Monday, October 27, 2008

Pathetic Dependence on Auto Mechanic Provides Excuse for Beautiful Ride

I look back fondly at my completely car-free years. Unfortunately, my choice to live in a rural area with winters required something that would cross greater distances more quickly than a bike from time to time. As for fixing them, these days a mechanic invests not only in lifts and compressors and lots weirder tools than even my arsenal contains, but most deal with proper disposal of many hazardous substances. I look forward to the day we float around in shimmering bubbles fueled non-toxically by fairy farts. Until then, I'll see a neurologist for my brain tumors and an expert auto dude for my car stuff.

The way the intermodal sandwich came together today, the bike leg was only from Gilford to Wolfe City, a pleasant 27 miles.

After leaving the patient in the hands of the best surgeon, I pedaled off in the warmth of mid-day.

Mid-Monday after the peak of foliage season is the time to do this ride. I've never ridden the scary narrows of Route 11 with less traffic.

I resolved to take it one pedal stroke at a time. Even so, I found myself going 25 or 30 miles per hour in sections that give it freely. Of course in places that take it away I groveled along below 10.

Route 11 offers a scenic overlook at the mouth of Alton Bay. I couldn't pass up the chance to take a break there. It was hard to get going again. But I did. I thought about taking pictures of the quaint village of Alton Bay, but I was rolling pretty well through there. I swept through the left onto Route 28A like a solo breakaway. You'll have to settle for this shot from the saddle.

Route 28A is technically a climb, but for some reason it has some fast stretches before demanding its toll. Fast, slow, fast, slow, eventually I came to Chestnut Cove Road, which is a lot like a bike path.

Although the reds, oranges and yellows have faded toward the brown, in places they still have some power.

Joining Route 28 brought me back to wide pavement and many motorists. It has some fast parts. On one long grade I maintained 35 for a while before the next roller knocked me back to lower gears.

I worried about coming down L'Alpe de Suez. I'd ridden the waves of some ponderous logging trucks from the relative safety of 28's wide shoulder. I did not relish the idea of something like that snorting at my back as I tried to stoop like a dive bomber down the rough asphalt into South Wolfeboro.

When I got to the big drop, only small cars were behind me. I took the lane. They had to settle for my 42 mph.

The screaming descent gives way immediately to a grinding climb that crests about a mile later by the high school and pitches right away into a downgrade on patched and potholed pavement down to the town center. I was lucky. Traffic choked up enough to let me flow at 25-30 with it. The motorists accepted me among them because I could obviously hold my place.

I changed modes to motorized at the shop parking lot in Wolfeboro. I still had time to do some yard work, split wood and throw in some laundry before dark.

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