Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cancelled Appointment Leads To Ride Opportunity

My late afternoon appointment cancelled yesterday and that gave me a chance to get home while there was still daylight available for a quick ride. The temperatures have moderated here somewhat with yesterday being mostly cloudy and 56 degrees when I started my ride. I stuck to the middle and southern Pigeon River Valley (PRV) yesterday. Unfortunately, I forgot to grab my wife's camera so I didn't get to take any images of the ride. I've tried to add some image shots from Google Earth showing the Pigeon River Valley area in lieu of more action oriented images.

Nevertheless, some good images were captured by my eyes! The fields are now beginning to be prepped for spring planting and they attract lots of birds. One particular field is an agri-tourism related effort where corn is planted in a maze. The corn gets harvested eventually but the site also serves to bring in tourists and locals alike to enjoy the corn maze. It is quite an elaborate scheme and has seemingly grown each year. Interested readers can follow this link to get more information on the Cold Mountain Corn maze here. As I rode by the field yesterday, a flock of Canadian Geese had landed and were taking a break on their flight back north.

My ride time yesterday also corresponded to folks heading home so NC 110 was busier than usual. Fortunately, that road has a fairly wide gutter so it is pretty safe riding and folks were congenial enough to give me plenty of room to ride. In places, the gutters are strewn with winter debris so I'm looking forward to NC DOT doing some spring cleaning of their own and sweeping the trash and dead animals from the sides of the road.

I haven't ridden Love Joy Road, which is part of the NC Scenic Byway, since late fall so it was good to get back on that stretch of road. Love Joy starts at the intersection of NC 110 and US 276 and runs north/south of the PRV. This is also part of the Triathlon course that is held in Bethel each year. Love Joy starts with a slight incline that is about .75 mile in length followed by a dip before climbing over a somewhat longer and steeper grade. I was pleased to see that my legs would still get me over the crest. I generally reach my max heart rate on this climb and yesterday held form. My bpm topped out at 183 on the climb.

After the crest, the ride is primarily flat with only a few minor rollers and has some superb views looking across the valley. I spotted what appeared to be a forest fire on up Lake Logan Road. Circling back to Bethel and my starting point was accomplished on NC 215, which is river grade all the way back to the intersection of US 276. I'll get some images posted of this section of the PRV after my next ride on this section.

So, all in all, a good day out to enjoy early spring weather, spot some birds, and enjoy the emerging spring flowers!

Until later,

-- Zeke
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