Day 4 - Brentwood to Dickson
What a difference 55 miles makes! I'm staying at Ray's Motel in downtown Dickson tonight. It costs 1/4 what it cost me to stay in Brentwood last night. I'm also relatively fresh, unlike last night when I was exhausted from eight hours of hilly riding, the last several hours of it quite stressful. Today I quit riding after less than five hours of hilly riding, some of it very rural - some of it stressful, and rested for two hours before going out for supper. Last night I was too worn out and beat up to be able to sleep well even after taking two ibuprophen tablets. Tonight I'm beginning to feel human again. I've been pushing too hard doing 100 mile days in hot, humid, and very hilly, Tennessee. I'll need to get back to that pace tomorrow and the next day in order to get through Memphis on Sunday evening. I know the heat and humidity will continue, but I hope the traffic and the hills will let up a bit!
I worked in my room (very nice, very expensive) after breakfast this morning, first on my front wheel and tire and, after finishing that, on email and getting ride reports out. The fancy room on the eight floor of the Brentwood Holiday Inn was well suited to both activities. It had great light (and a nice views) from a big window and plenty of floor space to position the bike upside down on the floor in front on the window so I could use the fork as a truing stand. Thanks to Jobst Brandt's book, I've built my own wheels so I was comfortable with trying to true my badly warped front wheel.
Last night, figuring I had nothing to lose, I beat the rim against a concrete post until the wheel snapped back from its tacoed state and became flat enough to turn without hitting the forks. None of the spokes were slack - some had been when it was tacoed - but it still had several large wobbles. After truing this morning, it had only a 'woomp' in the damaged area where the rim had hit the pavement and highly variable spoke tension, but I could use my front brake again and the wheel held its 'true' through today ride. I also found and repaired the two punctures in the tube - three punctures in a Conti TT in only a few miles: nasty gutters!
The bicycle shop in Brentwood (Atlantii Cycles?) opened at 11 AM and I was there a few minutes later. They were very nice and seemed quite competent, but they didn't have any 36 hole 700c rims or wheels. They would have sold me front wheels off of bikes they had in stock, bit that meant 32 spoke (not strong enough) or a 40 spoke tandem wheel (too expensive). I settled for getting a couple of replacement spokes and good advice on how to ride west out of town. The route added at least ten miles to my ride, but it got me away from bicycle hell (Old Hickory Blvd) and let me ride instead through one of the most exclusive parts on Nashville (Tyne Blvd). The bicycle shop is on Franklin Rd, so I rode north on Franklin for three or four miles and then west on Tyne for almost ten miles. Very nice.
The Natchez Trace and an old farm nearby
I rode Tyne to TN 100, then rode west on 100. Riding on 100 was not great riding but it wasn't bad. Some times 100 had no shoulder and moderate traffic, but once it started climbing yet another big ridge, a few miles after it crossed under the north end of the Natches Trace Parkway, the shoulder was good. I rode it for quite a while before heading north on a secondary route marked with a bike route sign. That
Hill on 'bike route'
A sign along CR 967 - the 'bike route'
road led me, after ten or so very hilly, and quite pretty, miles, to TN 96 which, four rather unpleasant miles later (heavy traffic, no shoulder) ended at US 70. 70 is four lanes with a shoulder at least into Dickson. Somewhere in that very hilly part I decided that Dickson should be my day's destination. I was exhausted, my bad knee was hurting, and that, combined with high heat and humidity, made it difficult to crank up the long hill into Dickson.
When I got to a major intersection, 70 and business 70, I stopped to ask about motels. A very nice man told me they were all down south by the interstate on 46. Sheesh! It is almost four miles down there and another four miles back in the morning. I rode on to the intersection of 70 and 46. Looking across the intersection I saw a motel sign from the '50s. Hoping that it was still in business I made my way across the intersection and the four lanes of traffic to the motel office. I think Ray is long gone, but the nice Indians who now run this motel rented me a room for $24 plus tax. Ahhh...
A general note about Tennessee: I'm impressed with the courtesy and friendliness of the people. I have had great smiles from total strangers and little trouble with drivers, even in Nashville. Apparently hardly any adults ride bicycles here - I did see one couple on a tandem this afternoon; my first Tennessee bicyclists! - but the riding conditions are really much better than in North Carolina or Georgia.