Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Morning Trail Ride

Since the last time I blogged, I've acquired a bicycle computer and a helmet, and I've had my bike out for five rides. The first three rides were in and around my neighborhood - 5.5 miles, 4.85 miles, and 6.48 miles, respectively. There are some nice hills in my neighborhood that give me quite the cardio challenge, but at the same time, the downhills feel like cheating. I was in search of some nice, flat riding that would allow me to pedal (and work!) the entire time. So last week, I loaded my bike into the back of my car and made plans to hit the Spring Creek Canyon trail after work. At 3:30 that afternoon, my co-worker Greg called to say he'd meet me. We did a nice 7.69-mile ride in just about 50 minutes. 

With Chris scheduled to teach an Advanced Rider Course all day today, I started thinking about doing a longer rider today toward the end of the week. I happened upon a new app - All Trails - and while searching for bicycle trails, I came across the Lower Trail which is part of the Rails to Trails of Central PA. The trail is a point-to-point trail from Alexandria, PA to Canoe Creek State Park. The trail is 16.5 miles in length and has six trailheads, or stations, along the way. It is 85% crushed limestone and 15% paved (through Williamsburg, PA). 

I got up with Chris at 6:25 AM this morning, fixed him breakfast, packed his lunch, and got him out the door at 7 AM. I did a few morning chores, filled Chris' CamelBak (I've asked for one for my birthday...I think my padre is on it, LOL!), loaded the bike into the car, and headed out. It took me 30 minutes to make it to the Alfarata Station near Alexandria.

Starting at the northeastern end of the trail.
Originally, I'd planned to ride a total of 15 miles - 7.5 out and 7.5 back. But then, as I was riding, I decided that for my weekend "endurance ride" (something I'm planning to do most weekends) I would shoot for doubling my longest during-the-week ride (at the very least). Since I did 7.69 miles at the Canyon on Tuesday, I decided I would do 8 miles out and 8 miles back for a total of 16 miles.

Whether by design or coincidence, just as my cycle computer turned 8.00 miles, there was a bench along the trail, so I decided to take a break, stretch, and enjoy a snack. 

Giving my bike a break at the 8-mile mark.

Oh, hey!

Admiring my bike while I nosh on some raisins and dark chocolate.
I rode straight through on my ride out from Alfarata Station. I did stop to take a few pictures on my way back. 

One of the three bridges I crossed this morning.

The Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River.

This interpretive sign has information about the Cerulean Warbler,
which can be found along the trail in the summer.

Another bridge crossing.
I pretty much fell in love with this trail today. The scenery is really nice and the riding surface is great. I can DEFINITELY see this being my weekend trail ride every weekend (well, every weekend that I'm home!). 

I was on the trail just under two hours with a total riding time of 1:26:36 to cover 16.09 miles. My average speed was 11.1 MPH; my max speed was 15.0 MPH. 

The weather forecast isn't so hot for tomorrow and Tuesday (guess they'll be treadmill days), but Wednesday and Thursday look pretty good for some more riding!