Late Friday afternoon Bob called me to let me know that Juliet was OK. He explained that he had to replace one cable, a couple of spokes, the chain and the bottom bracket. He said once he opened it up, the bracket was completely stripped and it was just metal on metal. Nice. Once Halloween was over, I sprinted over to REI to pick her up. I didn’t ride her much, but I could tell just how smooth the ride was. It was like butta.
The next morning I woke up a little late. I had to take Gracie to the groomer at 8am, so I took the time to catch up on a little sleep. After she was dropped off, I had three hours before she had to be picked up and that’s when I planned to do my ride.
My goal today was to ride 20 miles. I’ve been doing 10 miles pretty consistently, so I felt it was time to extend my ride. Ultimately, I need to build up to at least 20 miles each morning and a weekend ride of 50 miles before the start of the Natchez Trace Tour. That’s fully loaded too. 🙂 Since I haven’t been riding with much weight, I decided it was time to begin adding weight to my bicycle. I added both my rear panniers and put my Dana and my tool burrito in one, my Kryptonite lock in the other. I also added my handlebar bag, which is a monster weighing in at 3lbs when it’s empty. That wasn’t a ton of weight but it’s the start of what I’ll build up to.
Since I haven’t ridden a 20 mile loop yet, I wasn’t exactly sure of the course to take. I decided on riding the first half of my 10 mile loop and then extend from there. The first five miles were good. Juliet was like riding butter. It was so much easier to pedal and my cadence was much improved now that I’m not pedaling grinding metal. 😛 When I reached the Davidson/Williamson country line, the halfway point of my 10 mile loop, I stopped to stretch and drink a little water. Even though Juliet was riding much better, the little additional weight was noticeable. It was also much warmer than it’s ever been. It was in the 80’s today, up from the usual 60’s that I’ve been riding in.
Once I was a little rested, I continued down Nolensville road to the next street, which was Old Burkitt road. This little side street brought me to Burkitt Road with a nice steep climb at the junction. Once on Burkitt, I road east for a few miles. The hills were a challenge to say the least. I didn’t walk on any of them, but I was definitely working hard. I tried to use my grannny gear on one climb, but my front derailleur simply couldn’t get it to switch. It almost got it, but it was just making noise and not making the shift.
I was definitely having to work a lot this ride and I took the opportunity to take a few pictures and stop and catch my breath. The views were incredible. I’ve never been on Burkitt road, even in a car, so this was a real adventure. The highlight of the ride though was a triple hill that I successfully climbed. After the first hill, I thought “Oh good, I can rest as I coast downhill”, only there was another hill to climb after a very short flat section. At the top of the second hill there was yet another hill! When I achingly crept over the top of the third hill it simply flatted out. That was a welcome relief from the climbing, but not quite as recharging as a fast downhill.
Eventually, Burkitt road connected with Old Hickory. Looking at the cycle computer, I had just gone a little over 10 miles. This was the halfway mark of what I was looking to do today. It was difficult to judge how many miles were left before I’d make it home. I’ve driven this section of Old Hickory and it seems like it’s a pretty long stretch of road, but was it 10 miles? My other option was to keep going straight and connect with Murfreesboro road. Looking at my map, I was guessing that continuing east would be my 30 mile loop. The only way to know was to ride it, so I took a left onto Old Hickory and started to make my way back home.
This section of Old Hickory was pretty hilly, with some nice climbs and some very nice decents. Barking dogs are a pretty common occurrence when riding. They always bark at you and sometimes they give chase. You can usually tell when I dog is barking whether or not he means you harm. A dog that wants to bite your ass is a hell of a lot more determined and meaner than one that just wants to chase and bark. All of the dogs that I’ve seen thus far have either been chained or fenced. The few exceptions simply want to bark. Believe me, I’m thankful for that. 🙂 However, on one downhill, this mean looking dog, with a battered left ear came charging out of his yard. This dog had only one thing on his mine and that was to take me down. I was so thankful that I was on a downhill. Had I not been, I would have had to hop off the bike and beat him away for sure. Even though I was doing a good ~28mph I started pedaling just to make sure that I was getting away as fast as I could. The entire encounter lasted no more than 3 seconds, but what I scary 3 seconds that was!
After awhile, I came to the junction of Pettus and Old Hickory at a 3 way stop. I needed a break, so I got off the bike to walk and stretch and drink a little water. I also took the opportunity to call Chris and Dan to share in the riding experience. I had to leave messages for both. 🙁 After sitting on a log and resting for a few minutes and snapping a few pictures, it was time to get back on the road.
As I turned onto Blue Hole Road, I realized that I was going to be way off my 20 mile goal, so I turned early into the subdivision to try and add a few miles. The section I turned into is a new section, so I’m unfamiliar with it. I don’t think it added any more miles, but it did add another big climb. Oh boy! When I finally made it through the new section and down to my street I hoped off the bike and walked up Alexis Drive. With the added weight and the fact that I didn’t have a granny gear, there was no way I was going to make that climb.
Overall the ride was fantastic. Although I was drained from the heat (I drank both of my water bottles dry) the views and the route itself was perfect. Tomorrow I’ll have to extend it so that I can hit my 20 mile goal. I can’t wait!
Avg Speed: 11.21
Max Speed: 38.4
Avg Speed: 10.16
Max Speed: 38.4