Monday, June 29, 2009

One And Done

I used to do more of this running - when I ran more. Traveling for work or pleasure and popping out for typically, early morning run, wherever I happen to be. In fact, I did a whole year of this in '95 when I spent the year traveling around the world running in such far flung places as India, Tanzania and New Zealand. However, it would and could also happen in more mundane places to like, Buffalo, NY!

The really great thing about running is that you could do it anywhere, at any time in any conditions. And believe me in the many years that I did this, I had seen it all from literally, breath-taking vistas at 13,000 ft elevation in Nepal, to quite unsightly slums on the outskirts of Nairobi Kenya, to boring business parks in Salt Lake City, UT. And, I had done these runs in all manner of conditions from the darkness of the down-town of a big city at night to the beauty of a sun rise at the Grand Canyon, and from frigid -30C conditions in Ottawa, ON to, blazing +45C heat of Udaipur, India.

I don't run much these days - cycling is the thing now. However, cycling is less flexible and easy to do when on the move. The bike can be a pain to travel with. You need more gear for cycling. For the most part cycling is best done, and more enjoyable on quiet country roads. So if staying in a large strange and foreign city - forget it. However, when it all comes together it's magic! The ride that I went on in Jackson, MI, last week was a great example of a great One and done ride. I had no real reason to be in Jackson, other than it was my stopping off point for the night on my drive back from Madison, WI to Aurora, ON. I drove until 7:00pm and then pulled into a nice hotel on the outskirts of Jackson, just off I-94. I checked Google Maps and it seemed on the north side of I-94 it was all country roads. I had a look at the satellite shots close up on Google Maps and they appeared to be paved.

The next morning I was up early and it was time to hit the roads. The weather was cooperating - it was sunny and about 16C. I double-checked the Google Map selection of roads. Loops are always more adventurous but, out-and-backs much safer - less chance of getting lost. There did not appear to be a clear, and easy to follow loop, so I chose one road, Rives Junction Road and decided I would do an out-and-back on it - out for 45 min and then back.

It's at times like this that Robert Frost's Poem, "The Road Not Taken", literally and figuratively comes to life. The full text of the Frost poem is here - it's worth a read. Why? Well, the road I chose was a great one, and it was less traveled, which is what you want when you are out for a bike ride, but you do always wonder about the other roads and choices that you passed by!

Rives Junction Road turned out to be perfect. Lightly traveled by car. Great pavement. For much of it it was lined with these majestic mature Maple and Oak trees who's branches arched right over the center of the road giving the sensation of cycling inside a giant and almost endless Gothic cathedral. Occasionally, I would pop out of the trees and it was wide open farmers fields. I reached my turning point just past the town of Rives Junction, itself. It would appear that the town may have been more of something in the past, as the abandoned rail station and siding would attest to.

Back I went to my hotel in Jackson. Of course, I get some odd looks from the desk staff when I trundle in and out of the lobby of the hotel with my bike and all the cycling kit on. I am sure they think me crazy. They can think what they like. I can honestly say that these are some of the most enjoyable rides that I go on these days, and I may never ride on those roads again. One and done!

Picture above taken on another One and done, ride in Southern California last year. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me on the recent ride in Jackson, MI

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