Thursday, September 24, 2009

Riding the Military Ridge Trail

I can now say I've ridden the entire Military Ridge bike trail. I spent the last two Mondays riding first east to Madison then yesterday I went west to Dodgeville.

The trail going east starts with a 4 mile decent followed by a couple miles of trees leading to mostly open wetlands. As the trail reaches Verona trees again create a tunnel feeling. Leaving Verona the trail becomes paved and meets up with the Capital City trail and Madison's city trails.

I wanted to get downtown so I continued along the bike route paralleling Verona road until it joined the Southwest path. Once on the SW path it is a straight shot to the UW campus. I reached Monona Terrace and without any planned stop jumped onto the streets and turned for home. The trip home was a jumble of trails and roads ending back on the trail to climb the last 4 miles back to Mount Horeb.

Yesterday I hadn't planned to ride the trail again but the weather didn't give me any other options. With thick fog a road ride would have been unsafe. Since temps were mid 50s so I dressed in a long sleeve jersey, knickers and full finger gloves. Two bottles of water and 3 fig bars and I was off.

The trail westbound runs close to a 65mph 4 lane highway. This makes stretches of the trail noisy and not real scenic. When the trail gets away from the highway The trees form a tunnel with occasional views of the hills to the north. Additionally the trail passes by Blue Mounds and Governor Dodge state parks. I rode to the end of the trail at in Dodgeville before stopping at the DNR office to eat my snack and rinse the sand off my water bottles. The sun peeked out for a minute as I turned for home but the fog and clouds stayed for the rest of my ride. The bike needed a wash and chain lube at home. I was well covered in grit as well and will be looking at fenders to reduce the flying grit.

I'm sure trail rides will not become a frequent occurrence but having the option nearby is nice. Paved with more hills would be ideal, a couple hundred mile trail network and I might give up road rides.