majority of it was DOWNHILL!!!! Plus it was nice to know where we were going. There were a few twists and turns with the trail for where it uses a ‘shared path’ with the roadway.

    But really, the cow was the highlight. 😀



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