Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Long Route

Recently, it occurred to me that the Ride Around Pioneers In One Day 130 mile ride I had signed-up for in March was less than 3 weeks away.  My longest ride of the year was only 50 miles and I needed a couple of long rides to double-check my on-the-bike nutrition and build some endurance in my legs. I also wanted to get some climbing and rollers in and knew the Valley Chapel Loop would provide those and some nice headwinds too.  The loop itself is about 32 miles of climbs, rollers, descents and headwinds. 

The loop is defined as a turn onto Valley Chapel Road where it intersects the Old Palouse Highway about 4 miles south of 57th Ave and riding it to Hwy 27 just outside of Rockford.  Head north on 27 about 7.5 miles and turn west on to Old Palouse Hwy until intersecting the starting point at Valley Chapel Road. 

Still not a long ride, I needed to add some miles.  Should I ride the loop twice or continue south for a modified out and back course?  Fortunately I decided on the latter and took off solo about 6 am.  The air was still cool, but not uncomfortable, so I was able to ride without layering-up.

Normally, I would ride the loop to Rockford and turn north on HWY 27, but instead continued south on Jackson road to Fairfield and beyond.   After Jackson ended, I went south on the highway until turning onto E Waverly Rd.  Hwy 27 south of Rockford is not the same as it is north of Rockford since there is very little shoulder to ride on so be careful to choose a time where traffic will be light - particularly during harvest since there is a lot of machinery and grain truck traffic then. 

East Waverly Rd is where the ride becomes scenic and joyful since it is a sheltered valley that was lush and green with some moderate rolling hills.

The road goes surprisingly enough into Waverly where I headed south and onto S Prairie View Road toward Rosalia.  This road was also a delight as it was wide with smooth pavement and very little traffic.  There were also lots of side roads with interesting names like Pandora and Spring Valley heading-off in various directions that need exploring on another day.  Finally the road ends at Old Hwy 195 just north of Rosalia, which also begs to be fully explored.  It also appears that it intersects the John Wayne Trail, but not sure if there is a trail head at the intersection.

I picked-up a tailwind once I turned around and even saw a group of riders heading south just before I got to Waverly again.

The total mileage from Hangman Valley was 77 miles and proved to me that long rides are a good idea before a big event since I was sore and tired after riding just over 4 hours on this route.

I probably need another long ride or two before the event on June 23rd so watch for those reports plus a report from the RATPOD itself.  

See you on the Road.

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