Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What a flippin' wonderful day for a ride

Photo: I'm sneaking up on a herd of deer that are blocking my path.

I left home at about 6:00, figuring I'd ride to the 127th street trailhead of Indian Creek Trail, and ride it as far as I could by 7:00, turn around, and ride home, hopefully getting home around 8:00 which is about the time the sun is down around here.

I ended up winding through Warren T's stomping grounds. I think I got lost right around 7:00. I recall the trail is supposed to go a few miles into Missouri but shortly after crossing Nall (2 miles from the MO state line) I ran into a soccer park, where the trail made a big loop and turned me right back around. It was almost time to turn back anyways, so I just went with the flow, flipped my GPS over to the "Tracks" screen so I could follow my breadcrumbs back home.

Some guy on a mountain bike dropped me on the trail. Rule one of dropping someone is to make sure if you are going to cop an attitude, ride next to someone, give them 'the look' and then try to power off into the distance, make sure you can actually stay ahead. I didn't go into attack mode. I was already 16 miles deep in a 26-mile journey. I just kept my pace (about 14 mph). This guy stopped gaining ground on me about 200 yards ahead. Another 1/4 mile and he was losing ground on me and really sucking wind but we were on a flat stretch! I eventually caught up with him, and casually sauntered by with the industry standard "on your left". How delightfully childish of him.

Then... THEN!! These bugs -- I don't know what they were, baby mosquitoes perhaps -- they were EVERYWHERE by the time 7:30 rolled around. I had to squint my eyes, breathe only through my nose, and frequently blow what one might call "snot rockets" except there was more insect mass than mucous. I foraged onward with my head facing slightly down. My arms became engulfed in these critters and they sounded like light rain on my helmet as I breezed through clouds of swarming, gnat-like organisms.

I finished my ride out back on 127th street, just as I'd come to the trailhead. Back over the viaduct that is the middle leg of my morning commute. Back up Ridgeview. Back home.

Aside from the bizarre creatures I encountered (including the 200 pound variety that attempts to prove his superiority in vain) it was a very pleasant ride. Oh yes, and the trail detour through corporate woods, while paved, might as well be made of boulders. What a disaster!


Anonymous said...

UGH! ...the bugs!
I was riding on Indian Creek Monday and last night as well...west out of Leawood Park to Metcalf. I have never encountered swarms like those...actually looked like the air was shimmering...almost like heat rising from the hot pavement.

Trying to figure out what soccer park you happened upon that looped out...wasn't Roe Park... was it?...cause it does continue east.

I saw my first snakes of season, too.

Noah said...

Yes, it was Roe park. Looking at it on Veloroutes, it looks like I needed to be on the other side of the creek to continue east. It's okay, though, as it was getting dark when I got home. Had I trekked much further away from home I would have been trying to navigate the trail with no more light than my Blackburn Quadrant LED light can put out.

Anonymous said...

You were along way from home. Where did you cross I-435...Is the new Antioch tunnel open?

For future reference that 'loop path' has a dogleg that winds east out of the park by the will take you under and up onto Roe Ave...continue on the sidewalk past Suburban Lawn & Garden (about a block) and the path picks back up and continues through Leawood Park into Missouri and ends at 99th & Holmes by the new fire station.
I usually put in at 99th /Holmes ride to Leawood Park and either go west to Antioch or south to 127th & Nall...some evenings I do both for about a 23 mile trek.

Warren T said...

Yep, Roe Park. When you cross the bridge and get to the loop, stay to the right; when you get to the playground area, veer to the right, the path will parallel Roe going south, go under Roe, back up to Roe and you'll be on the sidewalk/path until you turn left past the lawn and garden place...

Anon, the bugs show up like that in the early Spring and late Fall and tend to be in the areas closest to the creek. I was just reminded the other day to start breathing through my teeth again.

Noah, the detour is better now than it was a month or so ago. Still, I wish they'd sweep off some of the dried mud left by the backhoes, etc. The gravel on each end of the bridge was just added a couple weeks ago. Before that the bridge was still, pretty much, in the same condition as it was in January when I took these pictures:

Noah said...

I velorouted my fun trip but I had to "fudge" it a bit where I didn't quite know where the trail was.

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