In the perpetual battle for balance, we regained lost ground today. After too many distractions and excuses, I gave myself the proverbial kick in the pants and worked a little harder. Back in my racer wannabe days, 50-mile rides were routine. But that was back when I was on a strict training regime and had riding partners who pushed me. These days, I ride alone and often ask myself, "Ah...what's the hurry?" I miss my riding buddies and the number of hours in the saddle has been dropping. But enough is enough.
I've learned that riding more makes me feel better. It's a physical and mental thing. So I'm planning to work harder at feeling better. I started today by stretching out my usual 1-2 hour Saturday ride to something more like 4 hours (including short photo stops, a snack, a comfort break, and a bottle refill). In addition, I forced myself to explore a new route, and found a nice one.
I started out just after sunrise, and admired the September blooms.
I headed up to Valley View following one my usual routes which is partially gravel. Please forgive the new photo of the same place I've posted before. I just really like this view.
After Valley View, I found my new route that parallels IH-35 up to Gainesville. Good road, light traffic. I'll be back. After arriving in Gainesville, I started looking for Hwy 51, which is my route back. On the way, I found this hike/bike trail. It seemed to be going my way, so chalk up another good route for future use.
The path is elevated, as if it were a converted railroad embankment.
The hike/bike path dropped me off in downtown Gainesville near this historic train depot.
A good place to pause for refreshment.
Then I made my way down an old red brick street...
...historic buildings, and some interesting painted signs.
Then it was back on Hwy 51, which goes between Gainesville and Decatur. It has a nice, wide shoulder, and several sizable rollers.
At the appropriate spot, I turn off the major highway onto a much smaller county road. When I see these familiar sights, I know I'm almost home.
So it was a fixed wheel, 50-miler, and it was four consecutive days of riding, including 2 days during a business trip. Yep, the battle is surging in the right direction. I might win this thing yet.