Swimming, check. Running, check. Looks like I should round out my third post with biking and my favorite roads to ride. First, a little history of me and the bike. Like I mentioned here http://prettyinthepeak.com/the-open-water-swim-and-jordan-lake-or-whats-left-of-it/ when I decided to do my first triathlon I hadn’t been on a bike that wasn’t stationary in a gym since maybe high school. If you are following along this means that I was a complete beginner in two out of three triathlon legs. This is honeslty what happens when you see a triathlon in person for the first time. I was so motivated seeing all the different ages, shapes and sizes racing that I felt sure that I could do this too! That inspiration turned to panic quickly. Obviously the swim was a big obstacle for me, but at least I had access to a pool and could practice. I didn’t own a bike and knew from my husband that purchasing one isn’t a quick process. There was sizing, type, shoes, helmets, and pedals to consider and I wasn’t about to drop $$$ on it when I wasn’t even sure if this was something I’d continue past the first one. Bring on the “road bike” craigslist searches! Sidenote: Brian and I have now purchased 4 bikes on Craigslist and have had the best luck. My first bike was a little Trek that we got for a steal! It even came with the pedals and the shoes that fit perfect. The unusual thing about this bike is that it came with 650 wheels, which I later discovered to be kind of unusual (the first time I had to replace the tires and had to order them haha!) I got my bike in July for a September race. I wasn’t too worried since it’s just riding a bike right?! Wrong. I completely forgot how to do gears and of course I was scared of cars on the road, but quickly realized that potholes and dogs were just as terrifying. And clipping in and out while not as hard as I thought was still one more thing to have to think about. I also found biking much more physically demanding than I thought it would be. I can kill it in spin class, but bring on wind and real life hills and well….that’s a little different. Funny, I still remember Brian telling me to bike a lot since that was the longest part of the race. I was so worried about the swim I put most of my focus there. Needless to say my first race I had a pretty slow bike, but once I started to really put in some road miles I was surpised how quickly I improved. I can say today after many miles, many dog encounters, and an upgraded bike that I like the bike the most!
SO, where do I ride around the Peak?! Since we’ve only lived here a year and a half I know I haven’t even scratched the surface of roads to ride and groups to discover. I love the idea of bike groups, but with three kids and crazy schedules I mostly go alone or with just a few other people. Being that most of my biking is alone I have to be VERY comfortable with the route and the roads so that hasn’t left a lot of time for exploring new areas. I’m definitely thinking that will all change this year with meeting more triathlon friends. Here are the roads I frequent the most…..
Friendship Road is right off of Old Route 1 in Apex. I mostly access Friendship by taking Humie Olive, left on 1 and then almost an immediate right on Friendship. I probably wouldn’t have put this road as a favorite several months ago because while there is low traffic you had to dodge GIANT potholes along the way. BUT, thank you a million times to the City of Apex Friendship has been resurfaced (as have many roads in the area) and it’s awesome. It’s so smooth now and coupled with the the relative flatness of it I find it to be pretty fast! Another way I have accessed Friendship is by Tingen Road. Andrea led this route for us one day and I loved it because we had a few more hills. We ended right where Woodcreek Rd and Friendship intersect. Another cool thing on Friendship is there is a house with a water cooler and a sign that says “complimentary water for cyclists”! I had never even noticed this until Andrea pointed it out, but how nice! Way to be a support in your community and I almost always pass a cyclist or 5 on Friendship so I’m sure this has been a great service on a hot day.
Shearon Harris is usually my next stop from Friendship. A left on New Hill Holleman Rd (I love saying “Holleman”, could totally be a Gwen Stefani song) from Friendship will take you right to Shearon Harris Road. Shearon Harris is about 3 miles from one end to the next and is a great way to add some extra miles. Shearon Harris is smooth and fairly flat. I rarely get passed by cars here so it’s usually a nice road to ride astride on and talk! I also pass many cyclist’s on this road. I like the feel and safety of this road so much that one of my go to routes is basically my house, Friendship, Shearon Harris and then back. I don’t usually prefer an out and back on the bike, but this is a great 20 mile route that doesn’t require a lot of thought or turns.
Beaver Creek and basically all the roads around Jordan Lake
If I reverse directions from my neighborhood and take a right on Humie Olive I can head to the roads around Jordan Lake. From Humie Olive I take a right on New Hill Humie Olive and a left on Tody Goodwin. I will say I do not like Tody Goodwin! It’s a pretty rough road and a little hilly. I don’t mind the hills, but the rough surface just makes everything seem hard. My husband doesn’t seem to mind this road as much and I’m guessing it’s the difference in our anatomy. Enough said. Once I get to the end I take a left on Beaver Creek. For a shorter route I take Beaver Creek to the end and Old 1 home. For a longer route I take Pea Ridge and connect to Old 1 further down. I like Pea Ridge! Right when you turn you have a climb that’s really only challenging because there is no downhill to give you speed to climb! You pretty much turn and start climbing. Just hang in there because after the hill is a nice fast spot and then it levles out. Jordan Lake is definitely an area where I know there is so much more I don’t even know about. I did a ride this summer with a super nice group from the Grasshopper Triathlon Club and we biked on 64 which I had never done! It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but would only feel comfortable doing that in a group for sure. We also crossed 64 towards Chapel Hill and Durham. Again…haven’t even scratched the surface of great routes around here.
So what am I missing?!! What are some of your favorite bike routes?? And do you prefer group rides or solo? I *think* I prefer a small group…2-5 people. I say *think* because I really don’t have a lot of experience riding in big groups. There definitely look to be some advantages (and amazing groups around) so I may have explore that area and get back to you. Stay safe on the roads and join me on a ride anytime:)