Most of us cyclists have a handful of reliable routes that we ride. I am no different. Whether I’m heading south into Vischer Ferry or north and west toward Charlton, my routes are a point to point affair – beginning and ending in my driveway.
Surprisingly, one thing that had never occurred to me was to define a loop course and do laps around it. About a month ago, I decided to do just that. It took some getting used to, but I now consider it a welcome addition to my cadre of routes.
- Directions: It’s weird riding 11 miles and only making one left turn. Like most of the terrain out here, it’s rarely flat for more than a half mile. You’re either going up or down.
- Poor man’s hill repeats: There is a nice Berg about 5 miles into the loop. Every lap takes me up it one more time.
- Passing the finish line (temptation): I always set out with a predetermined number of laps to complete. However, if it’s one of those days that I have dead legs, it’s very tempting to just bag it early when I see the start/finish line. I haven’t done it yet, but it has crossed my mind. Also, there are two points along the way where I can take a shortcut home. I always ignore them and consider them for emergencies only – a storm fast approaching, a mechanical problem, bonked, injury, etc.
- A nice way to measure out a ride: It’s almost exactly an 11 mile circuit. I ride about 2 miles total getting to and from it. That way, it’s easy for me to know how many calories to bring along and about how long the ride will take (One loop takes about 40-45 minutes). It’s funny, but when I do the longer point-to-point rides, I feel weird not doing the whole route. When I ride the loop, it’s ok to only do one circuit because I’m crunched for time.
All in all, I’m glad I did it. Once again I prove to myself that there can be something more to discover on roads you’ve ridden countless times.