Saturday, January 3, 2009

Here's to Wrong Turns

I took New Year's Day off the bike, even though it was pretty nice outside. A little overcast, with patches of sun, but it got into the mid-50s. I told myself it was because the Randodaughter had some friends over the night before, and they stuck around until mid-afternoon. And the Randowife wasn't feeling well enough to ride, so I would have been solo. She told me to go, anyway, and I felt guilty for not.

But I still stayed off the bike.

It was burnout, of course. Sometimes you can get sick of even the things you love. I had been piling up the miles trying to get over 10,000 for the year, and now I was burned out. Toast. Crisp. The kind that gets black specks in the butter, and breaks when you eat it.

Then, Friday, I worked from home, and it was even nicer outside. The forecast for the weekend called for a good chance of rain, so about 1:30 I headed out for a lunch ride.

Traffic was pretty light, so I went down Nolensville Road almost all the way to Highway 840, spinning into the 10 mph headwind as the cars whizzed past. My plan was to do one of my regular routes, turning left on Spanntown Road, taking that to Almaville Road, and then come back via Coleman Hill to Cox Road and Wilson Pike. A 35-mile route that I've done a dozen times.

A good workout. Make me stronger. Basically, using a bicycle as a dumbbell.

It was so mind-numbing that, somehow. I missed Spanntown Road, so that as I turned left I realized that I was getting onto Old Murfreesboro Road. I was about to turn around and backtrack down Nolensville Road back to where I meant to turn, when a big dog came out and I had to put the hammer down to avoid being eaten.

So now I'm down this new road, and I've got a dog between me and my intended route. I knew where this road went, though, and it looked okay, so I kept going.

And Old Murfreesboro Road was really nice. It's the kind of road that used to be The Road, but when the state moved Highway 96 (a.k.a. Murfreesboro Road) it became a castaway -- the "Old" hermit that meanders along next to its more purpose-driven (and straight) replacement. I could see the young hotshot, which had more cars, and could also see Highway 840, which had a lot more cars. But the only people that get on Old Murfreesboro Road now are the folks that live on it ... and, of course, cyclists who miss the turn onto Spanntown.

I enjoyed a mile of nice rolling pavement with old farms, before the hermit smacked into the hotshot Highway 96. I turned left and went half a mile, then turned right onto Haley Road. I knew where this went, because I had seen it from the other end on Patterson Road, but had never taken it before.

And it was nice, too. Heading south, it took a little climb before crossing Highway 840, then a truly huge dog (or maybe a small horse that barked) came out and chased me for a little bit. But, again, it was a pretty little road without very many cars.

The sun had come out during most of this, and I was feeling really good. If I'd turned right on Patterson, I would have ended up with a nice 30-mile ride, getting home just after 3 pm.

I turned left, instead.

A few miles later, I turned right onto Morgan from Patterson. Why? Because I'd never been that way. I'd seen the road often enough, but really had no idea where it went. I know most of the roads down that way pretty well, though, and was sure that wherever it went, I could eventually find my way home. Probably by dark, but if not, I had lights.

And Morgan was nice, too. It eventually took me to Rocky Glade, which is a road we use on our 300K. It's also on the return route for Jack and Back, so it's very bike friendly.

By now I was fantasizing about just keeping on. As I mentioned, I had lights, and I had a jacket for when it got cold. I had a credit card, so I could check into a hotel if I got tired. The 300K route goes to Suwanee, and from there it's a short trip to Alabama, and Alabama is right next to Florida. It wouldn't be too hard to get to the beach by late Sunday. I'd always wanted to follow Highway 98 down the west coast of Florida.

I didn't, of course. I turned right and got home before dark, and worked another three or four hours. And, before I shut down the computer for the night, I checked Weather Underground to see what time would be good to ride on Saturday.

I was looking forward to it.

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