This was one of the warmer starts for cycle trips this year. Four of us headed out from the Madden Community Centre at 10:00am. A slight crosswind was blowing but the riding was not really affected by it. First item of note was a number of loose gravel patches on the descent into Dogpound which caused our riders with thin tires to significantly adjust their speed slower. These were not here last year on a similar ride but the asphalt finish appeared to be breaking up along this road section. Let's hope the County repairs these soon.
The ride through Dogpound was enjoyable as always and we freewheeled this section. The section to Hwy. 22(Cowboy Trail) has one steep hill which climbs out of a creek valley. This warmed us up for what was to come. At Hwy 22 we took a brief break, before starting the roller coaster to the Dartique intersection. There are a number of reasonably steep hills on this section which require some work to get up them. After the Dartique intersection the hills ease and it is an easier ride. The last section heading north to Water Valley was into a headwind but fortunately the trees provided some protection from the wind. We arrived at Water Valley just before noon and took up residence on the benches in front of the general store (which unfortunately is still closed after its sale to new owners). There was an incredible amount of motorcycle traffic passing by while we enjoyed lunch.
James commented that the ride back to Madden should be a "flyer". He was mostly right as the the north/northwest wind pushed us along, even on the easterly directions of the road. The "roller coaster" section proved to be less challenging on the way back. We had decided to take the alternate route on the secondary highway rather than go through the gravel sections near Dogpound. On this section there is a rather long hill and it appeared that the wind had shifted northeast while we were climbing, making it more difficult than it should probably have been. Fortunately, the route headed south after this which allowed us a respite for the rest of the route home. We arrived back at Madden just before 2:00pm. The talk at the end of the ride was on "that hill" that seemed excessively long and more difficult than anticipated. A challenging but enjoyable ride was had by participants Sim,Alda, andJames. A thank you to all for joining me. No one had a camera, so no photos.