29 June 2011

8 towns, 3 surfaces, 2 memorable roadkills, and 1 happy 'cyclist

Ride# 87

Tuesday, June 28th

43 miles from Rescue to Elk Grove, CA

I should have taken a picture of the utterly totally completely flattened cat. The poor thing had expired in just the right conditions to tell that it had been a tabby while still admiring the still cat-like shape yet bookmark-thinness. There was also a very large raccoon, also dead but not nearly as flattened. The smallest dead thing I saw was some kind of small grey songbird.

I also saw plenty of live things as well: kill-deers, an egret, and lots of little finch-like birds. No rattlers.

There were also innumerable shards of glass (clear, brown, green), bicycle parts (a brake lever and a bell), car parts (license frame, tire shreds, trim), construction debris (wood, a composition shingle, unidentifed but sharp metal things) and the aforementioned roadkill on the shoulders of the roads I traveled on. I was pleased and amazed to have no flats.

My top speed was 37.6 mph, my average was  9.2, my total time with wheels turning was 4 hours and 39 minutes, the total time elapsed was 5 hours 30 minutes or so.

Although I've ridden farther in one shot on my trike (57 miles), this felt like a much longer ride: probably because of the variety of terrain and number of towns along the way.
Rescue, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Gold River, Rancho Cordova, Vineyard, Sheldon, Elk Grove. Now, some of these (Gold River, Vineyard) only exist as separate entities when considering the census, but they show up on Google Maps. So there.

I flew down Green Valley Road (the map at the bottom shows only approximate beginning and end points), white knuckled and swearing like a sailor (I even invoked various flavors of Christian profanity, not my usual form. The rest was made up of good old Anglo Saxon four-letter words). My shoulders and neck, despite my best efforts, were tense enough to bounce rocks off of.
In addition to all the other things, Green Valley's shoulders are littered with economy size pine cones. These, at least, were out of the way.

The only actual bouncing rocks were the fresh gravel my tires flung when I crossed the recently tended Deer Valley Road intersection. Flinging gravel while white-knuckling along at 30mph is ... interesting. Yeah. Interesting. I could hear the gravel banging through the spokes and just hoped for no gravel strikes on my tender hide.

Green Valley at 6:30am is probably not the best choice, but it is my route to Folsom. There is no bike lane, but a not terrible shoulder. There were also a LOT of cars zipping by in excess of the posted 55mph. Most of them went way around me.

The next terrain was the old familiar bike paths in and around Folsom neighborhoods. What refreshing change! I took my time and tried to relax from the adrenaline-induced hypervigilant state I found myself in.

Those clouds should have told me something.

Tailings from gold dredging. Along the feeder route from Parkshore Dr. to the bike trail along the river.

The next leg was the bike path along the south side of Lake Natoma to the Nimbus dam and then on to the Folsom South Canal path.

Looking upstream to the Hazel Bridge.

There was a strong steady wind from the southwest, so I had it in my face for the almost 2 hours I was on the canal path. Since this trail is very little used (no vehicular traffic and I saw only one cyclist) I went ahead and used my IPod to keep me moving along and un-bored. I'm sure the earbuds meant I did not hear when my brand new Sleipnir flag stopped audibly flapping behind me and took off for parts unknown. Taking the new pole and my little reflective flag went along with it. So very sad.

Weedy canal path.

Killdeer closeup

However, a friend who saw me pedaling down South Sunrise with my remaining flag (a large pink one) said I was plenty visible. And at least I know where the flags went missing.

I exited the canal at Jackson rather then continuing onto Florin Rd. as I had planned, since the already weedy canal-side road got a lot weedier after Jackson. Sunrise was a good alternative, with a nice wide shoulder, marred only by hordes of double-trailer gravel trucks.

OMG. Rain clouds?

Florin Rd. takes you by a materials reclamation site, so once I was past that the traffic dropped way down. Florin's wide shoulder disappears at Eagle's Nest road, but I was passed only a few times in the two miles to Excelsior Rd. Once by a large commercial semi, and once by a pickup. The rest were a handful of sedans and one minivan, who behaved admirably! Thank you, champagne colored van, for staying patiently behind me on the blind hill as I crept up at 10 miles per.

On Excelsoir, I got a friendly beep from a passing truck. I waved, he waved. A warm fuzzy moment.
Tuesday is trash-day in the Elk Grove area, so I dodged some trash cans. Same old same old. I have a genius for trash-day excursions.

Calvine, at least where I rode, has a splendid bicycle lane. Yay!

I used the loop behind the school at Bradshaw and Bond to avoid yet another non-bicycle-aware traffic signal (at least, I suppose it was not bicycle triggerable.) The son of the friend I was visiting was most impressed that I had bicycled right past his elementary school.

I finished my ride on quiet neighborhood streets, the white-knuckle flight down Green Valley already forgotten.

This is my last ride for a while, I'm scheduled for rotator cuff repair surgery in a few days. But I'll be back posting as soon as I am back on the bike!

No comments:

Post a Comment