Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 56: Mile 382 to end of Trace

Saturday, May 16

I woke up this morning to rain showers. A bit troubling. I don't mind riding in the rain, it's just the idea of starting out in the rain that gives me the chills. Like I tell people I love swimming, but hate getting wet. It's true!

After a simple breakfast, we drove to marker 382 which is where I stopped riding yesterday. The rain had subsided a bit but was still coming down. It was warm enough that I decided to forego a rain jacket as I knew eventually I would overheat.

 I put on my Specialized brand tri-athelete shoes and hoped they would work well. They are very open (no tongue) and for the first few minutes, my feet felt a bit cold as my socks were splashed with rain water. Soon though I realized these were a good choice. Yes,  my feet were wet, but my shoes were draining the excess water out nicely. Nothing like riding with your feet slogging in water filled shoes.
Thank you Bruce Hollibaugh at Concept Cyclery for recommending these shoes!

I also saw a hiker and another rider! It actually surprised me how few riders I have seen on this trip

Another rider!

I rode hard today. For one, I knew Todd had already ridden this route, I didn't want to be embarrassed back home if he or others started to compare our Strava numbers.

I also rode hard in order to stay warm. I stopped at a few  scenic points and once to refill my water bottles. But each time I stopped, I would start to feel cold and this made restarting difficult. So I rode pretty continuously, counting down the miles knowing that at mile 444 the Trace would end.

Lots of wildlife out this morning. I saw turtles, dozens of wild turkeys, a snake, and two beautiful deer. I wonder if it's the rain that brings them out. 

Soon though, the rain was coming down so hard, it was hard for me to see much more than a blur through my glasses

Much like my camera, this is how the world looked through my glasses!

As I started to get close to the end, I found myself wanting to slow down. Yes, I wanted to finish today's ride, but also I really became enamored with the beauty and comfort of riding day after day on a tree-lined protected route. No stop signs for 444 miles. No dogs. Beautiful smooth pavement. I knew I would miss this once I got back into the real world of urban cycling. The rain was starting to subside. I now was facing beautiful rolling hills, some surprisingly steep. I didn't want it to end.

Check out the glassy looking road surface

As I passed mile 442 I suddenly discovered the Trace was gone and I was on a major road with lots of traffic. Shocking. . No terminus sign indicating the beautiful Natchez trace was over.

 Oh well.

I quickly changed into dry clothes and we drove out to Knoxville.  This led to a great visit with my mother, my sister and her family! (and a great home cooked meal!)



  1. So was your mom surprised? I'm glad you got to see some happy, familiar faces!

    1. Yes she was and the smile on her face was worth the extra effort to get in a day early!

  2. So glad you decided to side track to Knoxville to see Mom, Susie and her family!!

  3. You didn't need to *destroy* my times, a few seconds would've been fine. Rather symmetric how I saw my mom before riding the Trace, and you saw yours after.

    1. Sorry Todd...Keep in mind I had 3 days to do what you did in 2!

  4. You didn't need to *destroy* my times, a few seconds would've been fine. Rather symmetric how I saw my mom before riding the Trace, and you saw yours after.

  5. The Trace looks and sounds like a beautiful ride! Maybe one day ... Nice you got to visit family :)

  6. Way to be tough out there in the rain Dave! I'll bet your family was really happy to see you.

    1. That' s the one good thing of being a regular get used to riding in the elements. And once you're wet to the bone, it only gets better!