Sunrise 9: Alms Park (Barge Races, Earth Day, Downtown Cincy)
It’s official, I’m addicted. I had every reason to sleep in this morning. I was up late and didn’t have any morning plans. I didn’t even set an alarm. But when the birds started chirping at 6:18am this morning, I awoke from my slumber. I even tried to go back to sleep but it didn’t work. “Fine”, I thought to myself. Let’s go see if that cold front has broke yet.
I took the opportunity to switch it up a bit. I have been curious about whether Alms Park, which is the Yin to Ault Park’s Yang, is set up appropriately to see the sunrise. There is a western facing overlook that makes for a beautiful sunset, but I haven’t noticed any particularly eastern-facing points.
The central overlook in Alms Park looks right down into Lunken Airport and provides probably the best vantage point to seriously watch the planes land and take off from 250ft above the basin. I biked around the small loop in the park, and even went down into the off-the-normal-path reserved area where there is a small shelter. More after the jump
This is actually my favorite part of the park – it is always quiet and if there are people, they are usually reading or playing with their dog. There is actually a nice geocache right down by the round stone building, but I won’t tell you more about it 🙂
I made my way up to the main pavilion, peeking through the trees trying to find a spot to view the sunrise. I finally realized that the main overlook, the one looking down into Lunken, actually had a small clearing on the east side of the yard. As I approached it, I realized that in fact it provided an absolutely perfect view eastward. Needless to say, I was satisfied.
There was also a front moving in from the west, and pockets of mist and fog that were at eye level moving across the air field in front of me.
The barge was moving into the flow of the Ohio River and seemed to be making good time. As I watched it float towards the overlook, a thought came into my mind. What if I were to go down to the marina in time to see it float by? That would be kind of neat. Or wait, what if I *raced it* to downtown? How fast is it actually going? I’ve never actually biked to Downtown Cincinnati before but have been curious about how long it would take. Challenge Accepted.
I took off down the hill and bounced into East End. I took River Road all the way to downtown before popping over onto the newly constructed river side park. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the scenic river and 1950s-era deco municipal buildings scattered along the river side.
I’d like to think that this ended up costing me the race, but in reality the barge just had too big of an advantage with the current helping it out. You can see it along the bend of the river in the above picture.
I ended up facing the truth after a brisk 15 minute sprint, and enjoyed the sights around Sawyer Point. I made it all the way through sawyer point, past the Montgomery Inn Boathouse,
I sat down by the river and had my second cup of coffee. I took a few pictures of my bike and the new Great American Insurance Building that was just completed last year. You really can’t miss it in this part of downtown.
As I’m sitting at the river side, watching the early morning Earth Day festival being set up, I notice something down river coming under the John A. Roebling suspension bridge. It appears that the barge turned around and wanted a rematch! Ok it is probably a different boat (this one was from Texas, carrying Oil, the other one looked like it had raw materials on it). I figured that because the barge was moving up river, we could have a fair race back to the marina.
I filled my cup for a final time and waited for the Barge to break past the Purple People Eater bridge, and off I went. I took off up the river at a blazing pace, stopping only to check on the status of the barge behind me.
He’s on his way up the river from Texas?
In the end, I beat him to the marina with time to spare. And suddenly another crazy thought hit me. I wonder if I could make it back up to the Alms Park pavilion, where I started this journey, by the time he crosses the river below? Now that would be a challenge. While the road from downtown to the marina was flat and quick, to get to Alms Park I would have to go 250ft up in elevation over a mile and a half. I decided it was worth a try.
On the way up I was stopped by a construction worker who asked me about the bike route from downtown to here. That was a nice talk, but it delayed me a good 5 minutes. And on the way up the mountain, I hit a stick that got wedged in my dérailleur, which took me another 3 minutes to sort out.
By the time I got to the overlook the barge was probably a quarter mile up river. By my estimations he only beat me by about 5 or 6 minutes. I think it is definitely doable for next time, baring no breaks or hardware malfunctions!
On the way home I stopped by Oakley Cycles for a tune up (I was worried about my alignment after the spill on Sunday, and I’m sure that stick in the dérailleur wasn’t good). David took great care of the S10. She is now cleanly aligned, and even has a new tire on the back wheel (I had skidded at some point and wore down a patch in the rear tread). By the time I got home it was overcast and raining. I promptly passed out on the couch and took an afternoon cat nap.