Cycling: Draper Road Test

01Stem-riserIt came in the mail yesterday, several days early, and I was so glad to see it. On many newer type bicycles, the steering changed. You can’t just raise the “goose-neck” like you could with old bikes. I had to order an extension called a “stem riser” that raises it all up about 2″ (50mm). It wasn’t such a big deal yesterday with very little time on the roads, but I wanted to hit Draper today and I was expending soreness from the handlebars being lower than the seat.02trib2CrutchoCrk Draper is 20 miles (32km) minimum from where I live.

I can’t find the name for this tributary to Crutcho Creek, but it seemed a lovely shot on my way out to Draper Lake. I don’t actually plan my rides any more beyond simply heading in the direction of the lake, for example.03Washout-DraperNW It crossed my mind that I could try out the Draper Trails area for mountain bikes, but came in from the west side so I opted for a test of a randomly chosen trail. The trail where the Medical Examiner’s team was a few weeks ago seemed like a good starting point. This huge washout (#3) was picturesque, but the soil was too wet and goopy all around there.

04Point6-DraperDown a ways was a gravel road marked for Point 6, so I grabbed that. It was about a quarter-mile down to the dock. The place had not seen much maintenance lately and the lower water make it a little ugly. Still, it offered a chance to take a look at the shoreline trail.05ShoreTrailDraper This is a very rough flat dirt path wide enough for motor traffic, but not at all developed for it. It’s open to horse, pedestrians and bicycles. I saw some tire tracks that weren’t too old.

This trail exists pretty much on the entire shoreline and is visible from any satellite mapping imagery. I took off southward from Point 6 and it snaked around every point and cove, making for a far longer ride than the paved ring road around the lake. Today it was just wet enough to be a drag on riding, so it became too much work for more than a couple of loops. At one point it was just a few steps from the road I came in on, and I jumped the barrier and rode back out. Maybe another day, but it’s supposed to rain this weekend, so I’m not in a hurry to try again soon. Hopefully it dries before the heat of summer arrives. Otherwise there will be vast clouds of biting insects and a few venomous snakes to spice up the trail just a bit. Meanwhile, the trees told me they were glad to have someone they could talk to, but very sad so few humans with an active sensory heart passed on a regular basis.

06HilltopViewWestElmCrkSo it became an easy cruise on the paved road. I keep talking about how Creation is a living thing, and all of my bikes have talked to me, usually through my body. This one tells me to take my time and not get into a hurry; enjoy the scenery and climb some stuff. So I spotted a good, high grassy hill off east of the road and climbed it for fun. At the top I encountered a marvelous view of West Elm Creek. That clump of tall, deeply gold colored grass is the same stuff that keeps calling my name from the roadsides everywhere I go. I took a moment to pray in the high breeze atop the hill and reach out to stroke the grass. It gave me a joyous thrill in response, and I needed the encouragement.

07EDraperLkDrBy now I realized that I simply must replace that saddle. It’s not wide enough for my bone structure and I was in pain long before I got home. Granted, this bike is a wholly different riding workout, using different muscles from the Edgewood, but I can’t recall when my butt hurt that bad from riding. Still, I went on around the lake to capture this image of the ongoing work on the new road on the NE corner of the lake. That path I showed in previous shots now looks like this: wider, flatter and packed hard already.

08FragrantTreeOne of the few treats of the day was another tree in bloom. Unlike the stinky dogwood, these white blossoms exude a heavenly fragrance. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it’s native to this area. You’ll see bushes at first, and when they survive, they can become rather large trees. However, the wood is not that strong and they tend to die and rot before they get too large.

I suppose with the saddle soreness I should be glad it is supposed to rain tomorrow.

Update: I managed to find a replacement saddle I could afford — wide and cushy for my wide and cushy butt.

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About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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