Martins Mill Revisited

I took off this morning to explore some new Kaufman and Van Zandt County roads. The convenience store at Martins Mill is the only one I’ve found on the rural roads in this area, so even though I was trying out a lot of new roads, I kept that stop on my route.

I got up early enough to get a good early start again this week, but there was a fairly heavy drizzle and everything was wet, so I went back to bed. When I got up later things had dried out quite a bit and there was nothing showing up on the weather radar, so I settled for a late start, and took off.

I didn’t push things, and stopped often to double check where I was on Google maps on my phone. That sure is nice, at times. There was a stiff northeast wind all day, and it was cloudy until the last three hours or so, so the heat wasn’t bad until late. Van Zandt County does have some smoother county roads than the Kaufman County roads near me, and some of them are really scenic.

A few random thoughts from today’s ride: (1) There sure are a lot of beautiful country homes in Van Zandt County. There must have been a bunch of people who made better career choices than me. (2) In Van Zandt County, there is no such thing as a county road too small to have a Baptist church on it. (3) The favorite Saturday activity of people in that area seems to be burning trash, and (4) There must not be a lot of bicycle riders around here; I still haven’t seen a single rider on any of my rides since I moved here.

I ended up with 90.5 miles.

The Martins Mill Revisited route.

Martins Mill Century

Wow, over two months since I have posted to this blog! And a week longer than that since I’ve ridden 100 miles or more. Today was only my second ride in July. This has to be my lowest level of fitness in quite a few years. Between moving, out of town work, and the every afternoon thunderstorms we’ve been getting, I just haven’t gotten in any rides at all.

I took off on the Corsa just before 7:00 this morning, early enough that I thought I could get a good ride in before the afternoon storms showed up. I had ridden just 4 miles when I went to take my first drink from my Camelbak, and realized I’d left it at home. Convenience stores on the country roads I ride here are few and far between, so I decided that was a deal breaker, and rode back to get it.

I rode north on FM 90, then back south on FM 47, took some smaller county roads to FM 1256, then rode east on FM 1256 all the way to SH 19. Things are pretty flat near Cedar Creek Lake, but there are some rolling hills once you ride east into Van Zandt County. Still, the overall elevation gain for the route wasn’t much, perfect for the slacker condition I’m in these days.

SH 19 is a fairly busy highway, but it has wide shoulders. Once on it, I did a 15 mile loop twice, riding north on SH 19 to FM 858, then east to Martins Mill, when south and back west on FM 1861, then back down SH 90. On my second trip through Martins Mill, I noticed what I had completely missed the first time through, a nice convenience store at the intersection of FM 858 and FM 1861. It was just after 11:00, and I had already ridden 56 miles, so I decided to stop, cool off, and eat something. The store had tables inside, and the very thick hot dog franks they offered caught my eye, so I had a hot dog. It was either an extremely good hot dog (possible), or I was extremely hungry after my miles ridden (more likely).

I had hoped that clouds would show up this afternoon to keep things from getting too hot, and they did, although there were still periods of sun. It was pretty nice when I had clouds, but pretty hot and steamy when the sun made an appearance. I hoped I would finish the ride before the storms showed up, and I did manage that, only getting sprinkled on a couple of times. The ride was a good reminder of just how out of shape I am. I was pretty wiped out at the end, even though I didn’t attempt that fast a pace. I ended up with 100.7 miles.

The Martins Mill Century route.