I left John and Kate at about 8:30, anticipating a long day with lots of ascent. I couldn't have been more wrong. The day turned into one of the most pleasant surprises that I've had on this trip. It was a delightful ride (and I've never used the term delightful to describe a ride in my life.) Getting out of Brentwood was the hardest part of the trip. Even though it was Sunday morning, traffic was a nuisance because the roads I was on had no shoulder. And there was quite a bit of climbing. Once I got out into the country, things leveled out. Riding through the town's of Smyrna and Murfreesboro, were downright flat. I was hoping to get about 25 or 30 miles of easy riding before the relentless hills started, but the hills never really came. Even though I climbed over 3200 ft, it was one of the easiest climbing days ever. Almost 1000 ft happened in the first hour, getting out of the Nashville metro. When I finally got through Murfreesboro, I was 40 miles into it, had picked up US 70 again and had no more elevation gain . When I finally left US 70, I climbed 4-500 ft without really noticing it over 6-8 miles. The road I was on followed Stoney Creek, and reminded me of riding through Valley Grove, WV, following Middle Wheeling Creek. Before it was over, I had painlessly climbed to 1200 ft., doubling my elevation above sea level from Murfreesboro, a few miles back. At the headwaters of Stoney Creek, I turned onto TN 146, and spent the next dozen miles riding a ridge, with very little rolling, through the community called Short Mountain. The ridge road led to Smithville, where I hooked up with US70 again.
After riding 70 out of town, with decent shoulder, by the way, there was a major 3-400 ft descent to the Caney River, where it had been dammed, to form Center Hill Lake. The bridge was brand new, and it was a beautiful area, but after crossing the water, I had to climb back up the other side. It was the toughest climb of the day, but it wasn't terrible at all. From there I argued several times with GPS girl about leaving US70, and I did not leave when she wanted me to, many, many times, therefore cutting about seven miles off of the 94 mile trip I had anticipated this morning. The motel in Sparta is on the outskirts of town, within walking distance of a Pizza Hut, so that's what I did.
|Somebody was having a bad day near Short Mountain. No one was hurt.|