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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Massas Creek (reprise)

Ever since Chuck and I first rode Massas Creek road I've been talking it up, and this Saturday I finally got to show it off to someone else. Bob and I headed west to Jonesburg to check out a loop he'd put together including Massas Creek and the Daniel Boone Conservation Area.


Massas creek
Saying hi to our Virtus teammates who skipped our ride but were suffering in their own way.
The temperature was a cozy 31*, slightly less warm than I'd hoped, but the combination of exertion and lack of wind made for comfortable riding conditions.  Hilarity ensured early on as Bob asked me, "Did you download the course to your Garmin?"

"No, did you?"

"Umm, nope. Let me see if I can pull it up on my phone..."

We definitely need a grown-up with us to take care of the details.

Bob was able to pull the route up on his phone, and once we were geared up we started the ride by immediately missing a turn and riding some extra distance. Or by "Intentionally Tacking on Extra Distance Because We Take Our Training Seriously".  Either thing is possible.

Massas Creek gravel
Success!

Eventually we righted ourselves and doubled back to find our road, and the pavement quickly gave way to fresh, loose gravel and several (thankfully friendly) dogs.  After a bit the gravel smoothed out and we encountered this cool bridge.

Massas Creek gravel
My bike has been sitting for two weeks, so it was really happy to be outside again.
When Chuck and I did this ride in 2013, we'd noticed a fancy driveway with some cool gatehouse looking thing in progress. Here's that spot. The gatehouse or whatever it is is finished, and behind it you can see an archway that looks like something that belongs at a castle. There were even gargoyles at the top.

Massas Creek gravel
Pretty fancy driveway!
At this point we turned off Massas Creek Rd and pedaled up Haney Farm Rd, which I think was the steepest climb of the day. After a short snack/catch your breath stop, we turned onto Hwy Y for a short stretch of pavement before turning onto Tower Rd. towards the Daniel Boone Conservation Area.

Massas Creek gravel
Made it!
 We checked out a couple of the service roads and trails and found what was left of a deer skeleton off trail.

Massas Creek gravel
Ribs, anyone?
Someday I'm going to go back there and do some exploring off trail and see what there is to see, but Saturday wasn't that day since we both had things to do and people waiting at home.

Massas Creek gravel
Nice view after leaving the conservation area.
The road out of the conservation area took us down a steep hill. As Chuck had noted last time I was there, "It looks like we're dropping off the edge of the world." Bob sailed downhill, while I took a more cautious approach.  About halfway down I finally released my death grip on the brakes and still hit 28 mph before the road flattened out.

A little connecting piece of the Katy Trail was probably my least favorite part of the ride. Thanks to the recent damp conditions, the trails was soft and our pedaling felt sluggish. I was very happy to see the bridge over Massas/Massie Creek.

Massas Creek gravel
On Bob's side of the bridge the sign read "Massas Creek". I guess if there's a question about what the creek is actually named that's one way to make everybody happy!
Chuck and I had ridden through a lot of water on our trip down this road, something less fun on a cold day in January than during April shorts weather.  Thankfully the road sported several low water crossings that may have replaced some of the gravel creek beds we'd had to ride through.  Admiring the creek at one such crossing, we had a lady in a truck stop next to us.

Massas Creek gravel
Checking water depth
After the very unfriendly locals at the Joe Dirt ride, I was a little nervous to have someone stopping by us, but she just wanted to tell us about the deer she's been watching in her yard. And actually, while we didn't see many cars on our ride, everyone was say was friendly.

Massas Creek gravel
Riding through the valley
The road wound through a valley, and then closer to some limestone bluffs.  We were both thrilled to have such a nice day to be outside and such an awesome route.

Massas creek

Eventually we came to a few actual creek crossings. The one I'd been a little worried about had been where Chuck and I had to carry our bikes through knee-deep water. That promised to be a chilly walk this time around, but luckily the water was WAY down in that part and we were able to ride through. The last creek crossing didn't go quite a smoothly.

Massas Creek gravel
Which side to take...
 
Bob unsurprisingly made it across without incident, but I didn't make it far before having to put a foot down.  My cycling boots are plenty waterproof when dealing with spray from riding through water, but not so much when submerged. Some water leaked in through the zipper, but at least I stayed drier than I would have in my regular bike shoes and the boots still prevented wind from chilling my wet feet.  I had known wet feet were a distinct possibility, so I'd worn wool socks and we'd flipped the route so that the majority of creek crossings were towards the end. Just a few miles were left until dry socks...no problem.

Massas Creek gravel
Some of the rock walls along the way showed the frosty temps
The route was supposed to be 26 miles, but I'd forgotten to take into account our little detour at the beginning. It's funny how you can basically ride any distance, but one you near the mileage you were expecting your body is done.  That's how I was at mile 26, but a couple of ibuprofen for my crampy legs and a handful of fruit snacks turned things around and the last two miles, gradual climb and all, were no problem.

Massas Creek gravel
Route and elevation profile. 

We had an awesome ride, and hopefully we'll manage to drag the rest of the crew out there to check it out.  I still have ambitions of linking Massas Creek Rd. and Lost Creek Rd. for an epic creek ride, but in all honesty that's probably only going to happen if somebody else plans it. And, you know, brings along the directions too.

5 comments:

  1. My students would go crazy over the deer skeleton. Someone brought in an antler the other day and that was pretty cool.
    Is this the ride I said jealous of on IG? Maybe I wouldn't be. Would love to see that gate though.

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  2. Wow, beautiful pictures! The thought of being on a bike when it's that cold, well, let's just say I'd be one of those people who would be getting the finger.

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  3. That's some great scenery, wish we had something similar up here.

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  4. I'm glad everyone was friendly, because honestly? That picture of the valley looks like a road you could get kidnapped on.

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  5. What wonderful adventures you are living. You have the possibility to visit beautiful places and enjoy great sceneries.

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