Cycling: Giant Loop

Because we are expecting rain much of the week, I bumped my gym workout back a day and took my 50-mile Giant Loop clockwise today. I was able to leave by 8:30 and had decent cool temperatures and SW breezes.

That meant facing halfway into the wind on the outbound leg. That would be a couple of miles through back streets to Eagle Lake, taking the Eagle Lake Trail to the Indian Heritage Museum, then connecting to the south bank River Trail. The redbuds are in full bloom and different trees offer varying shades between pink and maroon. Some are also showing green leaf sprouts in the mix. Other trees are starting to bud or show the same tiny leaf sprouts, but the oaks will be last. They don’t even have tassels yet.

The transition over the North Canadian River at Meridian Avenue is fully completed now, so it’s very easy to just roll up the slope, over the bridge on a dedicated bike lane, ending a sharp turn where it narrows and drops onto the West River Trail. I really enjoyed the two sections that cut through wild woodlands. About halfway between Council and Mustang Roads, the trail bends north, drops under I-40 and we run past the Mustang OG&E Power Plant. The trail runs around a closed landfill and then it’s straight north to the end of the trail, which is at the entrance to Overholser Lake Park.

At the dam, crews were tearing up some old concrete fixtures on the low side. There had not been any water flowing over any of the dams so far, and this one was closed, as well. I couldn’t resist stopping along the bank of the North Canadian Channel (first image above). Mostly I prayed with tears in my eyes as I still have visions of catastrophic suffering to come. The bank was a great place for unloading my soul. I also refilled the bottle in my cage from one of the two I carried on my rack. Then it was off to the gate of the canal between Overholser and Hefner Lakes.

Two things: I spotted that crashed car again, and this time the foliage on my side had been cut down so I got the picture (above right). But the other thing explains why none of the North Canadian is flowing downstream; it’s being diverted to refill Hefner Lake. The canal was noisily splashing toward Hefner. I followed the designated route along the canal, which meant that long quiet stretch along Wiley Post Airport. For once, the wind was fully behind me and it was actually a little hotter than the rest of the ride. My speed just about matched the wind, making it feel rather still. The transition from the trail along Wilshire to the next trail section was very busy, but the drivers were polite and patient with me. I tried to stay out of their way.

Where the canal dumps into Lake Hefner I picked up the southern shore portion of the Cooper Trails. It was busy, with other cyclists, runners or walkers every few minutes. This path twists and turns in and out of the golf course, then runs back along the lake road to the Grand Boulevard connection over I-44. Once I was in Nichols Hills, it was much quieter with traffic slower — it’s a ritzy neighborhood that organized into a separate municipality to avoid having to fight with OKC over their preference for slower speed limits. I rolled past numerous multi-million dollar homes with perfect green lawns, some with driveways more than 100 yard long just to get back where the mansions sit. A nifty solar-powered sign told me I was doing 11 MPH.

I took the zigzagging route back up to Wilshire to escape the suburban landscape, crossing under the Broadway Extension (I-235). I was roasting in the heat by now. There is an isolated mini-mansion sitting vacant next to one of the TV stations out there. I stopped to rest in the shady spot near the gate and ate a snack. I was surprised at having very little appetite with so much exertion. I also emptied my last spare water bottle. At Kelly I turned south for about a half-mile and then ducked back left inside another quiet neighborhood called Persimmon Hill. The road turns south at Prospect and this eventually crosses NE 63rd to bring me to Grand Boulevard again and the Katy Trail. By now I was facing somewhat into the wind again and the hills were painful. Still, I pushed on.

Eventually I ran back into NE 4th and it was up over I-35 and just a few miles home. I was whipped and sunburned on my scalp where the bike helmet has air gaps.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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