Cycling: Road Test

Today I took the Harrah-Jones Loop clockwise. This time it was straight up Henney to Britton Road, but I stayed on Britton Road all the way across to Harrah (it goes much farther east). I’d only ever seen just a little in that direction. It was a great choice, because I loved the view.

Consider that once you leave the North Canadian Valley eastbound on anywhere from NE 63rd and northward, that first ridge marks the change to another watershed. Everything in that area that doesn’t drain into the North Canadian River will instead run northward to the Deep Fork. Hint: It’s called that not because of the water level, but because it cuts some of the deepest canyons in the state. Even when it runs through a wide valley, both sides are typically quite steep coming off that valley floor. We’ll see some of that on my planned ride to Luther and back.

BrittonnTriplexToday we note that the Deep Fork watershed is more prairie than forest. It wasn’t much of a climb from Indian Meridian, and only a little bit more coming up from Triple X. To your right is a northward view from Britton Road just above Triple X. However, once past Luther Road it got into some steep hill and valley stuff.

BrittonWnrLutherOf course, the camera fails to capture the steepness of that rise as I look back west toward Luther Road (left). Looking off to the right side of the image you see part of a lovely, steep-sided valley. The next few miles were only slightly less arduous riding.

BrittonNnrDobbsThis image on the right is looking northward across someone’s nicely mowed yard into a distant valley — nice MH&VS. This was taken as I approached Dobbs Road. Once on Harrah heading south, it was a little less strenuous and I was able to catch my breath.

Aside from the open pasture land, one of the biggest crops is hay up in the hills. Down in the valley, it’s a rotation of feed crops, usually. That would be alfalfa, corn, sorghum and soybeans for the most part. This time of year is sorghum (lower left) and you might be able to see they plant it directly in the stubble of the previous crop. It’s one of the few crops unlikely to be GMO. The best way to tell is whether anything else grows in the field with the crop. Out by the casino the corn and soy sprout alone from bare dirt, with nothing even close to the edge of the field. You get that only by spraying defoliant and growing GMO crops resistant to it. There might be a few resistant weeds out in the field, but no grass or other natural foliage. With sorghum, growing it in the stubble without plowing first is another way to reduce “weeds.” What happens is that Johnson Grass usually grows in with it, but not very thickly.

SorghumHarrahnSE36thThis was more of a test run for distance. I believe my bike and my body have decided to work together more smoothly. Despite the big hills and distance, I was able to stay on it pretty strong. I stopped for lunch at my usual place on NE 36th and Harrah Road; the huge cottonwoods and sycamores greeted me cheerfully since it’s been awhile. From there I dropped down through Harrah, zig-zagged over to Dobbs, then onto SE 15th, west to Indian Meridian and then home. This is basically a big rectangle: 9 miles north and 7 miles east, making for a total distance of 32 miles, plus one more from the combined in and out between home and the starting point at SE 29th and Henney. Despite all the stopping, I made good time at just under three hours.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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