Today, though -- ah, today! Positively bracing by comparison! A day for high adventure, new achievements, and delight. So I headed north. The gravel portion of Wheats Valley Road was annoying, but not odious. And, for the first time, I crested Kennedy Ridge while still in the saddle. Sharp Top appeared in the gap between the trees at the top of the ridge, and an expansive vista opened up after. Managing the gravel road downhill takes up most of your attention, though.
Apparently, Kennedy Ridge is the high point (but not the highlight) of the trip. Wheats Valley Road was mostly downhill from that point, and once I got to the paved portion, highest gear was called for. This mostly held true on Jopling Mill Road as well. Well, there was ONE short steep ascent that nearly turned me into a pedestrian. The Big Island Highway encouraged speed -- except for two times when I pulled off and parked to let the big trucks go by.
Apparently, taking a loop in the opposite direction can make a real difference between exhaustion and exhileration.
My BPM was in the peak zone for 98 of the 105 minutes of the ride.