Sunday, June 23, 2019

Whittier Mill (again)

Saturday before last, at 11:30PM, I picked up my bike from PBR. Glen did all kinds of work on it, the most significant of which was a new pair of Maxxis Ikon tires and a ridiculous cassette. I'm now running a 34 up front, and an 11-52 in the back. I thought the 46 looked weird. Little did I know. The cassette is finicky. The big 4 gears are precision milled from a single piece of aluminum but the smaller ones look to be commodity quality and I don't think the spacing between them is even. It took us a while to get the derailleur adjusted, and I wasn't sure how well it would shift under power.

A test ride was in order, so I took it out for a Local Ramble the next day. This took me up to North Cooper Lake Park, back down along Nickajack, and out to Whittier Mill. I got to test it out on some diverse road and trail, and it performed admirably. Only minor shifting issues. You have to overshift a little, sometimes, but I apparently already had instincts for that.

While at Whittier Mill, I figured I'd look around a bit more than I had the last time.

Off a little side trail, down near the creek, on the left hand side of the field, I found this weird old well or something.

Some old shaft into the depths, with water trickling down into it. I guess it's deep. Thus the fencing. No idea what it is, but maybe I'll be able to figure that out with some research.

I also managed to explore the trails on the opposite side of the tracks. Most of them at least.

Some run right along the river.

They also take you out to a trestle.

With a really cool mural.

I'd seen photos of that before, but forgotten that I had until I saw it in real life.

In a lot of places, the trail back in there is idyllic.

In others, it's pretty overgrown. Near the tracks, it's overgrown with briars, and I managed to get a thorn in the webbing of my right shoe such that it poked into the top of my foot with every pedal stroke. It was persistent, and after stopping to mess with it a few times, I finally had to take the shoe off and spend 5 minutes isolating the actual thorn. Funny how such a little thing can drive you so crazy.

There appear to be more trails over there, but they're a little tricky to get to. There's a bit of a ravine that one of them crosses, and it looks like there was a bridge across it at one point. These days, it's lying sideways about 50 yards downstream. I didn't bother that day, but I'll have to go back at some point and follow up.

It was super, super hot that day. Over 100 degrees. I climbed directly back up Veterans to my house, and actually had to stop at the church for a minute because my chest hurt. It had been a while since I'd felt that. I was 165 pounds that morning, and 160 when I got in the shower later. And, that's after rehydrating.


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