Martins Mill on the Xstream

Until my back yard metal building gets built in the middle of October, a lot of my stuff will remain in storage. But, I brought home some stuff from storage this week, including our Screamer tandem and the Xstream. I also found my bike tool kit, and brought it home. Rose and I did a 25 mile ride on the Screamer yesterday morning. Then, I broke out the bike tool kit and did some maintenance.

I dug out my old HED wheels, put a 28mm wide tire on the rear wheel, and a 25mm wide tire on the front, and put them on the Xstream. I moved the A23′s that were on the Xstream, which had the same width tires, to the Corsa. So now, neither the Screamer, Xstream, nor Corsa have skinny road tires (at least not on the rear wheel). A bit wider tires seem appropriate for the rough roads I too often end up on around here. I also installed a new fairing on the Xstream.

The Corsa’s chain had been making some noise and shifting a bit funny, so I broke out the chain checker and inspected it. Sure enough, it’s dead. Not only did the .75″ side of the checker fall into it, so did the 1″ side. So, the Corsa will remain parked until its new chain arrives.

I spent the first couple of hours this morning spreading topsoil in my back yard (got a dump truck load of it yesterday). Then, I decided to try and get in a ride before the rains show up. I took off on the Xstream, my first ride on it since early spring. The brand new fairing didn’t stay new long. At mile 15, it started raining, and it rained on and off for the next 15 miles to Martins Mill. I managed to avoid the showers on the return ride, and the roads dried out pretty quickly. I ended up with 60.3. miles.

On the road with a new fairing.

Today’s route.

Martins Mill Loop

I took off Saturday morning on the Corsa and did my first ride since moving to my new Gun Barrel City home. I did a loop out to Martins Mill and back, adding just a bit of riding in my neighborhood at the end to reach 60 miles for the ride. A stiff east wind kept things cool the first few hours, but it was warming up quite a bit as I finished.

Saturday’s route.

This morning, I took off on the Corsa and did my usual 25 mile weekday ride. I’m thinking that this route, or something like it, will be my regular weekday route. The turnaround is so close to the Purtis Creek State Park, I think I’ll investigate an annual State Park pass. Purtis Creek Lake is very pretty, and a restroom at the turnaround would be nice, too.

Today’s route.

Today’s 25 Mile Ride

Most of my blog entries are about my longer weekend rides. I also try to do some 25 mile rides on weekdays. I don’t usually deem them worthy of writing anything about, but today’s ride was different. I tried a new route, and, after all my talk about how flat it is around here, I discovered there are decent hills closer than I thought, close enough to reach, even on a 25 mile ride.

While I’ve been waiting to close on my new house in Gun Barrel City, I’ve been living with friends north of Mabank, just off FM 90, and starting most of my rides there. With most of the afternoons being 100 degrees or more right now, I’ve been trying to do my weekday rides earlly in the morning, before work. Taking off and riding north has kept me out in the country and away from much traffic. That is, it did until school started. Now, the early morning traffic on FM 90 is a bit more than I like to deal with on the bike, so I decided to start transporting my bike somewhere else, and start my ride there.

This morning, I tried starting out in the middle of Mabank itself. I think that after I move, I can reach that area by bike from my new Gun Barrel City home without too much traffic, so it seemed a logical place to start a ride. I took off a couple of blocks north of Business US 175, got on Bus US 175, and headed east out of town. On the way back, I remembered a quieter street that parallels Bus US 175, and rode it instead.

I then rode the US 175 shoulder for two miles. This stretch is not much fun. It is really rough boulder seal, with a rumble strip to cross if you want to move into the slightly smoother right lane of traffic instead. I then turned north on CR 2836. This is a quiet, tree lined road which travels northeast to near Purtis Creek Lake, where it dumps into FM 316. FM 316 is boulder seal, but the auto tire ruts are worn enough that it really isn’t that rough. I rode about a mile and a half east on FM 316, then where FM 316 turns north, I turned right onto FM 1861, to keep heading east.

After about 2 miles on FM 1861, I turned right onto VZ 2804. This is the the old Prairieville Athens Road which, it turns out, goes to the Big Rock Ranch. I was very surprised to find myself climbing an almost 10% grade, at the top of a mile long hill, following 4 miles of steady elevation gain, at this point. I ended up in my lowest gear on the bike, pedaling at 4 mph with a 160 heart rate, a decent hill any day in my book. At the steepest part of this hill, I was joined by a very large black dog. Thankfully, all he wanted to do was jog along beside me.

It turns out there is some pretty high ground in this area, compared to how flat things are near Cedar Creek Lake. “The Rock”, which is the highest point just off the road on this hill, is no longer accessible by the public, but when it was, it offered a view of all of Cedar Creek Lake. Its elevation is over 700 feet. I usually keep my 25 mile weekday routes pretty easy, but if I feel like some climbing, this may be where I go. I ended up with 25.2 miles this morning.

Today’s route, along with a grade and elevation chart.