The local weather forecasters got this one right today. They predicted heavy fog in the morning followed by warming temperatures and clear skies by mid-day. Bingo! They hit it right on the head. We arose to freezing temperatures of 32 degrees and heavy fog, which led to the formation of black ice on our morning drive to work. For the second work day in a row (last Friday being the first), a vehicle failed to successfully negotiate the ice with the end result being a wreck that blocked both lanes of traffic on US 276 on the segment running from Bethel to Waynesville. We were stuck on the mountain about 30 minutes while they wrestled the offending and now bruised PT Cruiser out of the way so traffic could resume movement. Last Friday, the culprit was a tractor trailer that lost control on the ice as the truck was going up the mountain on the Waynesville side. That little jaunt ended up with a crane being set up in the south bound lane in order to pick up the trailer out of a ditch. One kind soul finally walked up the line of traffic and let everyone know it was going to be another hour before the road would be cleared. We were able to turn around and find an alternative route to work. What is typically an 8 mile drive over 12 minutes or so turned into a 40 minute drive after having waited 30 minutes in the wreck traffic.
At any rate, TODAY turned out, in the word of a Billy Crystal character, MAVELOUS, SIMPLY MAHVELOUS! At least the weather turned out that way… I could certainly tell that I had not ridden in a week! My legs were like dead weights as I started out at noon today. Despite having had a good massage last Friday, my back was still stiff. That along with having eaten poorly this morning kept me from getting into a comfortable rhythm to start the ride.
Fortunately, the good weather and pretty scenes along the route and about 5 miles of riding lubed all my joints up properly and I felt more comfortable on the bike. Initially, I was concerned that I was under-dressed for the weather but I turned out to have hit it just about right. I worked up a nice sweat pulling up Hyatt Creek Road and through the gap and then didn’t get too cold on the descent. After returning to town, I split off on Country Club Drive and managed a short climb over the ridge into the Ninevah section of town. I decided to climb Crymes Cove Road as I haven’t been over it in this direction before.
The “Woodman” had been telling me that it was a tougher climb from the Waynesville side and I do believe he was correct. The climb is longer than from the US 276 side and takes a steeper grade just under the summit. According to my bike computer, it hit a grade of 13% at that point. Fortunately, it was a short segment at the steepest grade. To add to the “fun” of the final climb, the road takes a sharp turn to the left at the top. Traffic coming from the other side would have difficulty spotting you as they top the hill and make what is for them a right hand turn. A little too much speed on their part and they would quickly be in the wrong lane of traffic. There is also a gravel driveway that connects to the road right below the summit. This always means loose gravel is going to be in the road. It is an issue for motorcyclists and bicyclists alike.
The remainder of the ride was mostly on flat ground and I found myself back at my office in short order today. I was happy to be back on the bike today. Our weather has been less than inviting for riding lately and that along with some Christmas gatherings has limited my time on the bike this past week. It looks like we’ve got rain and dreary cold weather moving back in for Tuesday and Wednesday so I’m hoping for a Thursday lunch ride now.
Bits and Pieces!
Congratulations to the Fat Cyclist and all members of Team Fatty for their unbelievable fund raising last week. What started out as a joke open letter from Elden (the Fat Cyclist) turned into a major fund raising effort for the LiveStrong Foundation and a separate bicycle related organization. To see those details, check out the Fat Cyclist by clicking the Fat Cyclist link above and scrolling to the 12/08/2009 entry. (I’d make the link go there but I’m having problems getting it to work today.)
Want to see some pretty sunrise images from the Ozarks as Jim rides to work this morning? CLICK HERE!
And finally, check out the rapidly growing SCEPTER project of my friend Jim at Cycling Experiences!