Rode out from town to the Mingo Creek Road Race today; good fun was had by all. (At least those of us who weren't racing...I can't speak for the folks riding in circles all day. Heh.)
I met Nate and Rob down at the Science Center; shockingly enough, everyone showed up in timely fashion (not a common occurrence on my rides) and we got rolling immediately. We crossed the river via the West End bridge, then spun around the Circle until centrifugal force flung us off in the general direction of Rte 60. 60 and the first bit of Rte 50, as per usual, was a bit of a grind for legs not yet warmed up. Then, the delightful long downhill run to Carnegie and points east...
Per some good advice from riders who actually knew the area, we popped off 50 to Thom's Run and down Miller Run to rejoin 50, which nicely avoided the busy bit. The advice was good, but the implementation was less so; as usual when Nate and I ride together, wrong turns were taken, maps were consulted, and we ended up doing exactly what the cue sheet had said; particularly embarrassing, when you're the one who designed the cue sheet in the first place! 50 was a bit trafficky, but not unreasonable; once we hit Venice, we picked up 980, which is a nice rural road that winds its way to Canonsburg. Past "Cabinsnerg", we picked up 519 all the way to the park.
A good bit of time was spent standing around waiting for the race to start, with the expected tightening of muscles, cooling down of sweaty garments, and all sorts of associated discomforts. Nate decided to head for home after the start; Rob and I toughed it out for one lap, then hopped on the bikes, rode the course once in reverse, and headed for home as well.
Up Sugar Run to Venetia Rd over to Finleyville, then picked up Stone Church (The climb! the climb! The view! The view!)/Gill Hall. Bombed down a fabulous descent to a right on Peters Creek, then left and up on Waterman to rejoin Gill Hall. Left on Old Clairton, then up to Rte 51, then paralleling Lebanon Church Rd over to Rte 885 back to town.
Bizarre sights: a road-killed mallard duck (huh?), a surprisingly large number of courteous automobile drivers, and a giant watering can. And when I say giant watering can, I mean: