Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tunnels, runnels, flowers and steamrollers

Saturday, I was stuck tending to the needs of my car, it needed an inspection, oil change and recall work done. We dropped it off and I wasn't about to wait 2 hours in a car dealership, so I walked down to Dormont's main street and found a used book store.

I needed some good reading for upcoming car/plane trips
After the wait for the car, we picked up Ruby for a Montour ride the next day. I tooled around the neighborhood briefly, maybe a mile or so.

Sunday, I woke up early and got on the road before 8. My intentions were to get to Boggs and make up for the day I'd bonked and only made it to Quicksilver.

There's a wonderful aspect of riding the trails, it's the delightfully intoxicating scents that accompany it. Yes, there's a really nasty smell once and a while along the rivers, but in the Spring there's the lilac week and the city gets inundated during honeysuckle week. I was treated to the lilacs a few weeks ago and now is the time when the honeysuckle blooms and impregnates the entire city with their aroma. I love it.
When I worked nights, I would have the advantage of riding home in the wee hours of the night, when it was cool enough to roll down the windows of the car on the drive home and revel in the scent. No other cars at 4AM to adulterate the experience with car exhaust, just a clean breeze full of honeysuckle. I can do the same again, but now on my bike in the daylight. There's a huge patch of it on the South side of the Smithfield bridge which I've taken to riding by this week, just to breathe it in early in the morning. (EDIT: it seems the flowers near the Smithfield bridge aren't honeysuckle, I'll have to find out what type of flower is putting out that wonderful smell.)

Flowers are a wonderful thing, they're gorgeous, they smell nice and they make lovely gifts. They make a bike ride even better.

Here's some of the flowers I encountered today:

The common daisy
Foxglove at Boggs
Appendaged Waterleaf
Viper's Bugloss

There are 2 interesting tunnels along the route, the Enlow tunnel and the National Tunnel. The latter is often clogged with ice in the winter because so much water seeps down into it.

Here's a video of my travels through National tunnel today.

Then there's the runnel, which I enjoy taking a heavily laden bike up and down. It's a workout.

For those who've never heard of or used a runnel, here it is:

It was a gorgeous cloud-free day with low humidity.

I noticed a part of the trail was paved very nicely, it was so very flat and densely packed, the sides where the limestone ended were very angular, as if it was just laid. In fact, it was! Ahead I saw some idle equipment and learned that they use a large spreader for the limestone and a steamroller to pack it down.

After I passed the equipment, the trail was muddy, slick and in terrible condition. It's very good to see work being done to improve the trail.

I lunched here:

A wonderful quote to go out on.

While I was resting and lunching, a pair of young men came along to use the fountain. One of them asked about my grips and if I liked them, I noticed immediately he was wearing a Sriracha tee shirt, we exchanged pleasantries about our love of the Rooster Sauce and they were on their way.

I made it to Boggs!

I made a small trek onto the Panhandle Trail, just to say that I was on it. This may be my next excursion.

I rested at the Arabian horse farm

Jackson the Westie stopped to rest with me,
he enjoyed the ear-scratchings I gave him.
 I saw several deer in Bethel park, and a set of twin fawns.

This fawn's twin ducked behind the bush before
I could get a shot of the both of them.
I only got two comments about the amount of stuff I was lugging around. One was from a woman who asked if I was going to DC… when I was headed in the direction of Pittsburgh.
the other was from a guy riding towards me who just shouted out a "You need more STUFF!" at me as we passed. I love a smart ass.

56.7 miles, I had no issues with energy levels or dehydration. Yaaa me!

This bumps me back into the top 30 in the National Bike Challenge. Sweet.
Hey, half of these 10 folks are women! HALF!

1 comment:

  1. Boggs is my fave trailhead on the Montour. It's so well laid out, with the flower beds and the picnic tables and more recently the camping provisions. It so very much needs a water supply (but it's all a work in progress). For the novice riders in Moon, it's aspirational because it seems to be at the top of a great summit. Great trip and a great trip report.


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