Natchez Trace on the Bike

Guide-Mississippis-Natchez-Trace-Parkway-E01PSVS9-x-largeNatchez Trace on a motorcycle is a beautiful ride, but today Jim, Racer K, and I got all “triathlon” with this mysterious road.  Beauty turns to pain when you clip your shoes and pedal into the wilderness of Natchez Trace, but I can’t think of a stronger way to start with outdoor training.

It’s usually pretty windy and crossing the bridge near Leiper’s Fork is a white knuckler.  The Parkway bridge is fifteen hundred feet long, 145 feet high and loaded with close calls.

We parked at the legendary Loveless Cafe and from there it was a straight climb for the first 3 miles or so.  Then, you descend over this damn bridge that scares the crap out of me on a normal day, not to mention when there are 30-40 m.p.h. winds and even your tough-guy-coach sends you a warning text about conditions.  LovelessCafe

The climbing on this section is relentless, and I’m not sure the map I just linked does it justice.  I found myself begging to be back on the trainer where I could imagine how tough these hills were rather than feeling my thighs burn and eyes water as we powered one ascent after another.  The plan was to ride for two hours, and about 15 miles in we hit a rest stop where I promptly fell on my hip because I forgot to unlock my shoes from the pedals.  I knew it was going to happen eventually, and now I’m hoping it’s out of the way.

The trip back was a little easier with the wind seemingly on our backs.  None-the-less, I was ready for this ride to be over.  Racer K tore off into the distance while Jim and I plowed ahead and watched our leader disappear into the horizon.  Two hours into the ride, we curled down the exit ramp and coasted through the Loveless parking lot.  Racer K was leaning suggestively against his car, already in jeans and sport coat.

It was a good ride and that gives me two 30-ish mile rides in two days.  I’m definitely feeling it in my hamstrings and think I am going to bag on today’s swim.  That is, unless this nap brings me back.

2 thoughts on “Natchez Trace on the Bike

  • March 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm
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    Ugh, I hate that bridge with every single molecule and atom in my body. I always leave one foot unclipped in case I’m blown into traffic and I ride down the center of the road (as far away from the deadly sides of the bridge as I can get). The hills suck, but they’re good for you. But the bridge is a bitch. The first time I ever rode on the Trace was on a windy day, I think I still have PTSD.

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  • March 14, 2013 at 2:44 am
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    Yeah, it’s pretty wicked! How often do you ride out there? We’ll be back on Saturday.

    Reply

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