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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Long North Hills Ride

The pictures above are not exactly in order, but they're pretty close and they help tell most of the story of today's ride. The 2 Prattville Rides after work this week felt great and so I was up for a longer ride today, in hills. Frank was the only taker, and we met at Village Green Park at 7:30 to shove off. Yesterday afternoon was tough at work, and I was stewing all evening. I did not sleep long enough and had no appetite for dinner last night, nor breakfast this morning. I went riding anyway, because it usually makes me feel better. There was a new guy passing by on a Trek, and he pulled in to say hi. Not a club member, but maybe he will be. It's always good to meet new riders.

We headed out along Coosada River Rd, and passed this nice little fishing hole. The locals can usually be seen there, throwing in a line to catch some fish with which to augment a meal. It's a lovely area, but not a well-to-do one. Lots of shade on that section of the ride, and the picture from behind Frank is pretty typical of the rollers and the trees we encounter.

I was starting to feel hungry, so we stopped at the Elmore Store and I bought 2 breakfast bars. Ate one and tucked the other into an outside pocket of the Acorn Saddlebag for later. This is a large bag and really well made, but it hung too low on my bike since (with short height) the saddle is not very high. This week I hit a web clearance sale and got a lovely Nitto bag lifter. Nitto is the classiest component maker out there. They don't just make it, they make it good and beautiful. This morning was the test ride of the new lifter and it worked great. The Acorn bags are made by a guy and his wife and have been wildly successful. There is a waiting list to get one, and yet they keep the prices fair. They are cyclists, making things for other cyclists. Mine holds everything I need for a self supported long ride.

After the Elmore Store, we headed up Ceasarville Rd, past the prison complex. A large hawk flew with us for a while, and its picture is above. Not a Red Tail, not a Broad Shoulder. I'll have to find our Audubon book to verify the species. When we pass the concertina wire fences, I always think about our former cycling buddy, Russell. He's in there for 23 years for killing his wife. I rode with him many times and never had an inkling. When the trial came up, his plea was guilty.

We stopped again at "The Boy's Store" in Slapout. Yes, that is the name of a town. It is "slap out in the middle of nowhere," as the locals are fond of saying. This time I had a banana and and got a no sugar fitness drink. I waved to an unknown cyclist across the highway and he pedaled over. Frank knew him. His name is Jim, and he works at the Air Force base in town. He was on a snazzola Colnago. He probably looked at my lugged old school steel frame, big duffel bag on a rack, Teva sandals, and baggy shorts, and rolled his eyes.

From the Boy's Store, we went over Lake Jordan. It was very pretty and 2 pictures above show some of the homes on the lake, and a guy who had a different plan than we did for his Saturday morning. Hope they were biting!

Deatsville Highway has fresh black top and a nice shoulder strip for a bike to ride on, so the long climb to Marbury was smooth. It's almost all uphill, but the grade is not steep for the most part. The ride starts at about elev 135', goes to 685' and then up and down a LOT in between. On the way to Marbury, we spotted a "castle" tower so "Sir Rambouillet" posed for a picture there. It's by the guy's front gate and next to his fields. Is he keeping religious missionaries at bay? A brick deer stand is another possibility.

We passed many farms today and the hay bales in the picture of a field are typical.

At Marbury, we stopped at The Pit Stop. Even Louise needed a break. The Pit Stop is owned by (and I kid you not) "Bubba." Mrs. "Bubba" runs the register. She also let us know that the out of order sign on the bathroom did not apply to us (once we had made some purchases) but only to "certain people." (I assume she means drunks and other "problem children") Bubba was VERY recognizable. Close cropped hair, almost shaved bald, a very large and powerful looking man, he drives a diesel tow truck with twin stack exhausts. The driver side door is missing. When he toots the horn, it plays the jingle that the Duke brothers of Hazzard County had for Rebel." Yes, you are out IN the country when you are at Bubba's! His place was the 1/2 way pointof our ride and so we had a longer break there. Mrs. Bubba was cery solicitous as tour welfare, and impressed with our distance ridden.

We cruised on down CR 20 to the old county seat of Old Kingston. Not much there anymore. I took a picture from the ridge above town, looking across Autauga County. The Sunlight was pretty on the far ridge, but I didn't capture it on the picture. At Old Kingston we turned toward Posey Crossroads and finally had a tail wind. We'd been fighting hills and wind for the 1st 45 miles or so.

At Poseys' I bought more fitness drink, but they have nothing edible, so the extra breakfast bar came out of the bag and into use. We sat and rested there a while. The Sun was hot by now and I was not strong on the hills. I made it up all of them, but took a couple of extra breaks under shady trees en route, when I felt overheated. This was our last store stop so we set out with full water for the final 20 ish miles to pedal.

I'd forgotten about the hills on CR 40, once you get past Lower Kingston Rd. Man, they kicked my butt. It was wonderful to cross the interstate and know that we would soon make the turn for home. Of course, 2 of the biggest climbs of the ride were ahead of us. The 12% climb on Alpha Springs and the 5% and 10% (it has stages) of CR 39. I confess, I put Louise in her granny gear and just kept a cadence I could climb in the Sun and heat with. I assure you, we were quicker going DOWN the hills :)

We finally rolled back into the parking lot at about 1:45. I show 5 hr, 11 mins of pedal time for 69.5 miles. So we had about an hour and a half +/- of beaks as well. I'm very okay with that. Frank's new Garmin says we climbed somewhat more than 2,000' I felt EVERY foot of that.

I was hot and tired, but never in a rush for the ride to be over. I love to ride. Anyone know the feeling?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You just never know.

It's been a grind at work lately. Some issues on a job site project that resist (so far) attempts at resolution. Sales in 2008 have been slow for most people in our industry, and we are no exception to that. (I should add that a great deal of work is committed to us by several customers, so when that dam breaks, it will be like drinking from a fire hose) Then there's the usual mix of odd quirks and ruffled feathers that can make an office edgy in any circumstance.

All the above has raised my adrenalin level and I knew that a ride was needed to unwind tonight. I was thinking of blowing it off though and just sitting around stewing, but that little voice said I always feel better once I get out and pedal. There were no postings about club hill rides today and no one mentioned the absence. No one that is except Frank. Frank and I started riding together a year or two ago, and he has rapidly outclassed me. He commutes 4 days a week doing a 50 ish mile round trip. He rides a fat tire bike with fenders, an upright sitting position and several tons of gear on it. At 22 - 24 mph. When I say Frank is a strong rider, I do not exaggerate. We like many of the same things and his company is always a treat. I love his email addy: FranktheCrank. Anyway, Frank emailed me today and said he'd been out of town, how about a ride. I begged off, "You know, I just want to cruise easy tonight, but thanks." Oh no, that was not going to happen. Frank wrote me back, "I'll just get behind you and let you set the pace. Where do we meet?" Did I really want the pressure of a good rider in company? I felt bad enough last week when I slowed Mike and Karen down to a relative crawl on our Prattville Loop.

Sometimes, things just happen Providentially. Tonight I set off in the lead on the Saluki and we ran at 16 - 18 for about 10 miles. That's pretty quick for that bike. We slowed when we climbed and we rested at the Trackside Cafe. ( While there, we got an explanation of why one of the workers had to go home and get leashes for the dogs penned up behind the adjacent general store. I suppose she just wanted us to know about her evening. We were total strangers.) Frank managed to get in front of me and take some pulls when I got tired and we kept our pace up on the flats pretty well. We finally discussed the end of the route and I said, "why don't we throw in a little hill, maybe Rocky Mount?" It's short and it's steep and you get to it after a mile of gradual climb that you get to after 1 1/2 miles of tougher climb, coming up out of Millbrook. Frank looked at me with a raised eyebrow, "Casual easy ride, did you say?" Bear in mind that he already had over 30 commuting miles in before meeting me for this joyride. Anyway, great sport that he is, we headed off together and did the climbing and then the reward: a 24 mph descent back to Wal-Mart.

I felt refreshed and cleansed in the way that only vigorous work makes one feel. The conversation was great, and ride effortless while at the same time tons of work. I had no idea it would be so very very excellent, but it was.

You just never know.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ride to the Ramer Store

Today was a "Club Lite" excursion from Pintlala Baptist Church down to the Ramer Store. We go there often, and by several routes, depending on how far we want to ride on any given day. Almost all the options take you past "The Day Lily House" and "The Blue House" so this installment of the photo journal has pictures of all those for all 3 of my viewers. Maybe there are 4 of you, who knows? :)

I got in between 250 and 300 miles last week, while off from work, so a lighter weekend sounds good to me. There were a number of folks in the parking lot this morning who wanted to go fast and far and they had a grand ride by all accounts. Dr. Buckner, our past club president, looked natty in a club jersey that about matched the paint scheme on his bike. He, Bilee, Dan and Vanessa, Robert and new guy David took off at a rapid clip. Wendell was the conductor of the Lite train today, and we also had Louise (on very hot new wheels. Fully Lugged Bianchi 928 nano-tech. More on that later) Jeff (on a bike with no wavy chainstays! Where's the Hetchins? I wanted to see you operate that suicide shifter! For everyone else: like Harley Davidsons of old, to shift the front gears, you reach down on that Hetchins and use a lever to move the front dérailleur. ) Trevor, Jack, Ann, and Kathy. They are in the picture of "the usual suspects," above. Michelle and Tom showed up at the end. Arriving late, they plotted their own 30 mile course and caught up with us. Good to see them anyway.

Both crews were headed to the store, but one got there way ahead of the other. When we got to the store, Cedric was there, having been warned of our approach by the others. At least they didn't leave any unpaid bills for us to catch the tab on. The Ramer store is a small grocery and they let us use the employee bathroom behind the butcher area. There are usually bananas and sports drinks available for sale and the A/C works. The indoor plumbing makes it popular with the ladies. Cedric has been running this store forever, and his father, a state legislator way back when, ran it before that, if I understand correctly. Pictures of the store and the proprietor are above.

While we were having a cool drink and our snack at the store, I noticed Louise had a new looking bike. This is a very deluxe bike by the way. As in, "Should I buy a small car or a bike for this amount?" Louise is a very dear lady and as genteel and Southern as they come. She proceeded to explain that she went to the bike shop just to get a flat fixed on her old bike, and the deal they offered her was just so good, she had to say "yes." This is apparently how Louise got the bike she had prior to this one, but which she traded in on the new model. Jack, Jeff and I got into a bidding war to fix Louise's flats. We ALL told her that we could do it for at least $500 less than the cost of that new bike. $700 less! $1,000 less! And so on.

We had some nice shady lanes to ride in but the humidity was omnipresent today. At one point I was dripping from the brim of my hat (cycling cap under the helmet) like a car drips water when the air conditioner is running. The breeze was mostly pleasant, but the final pull was into a stiffer wind that I could have done with out. Wendell asked to ride about 30 miles and the course was 32 ish. I got a few more miles in by coming back down the hill before you get to E. Hickory Grove
and climbing it again. we were going slow enough that I didn't mind the extra hill. It's funny how wind is so more a pain to me than hills are. It's all in my head, I know.

Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ride of Silence

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight to this inaugural Montgomery ride. It looked like it went off very well. I found myself thinking about all the cyclists who have been hurt or have died, both in vehicle related incidents and otherwise. A little introspection is not a bad thing, and these people are all worth remembering. I particularly miss my friend Mike Lewis. I enjoyed his cycling company greatly. We lost Mike to leukemia this past year. As to the event at hand which focuses on vehicle deaths, we had some introductory comments by club president Frank Burnett, and then an excellent invocation by Cycle Escape team member Byron Scott.

For our 1st time out, I think things went really well. We have a better feel of it now and can make any adjustments for future editions that may seem suitable. I was pleased to shake hands with several riders who before had only been names in emails, or referred to in awe in conversations. You guys are all pretty cool.

The variety of bikes and riders was wonderful. i saw some very spiffy knickers as well as a vintage Gilles Berthoud bike. I HEARD the vintage brake shoes on said Berthoud at every stop. The riders did a great job at maintaining the silence, and there was only one crash that I know of. Our teen phenom forgot this was a road ride and not an attack on Swayback, and keeled right over trying to bunny hop something or other.

Thanks to the Cool Beans. I left with a fresh cup of REAL coffee. Oh, if only there were some fresh bagels too. Never fear, I will be back for some of those. Fresh bagels in Alabama? Who'd a thunk it?

Cameras from some media outlet were present for the ride. I'll post links if any stories show up in print or on line.

5/21/8: Two pictures taken by a rider are added. One, as we loop around the Capitol Building, and the other, looking back over some of the riders. Taken right around the Dexter Ave Baptist Church, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was the pastor for a number of years, before he more famously went to Atlanta.

The Montgomery Advertiser has a nice color picture on page A3, and local TV 12 did a story this morning, here is a link to the newspaper gallery online.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kid One Ride at The Waters

For the 3rd year, local and out of town cyclists gathered at The Waters (an upscale, 1900s style Main St. USA themed development) in Pike Road. The mayor spoke and let us know that Pike Road is planning to build a 36 mile long mixed use rec trail! Very cool. There were 72 riders, which puts this event at about the same size as the Tour Autauga. It's a fund raiser for Kid One, which transports needy sick children to medical care. The route covers an area that gets regular use on club rides, so nothing new there. The rest stops are sparse when you need them, too close otherwise. (for the 62 mile ride, they are at 12, 43, and 54 miles) They work out better for the shorter distance riders, I think.

I broke out of the gate quicker than I wanted to and had to start out climbing those dang hills just to get out of the subdivision. I hate starting out a ride with a climb on cold leg muscles. But, what can you do? Also, despite the 2" of rain we got the other day, the folks at The Waters maintenance department irrigate heavily, so there were muddy puddles to ride through. Not expecting rain, my FENDERED bike was home in the garage. My now DIRTY unfendered bike needs a bath.

I spoke briefly in the first mile or two to Karen from Greenville. A tall, strong gal, and fast rider, I've seen her on charity rides around the state (MS 150, Tri-States 100, others?) for 3 years now. So today I asked her name. She said she would ride with me, but I just can't hang in there at 20 - 22 for very long. She's a Phys ed teacher. I can't hang with Julie in our club either. Another Phys Ed/ Coach type. Which reminds me, our club has a good number of fast riding gals as well as guys. It's quite impressive to see what some of these riders can do. After the dust settled, like at Rest stop #1, I hooked up with some regular Saturday friends. Bilee, Alice, Jim, Jack, John, and Cathy. We stayed pretty much together for quite a while. We certainly worked together to put Gary (who was working the rest stop) back in his place. He informed us that he was the MANAGER of the rest stop! And get this, he said it with a straight face. LOL! Hey, it was great to see him recovered from the motorcycle mishap and involved in the riding scene again.

We left the rest stop with full water bottles, realizing that there was a 30 mile haul to the next one. After crossing Hwy 82 going South, we had to lasso Bilee and Alice as they neared the Peake Rd. turn off. That way leads to Sikes and Kohn Shoes, and the ladies thought new shoes sounded really good. Alice had a plan to grab a bite after shoe shopping at Red's Schoolhouse Restaurant, and call for SAG afterwards. We kept their noses to the grindstone however, and their temptation passed. The road swings east soon afterward and you leave Montgomery County. When you hit Bullock County, there is an immediate change in the pavement. It is AWFUL. My steel frame and slightly larger tires soak up a lot of the road noise, but Alice was getting bounced around something fierce. She asked if all that jiggling would help her lose some cellulite. (No, I am not making that up, she really said it) I suppose it would work as well as the machines you see at spas. Which is, not at all.

When we got back to the intersection of CR 37 and US 82, 2 guys were coming the other way. They asked us if we knew where the course was. They had missed the 1st turn coming out and gone on a 27 mile ramble around the area, without being on the route once. (In their behalf, it should be noted that the street markings were almost impossible to find in key places) We called them "The Lost Boys." Bilee suggested that they come along with us to find the route and the remaining rest stops. They were young, and of course knew everything there is to know. "How far do we have going backwards on the course to find a rest stop?" "Hmm, about 30 miles." "We have a bottle of water, so we're good." Ahh, to be young and confident again. About that time Jack pulled up to our group and he looked more than a bit too fatigued. We forced him to SAG, against his preference, but you know, when any of us get over tired, we don't make the same quality of decision we might otherwise. No matter how good a rider you are, if you feel ill, get off the bike. It's better to SAG today and ride another day, than have a bad problem and not ride again. He looked better afterwards and I am glad he let us persuade him to SAG. I know I've had hot Summer days when I overheated and had to get OFF my bike right NOW. Sometimes it just happens.

The rest of the ride back was pretty uneventful. The winds picked up in our faces, but what's new about that? We got back and had our free hamburgers from the restaurant there and put our stuff away. All in all, it was a nice ride, and a good work out. Oh, and on my drive out, who should be coming up the road towards the end? You guessed it, The Lost Boys finally made it in.

Pictures above (in reverse order because I am a blog idiot) are:

The club members mentioned above who rode with me.

Me getting tired of going uphill all the time.

The sign post denoting Elders Ferry

My favorite home on Old Pike Rd. I would love to retire to a house like this.

An entrance to a house on Matthews Rd. Beautiful gardening.

And finally, Kids have fun at Kids One.

Tailwinds everyone!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


A couple of times now, I've thought about just picking a route someone left on and trying it, sight unseen. Greenville is a tiny community about an hour south off the interstate, and a rider down there has posted several routes, but not a note or comment on any of them. His/her screen name is "Hartatak" which makes me pause to consider just how difficult a route chosen by such a person might be. Well, today, I tried a route in a totally unfamiliar place, without a map (just written directions) but equipped to be self-sufficient. It would be an adventure on a small scale.

The map shows Shearling Lake Park nearby and that's where I left the car. I had 56 oz of water and a pair of GUs. Some of the roads looked like they might have a store, but I wasn't going to chance running out of water. Three 18 oz bottles will carry me 45 miles easily. More if they have to. Today I carried two maxi bottles. These hold 28 oz each.

I took the Saluki today, a randonneur type bike, and shod for the first time with new Grand Bois Cypres tires. It was a good choice. Three sides of the rectangle making up the route are hilly, coarse pavement as you go up and down the ridge, then along it a while, then up and down some more. The long wheelbase of the Saluki and the 32 mm rubber proved adept at erasing the vibrations from the road. Handling down the twisty descents was excellent as well. The climbs were slow going, and I had plenty of gears, so the weight of the bike and baggage made no difference.

I was a little disappointed that there was very little in scenic beauty to look at. Several dead towns, and I took a few pictures as I passed by. There were stately homes scattered throughout, but it was mostly woods, or mobile homes rusting in the woods.

It was a great workout, and I felt good about the challenge. Do I trust my legs to take me anywhere I need to go, even if I have no idea how the route is? I know the answer is yes. I held back for most of the ride to be sure there was a reserve of energy if needed, but it wasn't. I finished up by going down to the boat ramp in the park (past the sign that warned "Steep Grade") and climbing back up, standing on the pedals. (maybe a 20% grade?) After that, I was ready to pack it away. Final stats: 44.66 miles at 13.6 mph. Lots of climbing :)

Some pictures are above. First, there is the "ridge" that Ridge Rd. runs on. Not much of a clearing in the trees, but you can see across the valley to get a sense of the amount of rise. Next is one of those stately southern country homes that are scattered along many of my rural rides. Then a store which has been closed for years and is overgrown with weeds. I laughed to see that its name was "Luckies." a while later, I came upon an abandoned gas station and photographed my non fossil fuel burning vehicle in front of it. Finally, there is a neat looking old barn with its 1800s date marked. Many of the area churches had signs saying that they were founded in the 1850s - 1870s. That's about when some go-fast cyclists would estimate my bike was designed!.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday, Monday

Not much riding today, just a few spins around the neighborhood. I was a little down today. A very sweet lady from Sunday school lost her battle with brain cancer (actually, it was the chemo that shut her liver down, but the chemo was due to the cancer) and the funeral was today. The couple, probably in their mid 70s, were frequent pew neighbors, and she was possessed of a very fine singing voice. I can't carry a tune in a bucket, so I felt badly that she had to endure me, but it never seemed to faze her. The service was excellent. Her former pastor, now retired, from a church downtown, and our current pastor, both spoke and they were very different, but effective to the occasion. Her grandson played a remarkably evocative arrangement of "Amazing Grace" on his violin.
I finished a letter to a pen pal today and felt the satisfaction of using a "forever" postage stamp on the first day of the new, higher rates. When the mail lady took it, she left a parcel containing some new tires for the Saluki. I decided to put them on. It was good to do something like that with my hands. These are Grand Bois Cypres 650B x 32 tires. Lightweight folders, they went on easily and they look really good. These were obtained at a discount from the US importer of them so I could compare them to my other tires. I went for a few laps in the neighborhood and they roll very nicely. I'll see how they do over the next 1,000 miles or so. I am hopeful they are not flat prone. There will be a report after my next ride, which should be tomorrow. While out on the bike this afternoon, I passed Carmen who was out with Thing One and Thing Two (also known as her Labradors) and said she was still hurting from last week's spill. (when her chain came off going up a hill). I hope she gets 100% soon and rejoins us. Her bike is also getting the tune up so maybe its chain slinging days are over.

Oh, I checked the weather up in PA and DC. They have had 5" of rain since Saturday, thousands are without power. Not a good time for a 400 mile trip on dirt two track. Yes, I do trust Providence, and the weather here has been MUCH better.

I didn't get in a long ride today, but "some days it just works out that way."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

21 mph avg speed!

No, not the riders. The wind. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon, but the impending cool air was preceded by a strong blast from the west. Despite that, Trevor, Robert and Angela showed up at Village Green Park for a "beginner's ride." Angela is the actual beginner, but really rides better than she thinks she does. We did 16.2 miles at a hair off 14 mph avg. Definitely past the beginner stage now. Angela tried out my Rambouillet and looks good on it! Will Rivendell give me some commission if she buys one? She asked while we were riding, "what should I look for in a bike?" and the answer is the one I always give: "One that fits you and feels comfortable when you are on it, and fits your budget." We talked about frame materials, but honestly, bikes that feel good can be made in any material and at almost any price point. I prefer steel, but Robert is well pleased with his relatively inexpensive aluminum Dawes from Trevor has gotten long service from his aluminum Cannondale (though he says he rides less than he would like to)

We rode an out and back to the Elmore store and then chit chatted in the parking lot a while. Pictures above are of the riders, and hopefully the wind moving the bushes around.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Everyone Make It Back?

Today's ride seemed to morph from 3 distinct groups to irregular clumps of riders travelling different distances and speeds. One by one, all my supposed cohorts decided to go either faster (and hitched on the Bilee-Patty Express) or slower (and got on the Wendell Bus) than they had agreed to. In the end, I started out with Wendell and his 12 mph for 30 miles plan, but Tim and I did a breakaway as soon as we made the first turn at 4 miles. He had an 11 Am appt in P'Ville to be back for, and I wanted to get in more miles than the others were intending. The slow pace of this group would not let either of us make our goals happen.

Tim and I rode together as far as the Ramer Store, going further South and coming back north to get some miles. The Jack Russell terriers came out after us as usual. Well for me. New for Tim. "Someone should feed those things," he said. The store has not changed at all over the years. You still walk through the butcher dept to get to the very old style bathroom. In the "produce" dept, there were only 6 bananas out, all looked good, and 5 more than I needed, but you get some idea of the place. I only eat bananas when I ride, but they really help then. We parted company 5 miles north of the store when Tim turned West on CR 24 to find his car(some 10 miles ahead), and I kept North on Hobie Rd to the Snodoun store. Tim and I were leaving Ramer just as the fast folks were pulling in. we exchanged pleasantries, but did not linger. I was soaked in sweat from the humidity, and it was worse when I stopped. At least moving air meant some drying of my clothes. I stopped again at the Snodoun Store, and got more zero Powerade and a vanilla yogurt bar. Coming South on Butler Mill from Snodoun, I started to see the fasties again. First fully lugged Dan on his red Waterford Precision Cycle, then Bill, and finally Bilee, who shouted something that I could not hear. Probably, something like, "You look pooped!" Which was accurate, as I had been pulling solo into the wind for 12 miles, while they had the tailwind, and were pace lining. Hey, I may be slow, but I come by it honestly! Anyone can go faster if they sit in a draft all the time. I know, I've done it too. :)

I ended up just a tad shy of 50 miles and ran 14.4 mph avg, which is in the advertised range of 13 - 15. I didn't like the humidity much, but the Kucharik wool jersey worked great. No stink! That alone makes it worth wearing. (Wool as a rule doesn't stink until after several wearings, which is when you wash it. Otherwise, just hang to dry and brush off the salt.) Today was also a trial run for the Panaracer Maxy-Fasty tires I got a deal on through a bike email list. They are the same size (34mm nominal, 32.8 actual) as my Nifty-Swifties, but folders and lighter by 2.5 oz per tire. I ran them at full 75 psi inflation and they were very comfortable. No flats either. I was tried after this ride, but it was a good kind of tired. Some left overs warmed up for lunch, a bit of a rest, and I'll be ready to go again tomorrow.

I'm around this week (long story, but I was supposed to be in PA.) so daytime rides are possible. Feel free to email me if you are so inclined and want company. I'd like to do some routes I never get to.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Unchained Melody?

It was a fine evening for a ride, and I even sang as I rode for a while. This may explain why I was riding alone for much of the evening. The Righteous Brothers of course, but some Bon Jovi (Living on a Prayer), John Stewart (anyone recall his biggest hit?) Jay and The Americans, and maybe some others. What prompted this tuneful ramble through the county? New guy Joseph dropped his chain twice while trying to leave the parking lot at The Pasta Mill! He is new to Maxwell and read about our rides. Joseph roared into the parking lot as we were ready to roll at 6, but we were happy to wait for him to take his bike, completely in pieces, out of his trunk and do a reassembly. While he was engaged in that, we three wagered. "Air Force?" Probably. "Enlisted or Officer?" We guessed, "Newly minted 2LT." We got one right, one wrong.

So we cruise on out and then up Gin Shop Hill. Then Caramia Carmen did the chain suck thing as her dérailleur moved too far inboard part way up the hill. It happened again as she turned off of Wadsworth Loop and climbed up CR 51. Hey Mark, how long is the wait for a tune up at your shop? We need her back for the Club Lite ride on Saturday.

There was some murmuring tonight which totally shocked me. Dark hints that I somehow understated the climbing, or length of rides, when trying to persuade people to come out. I am shocked, shocked that anyone would say that about moi! After all, I am trained in Bilee Miles!!

Robert and Joseph were running a complementary vibe tonight. One had the jersey, the other the shorts, both with Gold's Gym on the logo. Robert came straight in from a 400 mile drive home after an out of town visit, and managed to make the ride. What's everyone else's excuse for not showing? Huh?

After the second of the four hills, I thought the Bon Jovi tune was very apropos. (the line about being 1/2 way there.) It caused Carmen to kick in an extra gear to get away from me anyway.

It was a nice evening to be riding. No real troubles with vehicles or mutts. Just bikes tonight.

Some pictures are included and the file names are pretty self explanatory.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Stroll

Today was the third in a row for club beginner rides, and once again, attendance was high. It's so encouraging to have new people coming out and riding, and also to see regulars coming out to keep them company. We did one lap of 15.3 miles at 10.2 mph and a couple of folks still had to work hard as they climbed the rollers. No problem. Everyone finished and they will continue to improve if they stay at it. I stayed towards the rear, and by the time I made it to the cars, a couple of faster beginners had gone on for a few more miles with Ann, back finally on a bike after her surgery time off. It was so good to see you there! Young Master Goodwyn accompanied his beaming parents. Aside from discovering why we don't wear cotton undershorts on a bike ride, I think he did well. Son and Dad were resplendent in matched TREK helmets. Angela is ready for prime time on her road bike. A loaner from Cycle Escape, it was a very classic Miyata FULLY LUGGED steel frame beauty. In Blue and White even. :) My around the corner neighbor, Carmen, joined us for the 1st time and she is also ready to go prime time.

Another go at ride pictures! We have Peggy leading a team up a roller. She came early and ran, then rode, then ran again. Can we say "training" anyone? Then there is new friend Carmen cruising in the big ring up the hill past the Matthews Post Office. The pretty white house (can you call something that size a "house?" reminded me of a 70s TV show. It's typical of what we ride past in many areas of the outlying county. Finally, a view of the beginners as we started out on the trip. Everyone looked happy then, and again at the end. Not everyone was so happy in the wind or up the hills. Why is that, I wonder?

A group of us turned in a second lap. Where the first one consumed an hour and a half, it was only 50 minutes the second time, which means we were cruising over 18 mph. I must have put new batteries in my tires, because that's way too fast for me. I don't know though. On the second pass up the little roller to the post office, I broke away at about 24 mph uphill, so maybe there was some zing in my legs today. I also hit 30 on a flat spin for about 1/2 a mile. again, pretty darn quick. I just had to pull ahead of Richard and Alice!! :)

Hope to see some zing on Tuesday, that's for sure.

Tailwinds everybody!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Wal-Mart Ride

Tonight we were back at that Bentonville-based shopping Mecca, Wal-Mart. To aid in traffic management (so I wouldn't have a funeral cortège following me up that 1st awful hill), we ran the route counter clockwise tonight. Definitely MY favorite way to go. You have a longer, more gradual climb to the apex of the loop, although there are two climbs of 12% and 13% grade, which are steeper than going in the other direction. At least when I get to the hills, my muscles have warmed up and I enjoy the effort. Only two of us tonight, Austin and me. We rode together except on the climbs. Austin is a college kid, weighs nothing and never tires. Btw, he just was offered a full ride academic scholarship, so kudos to Austin.

This ride starts out in a congested part of town, but there was plenty of shoulder to ride on. It quickly turns into a rural, lightly traveled road, and the scenery is good. An early dad's day gift was a small camera, and here are a few shots from the ride!

First, the Ramboulliet, ready to ramble. The next picture is a typical field we pass by on every ride. This was shot at about 18 mph. Then there is a shot taken of Austin in his club jersey. I told him this is his best side. Finally, a "panda" (I have no idea why they call it that) of my handlebars showing about 5 mph. This is becuase I am pedaling up the 13% grade and trying to manipulate a new camera. Notice the "beausage" of the bar tape (we used to call it looking "broken in") and the elastic band on the handlebar. That's a parking brake.

Err, the pictures were uploaded in the order written about, but they self arranged differently. I have confidence in my readership to work out the details.

The data: 19.6 miles in 1 hr 14 mins and 1,151' of climbing. temp was 82F and the wind was out of the south at 17 mph.

I'll be in town for a club ride this weekend, and am looking forward to seeing some people for the 1st time in a while.


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