I’m not usually too keen on riding through water, especially if there’s any chance I could fall. But recently I crossed two creeks for the first time with five days of each other. Minor accomplishment!
Creek #1: Bull Creek on 327th
April 9th was a warm and windy Saturday. I got a bit of a late start, so the wind was at its maximum as I headed south.
After 18 miles or so of mostly gravel, and then a ride across the Hillsdale Lake dam and a climb out of the valley, I stopped here at the Hillsdale Lake sign for a quick break and a photo.
I then kept heading south into the wind, another 10 miles or so to Osawatomie. I wasn’t pushing it too hard, trying not to wear myself out against the ~25 MPH wind. But still, by the time I reached the turnaround, I was ready for a break. I stopped in at the Sonic in Oz. They were busy, and it took much longer than I expeced to get my creamslush, so I drank a bit, then hit the road.
Once I turned north, and had the wind fully at my back, I no longer felt the wind at all, and it was hot! Glad I had the cool drink, which lasted about 8 miles or so.
I was finished by the time I reached Bull Creek on 327th Street. I headed down the minimum maintenance road to the low-water crossing, knowing that I could turn back if the water was too deep to cross.
I had ridden through here about a year ago, and the water had been rather high and fast, and I chickened out and turned around rather than trying to ride through it.
This year, the water was still flowing pretty good, but I was either a little braver, or a little more foolish, but I determined that I would try riding it.
Turned out to be not bad at all. No slippage. The bike just rode right on through, even though I was running my “road” tires (slicks).
The only problem was, the water was a little deeper than expected, and my pedalstrokes dunked my feet in the water. So I rode for the next 25 miles or so with wet shoes and socks. Luckily, no blisters.
The car in the picture showed up just as I was preparing to cross. Thought about handing him the camera and asking him to shoot my attempt, but that would’ve required my to cross three times, and I didn’t want to push my luck.
I bonked a bit a few miles later, as the sugar from the ice cream wore off. I stopped along the side of the road and ate a bit of Clif bar. That helped, and the rest of the ride wasn’t too bad. I was still feeling pretty good by the time I got home.
I ended up with 65 miles at an 11.6 MPH average. Slow, but my longest ride of the year!
Creek #2: Ten Mile Creek on Ridgeview Road
This is another creek that I had not dared to cross before. It’s located just ten miles or so from home, but it’s not a route I usually take, so I don’t get there often. I was most recently there this winter, where I took this photo.
When I arrived at the road, I was greeted with a surprise:
This is brand new, and a little odd. Miami County just put a bunch of work into this minimum-maintenance road, then put up a gate. It didn’t say “Keep Out”, so I took “Travel At Your Own Risk” to mean that it’s still a public road, just closed to motor vehicles…
The road was pretty rutted, looks like some idiot(s) went mudding. Maybe that’s why the county closed it.
On the edge of the creek, ready to cross, with the skeleton of the Ten Mile Creek Ridgeview Road Bridge looming overhead.
I thought about trying to ride across, but there were some pretty big rocks in the stream, making for an uneven bottom, and some were mossy, so I figured I’d fall over and get all my gear wet. (And I hadn’t brought a dry bag for my electronics, so didn’t want to kill my phone and camera.)
So I took off my shoes and socks and walked it across. Here’s my improvised shoe portage system. 😉
The water wasn’t very deep, and the rocks weren’t as slippery as I feared, so it was a pretty easy crossing.
Here’s the view from the other side, as I sat on the ground putting my socks and shoes back on.
And yes, I’m riding my mountain bike again! It feels kind of weird after so many miles on the Surly, but it also feels much lighter than the LHT. Not sure how much I’ll ride it going forward, but for now, it’s good to switch things up.