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.

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