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?

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