Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the noble pursuit (ii)

hey welcome back!

so yesterday we got as far as starting out on douro fifth line . . . a mostly hard-packed gravel and dirt road. it's also kind of interesting in that it climbs, slowly but surely . . . forever. and ever.

and then even more . . . .

i like to think that i am a solid rider when it comes to smoothly paved roads with a tailwind.
solid, dependable, even quick. but put me on gravel, on a hill, into the wind and i become close to useless. very close!

don't let the smile and relaxed body stance fool you. 
i'm hurting, and we've only just begun!

see, the thing with gravel roads is that there's levels of bumpiness beginning at the relatively small level of the hard and compressed talcum powder-like dirt which doesn't create a smooth surface as much as it mimics the form of surrounding countryside, which in this instance could generously be described as hummocky - read undulating, distorted by the ravages of passing glaciers, relatively untouched by the marks of civilization.

the next layer of  bumpiness up is of course the gravel itself. still holding in all the resentment that a small rock can contain as it deals (poorly) with the forced separation of itself from its much larger bouldery origins. each little jagged edged boulder-baby twists and turns until its most irritating self is facing upwards.  where i, the unsuspecting rider, looking down in all naivete merely see lots of little rocks, they are looking up through squinty piercing little eyes and pushing with all the nastiness their little grey bodies can muster against the relative squishiness of my skinny wheels.

go up one more layer of bumpiness and you will meet the actual terrain of the road which has been dealt an unkind hand by sister rain, a bazillion ford f-150's, and of course countless attempts by the county at "levelling and grading" the surface. the result is a lot more exciting and stomach dropping than any ride at canada's wonderland.
just saying.

anyhow, back to the ride itself.

road surfaces varied from the aformentioned gravel . . .

to little dirt tracks . . .

to beautiful wide paths through the woods . . . .

to some skinny single track through the woods (of which i do not have a picture
as i was literally hanging on for my life and trying not fill my pants!) that part of the ride was weird because it was so shadowy, it was hard to tell boulders from mud from branches annnnnnd we were on skinny tires that somehow managed to not want to follow "the line" . . . . . imagine?!

 i heard later that a rider behind us went over his bars when a branch poked through his front wheel . . . .
no kidding!

eventually we arrived in havelock and bought water and some virulant blue electrolytic fluids which were quickly disposed of as the heat of the day had found its groove by then ...

and then off we went in search of hastings where we were told to find a certain little cafe which had a pin waiting for us . . .

and so across the river we rode . . .

along country lanes that were so simply beautiful that you really felt compelled to slow down and chat -

and finally back across the river

and a stop at the bridgewater cafe for pastries and water and a three-way shared piece of pizza

and yes, a pin!

come back tomorrow for the actual - and horrifying - tale of the rest of the ride!

1 comment:

Pauline said...

I am impressed beyond measure that you did all this on those skinny tires!