Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Prattville Loop

Between April and September, while the daylight is long enough to permit after work rides, we rotate 4 routes in and around Prattville on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Weds is Club Time Trials night, and Mon and Fri are not scheduled. This is the 3rd or 4th year that I've led these rides. I used to do them myself and just started inviting others to come along. It's become something we do each year, and that's good. The routes are all hillier than an average club ride, which is the point. It's also why many flat landers do not come out. Hill climbing uses different muscles than spinning on the flats, and yes, there is even a proper technique to employ for efficient climbing. I've gone from hating hills, and the burning quads they bring, to searching for hills to try. My legs still hurt, and I hate it when I run out of gas on a climb, but I'm better than I used to be and I don't duck a hill if it's on the route. Like lots of things, the way to get better at hills, is to climb a lot of hills.

There were only three of us tonight, but we had a great ride. I tell you, we'll wish we still had this cooler air to ride in, very soon. It was about 65 at the start with a wind of 8 - 10. I had wool base layers top and bottom and a snazzy Rivendell (by Woolistic) jersey. MTB shorts from Performance obtained for $9.99 via eBay. I felt fine on the first 1/2 but cold on the second, having no sleeves or leg warmers. Paul Fournel writes, "sometimes it's good to be cold on a bike" and I agree with him. The cold tonight sharpened my appreciation of everything. The sound of the chain on the gears, gravel as the conti gatorskins ran over it, my own breath.

Austin, John and I did the loop around town for the first time since our pal Phil took a tumble a couple of weeks ago. We missed you buddy. Thought about you as we pedaled past your house. Didn't see you out on the lawn anywhere though. Cycling is always educational. I learned something new tonight, even. I always "tip my hat" to cars that left me pass. John informs me that the gesture implies an "empty head" on the part of the driver. I'm not sure I agree. Or, there are a lot of drivers in the tri county area who don't care much for me. One driver did not care much for John and was jawing at him, when the load he failed to secure on his truck spilled out on the roadway. We just kept pedaling. He had to stop of course. Yes, there is justice sometimes.

I'll post a ride description for all the routes we run, for blog readers who may not have seen club posts in the past.

This ride is 20 - 23 miles (depending on options) with 5 climbs, totaling only about 1,100' but they are fairly steep. We go through neighborhoods, an industrial area, downtown and past the High School. We pass the municipal pool and the library. It's pretty much all of Prattville in an hour and a half. Tonight I rode 23.5.

Notes for people not on the club list who may want to ride:

Thursday night: Millbrook Wal-Mart. (AL 14 just east of I-65) To avoid the issue of traffic back ups, caused by yours truly laboring slowly up CR 009 immediately as we leave the parking lot, we can run the route in reverse. that way, we'll be speeding DOWN said hill. As always, be ready to roll at 6:00 PM.

A request was received for another beginner ride this Sunday. I'm up for it, if there is interest. Please let me know. 2:30 has worked well for me schedule wise. We have done rides of 10 and 15 miles. Some of you beginners should also be thinking about coming out on a Club Lite ride. These are no-drop (we don't leave anyone behind) and lots of fun. Watch for a Club Lite post later in the week (usually by Thursday).


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