My favorite ride

Ah, the first serious bike ride of spring!

(Och, my legs are tired!)

Bugman and I did my favorite ride today – south from Scottsbluff on Highway 71 to the Wildcat Hills Nature Center and back.

ride to Wildcat HillsIt’s a 30-mile ride with 1,200 feet of climb – a challenge, but not too bad, and it doesn’t take too long. It almost seemed like cheating today, with a north wind of 15 mph (gusting to 25) helping to push us up the hill.

I love this ride because the road is nice and wide (four lanes, divided, two in each direction) with decent shoulders and little traffic.

I also love this ride because it’s a great training ride.

Come to think of it, this would be a great place for flatlanders to come train for mountainous bike rides further west (like Cycle Greater Yellowstone). We’re at 4,000 feet elevation here, and between the Wildcat Hills and Scotts Bluff National Monument, there’s plenty of vertical challenge.

Western Nebraska: more than just flyover country.

Western Nebraska: more than just flyover country.

Also, I love the scenery on this ride.

You get nice views of Scotts Bluff National Monument and Mitchell Pass on the other side of town.

You get nice views of Scotts Bluff National Monument and Mitchell Pass on the other side of town.

And the Wildcat Hills themselves are gorgeous. This meadow is where Bugman has previously seen the resident herd of bighorn sheep.

And the Wildcat Hills themselves are gorgeous. This pasture is where Bugman has previously seen the resident herd of bighorn sheep.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but I saw something else lovely today, as we were speeding downhill towards home. (I don’t tend to take pictures when we are speeding downhill. I tend to keep a death grip on the handlebars.)

My eye caught some movement up on one of the bluffs.

Bighorn sheep?

No, shadows. Bird shadows. Three of them.

I looked up, expecting to see turkey vultures, but instead there were three white-bellied hawks hovering and whirling on the eddy of air forced over the blufftop by the wind.

It made my soul happy.

Yes, today was a good ride.

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

2 thoughts on “My favorite ride

  1. Pingback: Cyclist alert: summer 2015 Wildcat Hills Highway 71 construction | Wyobraska Tandem

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