Motivation Monday... Riding at Pike State Forest.

With the Winter weather bouncing in and out of Ohio lately, here is a past ride that gets me excited on days that I can't ride.  Anyone up to ride this come Spring?  This was originally posted in May 2014.

Pike County highlands.

Today, I was off before the sun to ride the roads in and around Pike State Forest.  Located only an hour East of Cincinnati, this area offers what our neck of the woods does not have: gravel roads, and more importantly elevation.  Lots of it by the way.  

Cave Road.

My ride started from Paint Creek State Park's Marina.  Crossing US HWY 50 out of the park put me onto Cave Rd., which gave a nice stretch of gravel that started an upwards trend that would continue throughout the day.  The nature of the area was very interesting; lots of rocks, cliffs, and ferns covered the ground.  The area on Cave Rd. was formerly known as Seven Caves, which now is referred to as the Appalachian Heritage museum or similar and now charges admission.  Someday I will make a return trip and check out the area.

After riding through the gorgeous rocks and caves, a new trend began to follow me around every corner.  Dogs.  Almost every house that I would pass had a dog or four.  Very few of them would just watch me ride by.  Most were off their porches at full speed with the end goal of tasting my calves.  Dog sprints are no joke.  Even at the very beginning on Cave Rd., dogs and dog sprints were the constant companion of my day.

Roads like these...

While the dogs were more than I expected, there were many things that made up for it.  The roads were superb, and in the flavor of gravel and broken pavement.  The scenery was amazing, with views that the locals take for granted.  Traffic was nonexistent, I encountered more dogs than cars.  Only two other cyclists were seen this day, and they were of the Amish cycling tribe since I was in an Amish heavy area.  Speaking of the Amish, they also had the best behaved dogs.

Climbs like these...

The miles started to really tick by once I reached the State Forest.  Most of them were slow and steady, as the roads turned upward in ways our Cincinnati hills just can't compare.  My legs were humbled by a couple of these climbs.  Long climbs equal long descents, which were the perfect recovery fuel for my tired legs.

Back to the State Park I ended with a 45 mile ride with around 2500ft of elevation gain.  The Fargo was the perfect companion for the roads, dogs, and climbs.  Loaded down with a frame bag and bottles on the fork gave me the ability to carry everything I would possibly need for the ride.  The knobby tires were a bit of overkill, but at times I was glad they were spinning with me.  Next time though, a faster rolling tire would make a world of difference.  Can't wait to get back.

Get Outside Cincinnati!