Leaving Four Mile Bakery in the Rain (ACE Ride)

Leaving Four Mile Bakery in the Rain (ACE Ride)

outside of Jackson, Ohio

I’ve worked up to doing a bit longer bike ride so I joined the Ashland Bicycle Enthusiasts (otherwise known as ACE) for one of their “featured ride”.  This one was hosted by some Southern Ohio bicyclists and started in the Minford, Ohio area and cycled over toward Jackson.  Our midpoint, and first rest stop, was the Four Mile Bakery & General Store, a place that we generally just called “the Amish donut shop”.   The ride was divided into two groups, a slower group and a faster group.  After some discussion, I unfortunately figured out that I had a fitness level that fell between the two.  I made quick friends with a nice fellow named Clyde who drove probably a couple hours from Eastern Kentucky and he had similar reservations, so I proposed that we just stick together with the fast group and see what happens.  He agreed.

So off we went.  The scenery was spectacular for the entire 45 mile ride.  In the beginning, the road was pretty flat and we sped along at a good clip.  I am a previous biker from earlier stages of my life, so I know things that can help out when your fitness is a bit lacking,  like how to handle the gears, how to spin quickly, and how to safely draft another rider to catch your breath.  So Clyde and I did well until we reached the first good-sized hill.  There is no way to cheat a hill, gravity takes its toll.  We did well, though, falling back on each hill in proportion to the number of feet we had to climb.  The group was great, sometimes a faster rider would drop back to check on us, sometimes to give us a “pull”, just like you see on the Nascar races.  You can’t underestimate how much a rider can rest up in the draft of a fast rider, all the while gaining ground and catching up with the main group.  So, we continued to enjoy the ride even when I felt like my lungs might explode.

About the midpoint, we arrived at the bakery.  I couldn’t help but notice that faces of the riders who have done this for a while.  Looking refreshed with little sweat.  When my turn came to the restroom, I looked in the mirror and thought “Good lord, what have I done.”  Red faced with streams of sweat pouring off.  After cleaning up some, I found these famous Amish donuts that are big as saucers and as fresh as if they just came from the fryer.  I quickly downed one of those and two bottles of Gatoraid and all was right with the world once again.  I have to say these donuts were great, they happened to be very similar to the ones I’ve purchased at Spauldings Bakery in Lexington, Kentucky (a stop we once made on a Saturday morning photo outing with Mike Adkins and Dennis Adkins).

We waited awhile for the slower group to show and when they did, I noticed their faces looked much like mine. Clearly we are in need of more training, but Clyde and I decided to stick with the faster group and see what happens.

Then the rain started.  Now that might sound like trouble but I know from my earlier years that I don’t mind biking in the rain.  My wife and I once spent 10 days on bicycles and experienced all weather, blistering heat, rain, then freezing rain, then snow.  All in all, a nice rain can be pleasant.  When the faster group took off, we were right with them and that is where today\’s shot was made.

Now the 2nd half of the trip was more eventful. First, we biked a fast clip down this beautiful flat road through some gorgeous farm land.  We worked as a group with little effort, going 16 to 20 mph.  At one point, we figured to be lost but a short stop to look at the map and cue sheet showed us to be on course and the turn off to be 5 miles ahead.  Now that turn off ended up a bit of a problem for Clyde and I, for it was what riders call “rollers”.  It is what it seems to be, struggle up one hill, roll down the other side, and right up another one.   It was beautiful farmland, a sight to see actually.  And I have to admit, I hope to return to this road in the future to build fitness, for I saw the group ahead of me go up these hills with manageable effort, not the exhaustion that I experienced.  But, still, it was a lot of fun.

Now the interesting part, we had left the rain behind us and the weather had turned out gorgeous with white fluffy clouds all around.  But in the background, the sky turned dark.  Then the rain started.  Then became heavier and heavier.  Then become what we call a gully washer.  Clyde and I kept going, though we separated a bit.   At first the rain was like bathwater, then all of a sudden it was like someone turned off the hot water.  Motorcyclists often remark that automobile drivers miss the feel of the air, the feel of the rain, the scent of the woods.  As bad as a good rainstorm sounds, you do gain those experiences.  And it was fun.

We arrived back to the parking area, about 45 miles accomplished, having made new friends, hopefully improved my fitness,  and enjoyed what nature dishes out to us.

 

 

Sunday evening bike ride

Sunday evening bike ride

on the EK Bikeway
between Raceland and Russell, Kentucky

I was feeling pretty washed out on Sunday evening but pushed myself to take a ride on the EK bikeway where I met another cyclist.  We had a great ride and conversation, cycling has proven to be a very nice way to meet new friends.

 

Harley from the side

Harley from the side

We all know the rule of thumb of presenting the best image and not the bloopers or the second runs or the alternatives, but here is a companion shot that follows the same theme as yesterday.  I think the previous shot is far better however my thoughts for the past week or two has been on how we can use higher contrast shots to give visual emphasis and increase the obvious form and design of the products or scenes that we encounter.  A friend introduced me to the wonderful world of Ray Metzker photographs and he is the master of high contrast.  We will talk more later about Metzker but you can view more of his images right here.

 “I traded for it, thinking I would ride it around.  It’s the roughest, jarring
ride you ever experienced.  Life is too short to endure such a thing”

 

 

Zoom, zoom

Zoom, zoom

Looking for a motorcycle quote, I found this interesting passage that explains hiking, biking, as well as motorcycling:

 “In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because
you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car
window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive
observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact
with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore,
and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Dean Tires

Dean Tires

Raceland, Kentucky

Sunday was a nice day for a bike ride, not much traffic and nice weather for our town.  Some really great ice cream capped off the day, two chocolate variations:  chocolate peanut butter cup and chocolate brownie fudge.  Can’t beat that, cycling for ice cream rewards!

 

Let’s Ride!

Let\'s Ride!

So far this week is turning out really well.  Spent time on our EK Bikeway for the past two days.  This is an official marked route between my town and Raceland  as well as going outward to destinations such as Greenbo Lake State Park. This leg of the Bikeway runs about 20 miles if you loop through a neighborhood or two.  Way before bicycling became popular, my brother-in-law lived in that neighborhood and we decided to take up biking to ride the Tour of the Scioto River Valley.  He mapped out a training route for us by using his car, then it was a coincidence (I suppose) that the bicycle club took it up as an official twice week riding loop years later.  The Tour of the Scioto River Valley is a gigantic bike ride that goes from Columbus Ohio to Portsmouth Ohio.  Most people spend the night at Portsmouth and return to Columbus the next day.  This year was the 54th running of the TOSRV, over 1500 riders did the route in 2014 and the stats revealed an interesting item.  Most of the riders were in my age category.

 

 

 

Self portrait composite

Self portrait composite

Here is a rough self portrait composite that I did on the I-phone, and I need to emphasize the word rough.  I recently spent a brief time viewing the Vivian Maier exhibit at the University of Kentucky Art Museum.  I intent to revisit the show and write more later but a quick summary is that it is very interesting but smaller than I had expected, both with smaller images and a smaller showing of images than I had thought.  But still well worth the trip.  The composite from above was from one of her images I’m fond of that was sandwiched with a self portrait in a mirror, Maier shot lots of self portrait reflections that I’ve always been fond of even before discovering her work.  If you don’t know here story, here is a nice article at Mother Jones.

 

 

On top of the world

On top of the world

Barboursville Community Park
Barboursville, West Virginia

This is a gem of a park, a little bit of something for just about everyone.

 "Pismire always said there were some
things you should care about enough to do badly."

The Carpet People (here at Amazon)
Terry Pratchett

 

 

Biking at Greenbo, November 2014

Biking at Greenbo, November 2014

Spent part of Tuesday on the trails at Greenbo with the bike. Trails are in great shape, had a lot of fun exercise. When I was 14 years old, my mother used to drop me off with friends and we would bush-whack with topo maps, I don’t think she realized the park was 3500 acres with very few trails. Now the network of hiking, biking, and horse trails are really nice and a treasure for our area.  Since I was alone Tuesday, I stopped quite a lot not only to rest but to admire the deep hollows and rolling ridges of the park, November is a great time to be in the woods.

 

 

Russell, Kentucky

Russell, Kentucky

I caught this scene while out on the bicycle trying to climb hills.  It’s a rewarding view but your heart and lungs protest a bit getting there.  The bridge is scheduled to come down year after next I believe.  I made it home just as the rain started and it was a real downpour.

 

Peeling Paint

Peeling Paint

This is an Iphone image from a recent walk/run program that I’ve been working at.  I have a phone app that supposedly makes it easier to go from a couch potato to a 5K runner in a number of weeks (or months).  I think I’m failing though, I doubt the developers had thought of all the degrees of inactivity the app would run across.   The photo was shot at the local high school football field, the stadium wall had been coated with a textured surface that bubbled up.  Passers-by peeled off the bubbles to reveal this ghostly image below.