Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hiram, Rockmart, Cartersville, Dallas...

I met my brother in Hiram today for a big road loop out that way.

Last weekend I'd had an easy time of a loop of similar terrain and distance, and I'd originally come up with an even bigger loop than the one we ended up doing, but he had a little bit of time pressure, so I trimmed it down a bit.

We started in Hiram and immediately had to wait like 10 minutes just to pull out onto Hwy 92, which we were only going to ride for like 2 blocks. No idea why the traffic was so bad. Last weekend I'd had no trouble at all. It was weird. We eventually did find a hole in traffic but seriously, it took like 10 minutes.

On Hiram-Sudie road it was the Oppossum Apocalypse. I guess with the weather being pretty nice these days, they're out and about, running the roads, and unfortunately getting run down on the roads as well.

Hiram-Sudie is pretty nice. Lots of rollers, fun to keep speed on. We eventually turned on to Buchannan Highway though, and expected more of the same. In fact, there was a nice little roller right ahead of us, so we kept the pace up.


Turned out it was a never ending series of step-ups. I'll bet we climbed 8 or 9 hundred feet over the next few miles. It just never ended. I'll have to remember that road and ride into it a bit more conservatively next time.

Probably at the top of all of that climbing, we hung a right and wound our way up and over Vinson Mountain. I expected more climbing, but we'd apparently done all of that earlier. Vinson Mountain was mostly flat, followed by a screaming downhill. We both hit 50 just tucked and coasting. I've never hit 50 before except coming down off of Hogpen.


After a while we rolled into Rockmart, missed our turn, went back and found it and proceeded north towards Cartersville.

Plant Bowen

Plant Bowen loomed in the background for part of the ride. I assumed it was nuclear because of the huge cooling towers, but apparently it's a coal plant, a huge one though, the highest producing in North America.

I could have used some of that power right about then.

I was struggling and we were both running out of water. There was a gas station on the left, but John spotted a Dollar General ahead on the right and deemed it a superior choice. Apparently there's a Dollar General near his place that he stops at regularly for water, snacks, Gatorade, etc. and they are reliably less expensive than gas stations. He may have been right. I think my 20oz Gatorade was $1.50. I'll have to do a little comparison shopping next time I'm at a QuickTrip.

I hoped the quick stop and refuel would help me out a bit, but I just continued to struggle, worse and worse over the next few hours. We turned east and eventually south, toward Dallas, on Hwy 61, which was 2-lane and busy.

The ride back in consisted of me sitting on, falling back over and over, and John waiting. I haven't been more uncomfortable on the bike in as long as I can remember.

I blame ham. Or I guess I should say, I blame my own misapplication of ham. I'd gotten up late, eaten nothing all morning, put a route together, called John, put a second route together and grabbed a ham sandwich, 2 extra slices of bread, and an apple on the way out the door. I remember thinking as I ate the sandwich that the ham might sit in my stomach for a while. I should have listened to my own brain I guess. I felt full the whole ride. I kept re-tasting the ham. The whole ride. I'd pound water, but it felt like I was just forcing it into my already full stomach. I couldn't eat anything but I doubt I got many calories out of that lunch. Ugh. Terrible. Terrible! I should know better. I do know better! Terrible.

At any rate, we finished in good enough time, and I guess it's good to struggle sometimes, for perspective, if nothing else.

All in all... Hwy 113 towards Cartersville is scenic, but not all that much fun. I could do without 61 back into Dallas. The southern parts of the route were great though. I'll have to come up with something that goes south from Rockmart.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Paulding County

Oh, the road. It never ends.

I was back out on the road earlier today. I don't love exploring on the road as much as exploring in the woods, especially in the Metro ATL, but one thing I really do like is riding back roads from little town to little town, getting a good look at their old main streets and moving on.

I've hit most of the towns close by already, but today I figured I'd head west into Paulding County. It's been a while since I've been out that way, don't really remember what it looks like, and hey, it's right next door.

My brother had planned on joining me but he got buried in family obligations and had to bail. It was probably just as well. I've been putting in long days all week and my pace was decidedly slow.

I headed out through old Mableton and Powder Springs like I often do, forgetting to take pictures, as they seemed so familiar. But instead of turning north, I followed the tracks out of town, off into the unknown, or at least unknown to me. It was a little more woodsy out that way than I expected, and I passed a surprisingly scenic little lake next to a raging creek.

Some Lake

It reminded me of the lakes I'd passed in Florida during CFiTT's and Huracans, back when I was doing CFiTT's and Huracans, and I felt compelled to take a photo.

Somewhere out that way I hung a left on Angam road. It got a little hillier than it had been and before long I'd crossed the borders of the Shire and stepped into the wilderness beyond.


After a few miles of comfortable rollers I made it to the little town of Hiram where I had to stop for a train.


A five-locomotive train, no less. Fortunately there was a bridge over the tracks to the right, and I got a good look at their restored little main street.

Hiram Main Street 1 Hiram Main Street 2

Italian restaurant, eh? I'll have to keep that in mind.

A few more twists and turns took me up over Cochrans Ridge, which featured a better downhill than I'd felt like I'd paid for, up over the Silver Comet and into Dallas.

Old Dallas New Dallas

Georgia that is. Dallas Georgia.

I tanked up at the local Racetrack but I wasn't hungry yet. I'd actually porked up a bit all week and started feeling like working some of it off, so even if I'd been hungry, I might have abstained.

On my way out of town to the north, a quick side loop took me past a bunch of facilities in odd proximity to one another. First there was the Pauding County Senior Center. Then I passed the Juvenile Detention Center, which was directly across the street from a ball field. Imagine being on a local youth baseball team and seeing Juvi looming there across the street every day at practice. Maybe that's the idea though. "Baseball good. Crime bad." Just down the road was some kind of massive gravel and concrete distribution facility. Next door to that, the infamous Paulding Probation Detention Center.


Sir, by your leave, sir?

Carry on.

I took Memorial Drive north and Due West Road almost due east. The community of Due West wasn't especially photogenic, and after that I forgot I even had a camera on me. Somewhere in there I started feeling the hunger. Actually not the hunger. The weakness. The antecedent of hunger. The hunger before you know you're hungry.

I didn't stop though. I had plenty of porkulence to replenish my dwindling power supply. I did slow down a bit. I think I need to adjust my seat too. It's not as comfortable as it once was when I roll my hips forward. It might just be wearing out and I might just be sinking into it more these days, but maybe if I tip the front down ever so slightly...

At length I reached Kennesaw and passed the Thai place.

Mmmm. Pad Kee Mao.

No, no. There's Pad Kee Mao down the street from my place. Move along, move along...

And I did, up over the shoulder of Kennesaw Mountain, down into Marietta, through the nearly deserted square. None of the shops were open. Thus no one to shop at them. That's right, it's Easter. It took a second to put that together.

Phase 1 - The weakness.

Phase 2 - The feeble mind.

Phase 3 - The Hunger.

It was nearly upon me.

I kept moving south. The last leg of my journey. Along Atlanta Road, through Smyrna, down King Springs, up over that one punishing hill, and at East-West Connector, not a mile from home, I felt like I couldn't possibly climb that last climb without addressing The Hunger, with which I was now wracked.

To the left lay several delicious options - Pizza, Thai, more Thai, and more Pizza. I opted for More Thai, at my favorite local Thai place - Curry Curry.

Their Pad Kee Mao hits the spot. Reliably.

Pad Kee Mao

It is apparently shiny and out of focus too. Hmmm. I wonder why.

Ever ridden home with a to-go box of Pad Kee Mao on your road bike? I have. Now.

And so it was. I plugged the route into Google Maps when I got home and it was a disappointing 60-odd miles. It seemed like it had been more in the 75 mile range, but I guess that's another side effect of The Hunger.

There are a bunch more little towns out that way too. Now that I have a sense of how far out it is, I'll have to come up with a loop that takes me through more of them.

Until then...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Silk Sheets

They say... It's better to burn out than fade away. It's safe to say I've been doing a bit of the latter lately. It might even be safe to say that for the forseeable future, I'll be doing even more.

It's sad what passes for adventure these days. So sad that I dare not even capitalize the A. Not that I haven't been having a decent time, but you can hardly call it adventure. I've been on the road a lot lately and it looks like I'll be on the road a lot more.

Today me and John rode about 65 on the Silk Sheets.

Silk Sheets

Not too much to talk about really. It was a great ride. Endless country roads with very little traffic. I had bad sleep all week but I still felt pretty strong and so did my bro. I struggled a little here and there and so did he. Not much though.

We had one mechanical.

Fixin Stuff

John really put it down about 3 or 4 miles from the end. I wasn't sure how much we had left so I was reticent to do much but sit on. Maybe I'll challenge him a bit next time though, now that I have some idea of the route.

I did get an unexpected sunburn. Ha! I guess it's that time of year again. Time to break out the Coppertone, bake to a golden brown, and imagine Phil Liggett making unintentionally homoerotic comments about my powerful bronze legs.

Definitely time for the first two at least.