This past Sunday morning I was out for an early morning ride and noticed that there was a lot of traffic, including semi-trailers, on a road where I might only see one or two cars in the 5.6 miles that I ride on it. Of course I had to figure out why that was true so I did a little internet investigating and I found out that there is construction work on US 301 in Hawthorne, FL at a railroad crossing and that traffic was being diverted onto this usually quiet county road as a detour. My first thought was "Crap! That road is going to be too busy to ride on all week," but my next thought was "Cool! This means that there is going to be almost no traffic on US 301 going south from Hawthorne for 9.5 miles!" US 301 is a very smooth four-lane highway with very gentle curves and nearly dead flat. The only "bump" is an overpass over some railroad tracks. I normally don't ride it even though it has a wide shoulder because the volume of traffic on it makes it an unpleasant experience. When I have ridden on it I was always impressed with how smooth the pavement was and how much easier it is to go fast on such a smooth surface. Either that or fear was jacking me up to ride fast and get the heck off of it!
By the time my riding partner and I got out there (~8:30 AM and 18 miles from home) we were both warmed up and conditions were perfect: blue skies, 78 F, no wind, and almost no vehicles at all. (OK, I'm going to brag a little here.) Feeling good I got down in the drops and put the hammer down for 2 miles at 26+ mph. I had put a little extra air in the tires before setting off in anticipation of the smooth pavement and it really made the difference. That kind of effort was going to put me red zone if I kept at it too long, but I wasn't even close to "blowing up" at that point. Still, it would be a long and painful ride home if I "burned all my matches" twenty or so miles from home so we backed it off a bit. We flew the rest of the way down to where the detour started at about 22 mph and doubled back. That was a complete and total blast!
There was a section of the highway in Hawthorne that was completely closed off and we tried to see if we could ride that as well, but the State Trooper at the barricade wasn't having any of that.
They will be finished with the road repair in less than a week so I don't have a lot of time to do this again. Perhaps the second time wouldn't have the "magic" and I should leave well enough alone. Still, it was a very, very nice ride.
Maybe later I'll post about Sunday's ride. It was a complete departure for me. Instead of sticking my nose on the stem and hammering away I put a digital camera in a jersey pocket and went out for a long, slow spin in the country, taking pictures, stopping to sit in the shade of a tree, getting a Coke at a roadside store, and all those other things that bike riders do on a pleasant Sunday morning. That was also a very, very nice ride.