There was quite a turn out at Pintlala for the un-official club ride. July's official rides are actually at Emerald Mountain bridge. The bulk of the riders who came here today went out on a 50 mile Lowndesboro loop at rapid pace. Today we had a visiting Cat 2 rider, and I assume that he helped keep things moving along. "Kid Missle" (Chad) was there too, on his major wow factor brand spanking new Cervelo bicycle. Some teens want a car, Chad wanted what Team CSC wins on. Go Chad! Looks like Sastre will wear yellow in Paris on a Cervelo tomorrow in fact. Here are a acouple of pics of folks getting ready to scoot. I must be one the few who gets their bike and gear ready the night before a ride. I saw plenty of tire pumping, saddle adjusting and even some aero bar removing going on in the parking lot.
Anyway, after everyone had finished whatever prep work they do, the gang took off on their ride.
Here is a picture of the faster group heading out. A couple of good riders and nice bikes in this photo.
Jeff, Tim and I headed out on more of a tour than a training ride. This was Jeff's 1st ride in a while. His son was assaulted and shot during a robbery attempt and was severely injured. Jeff and his wife Meesoon have been spending lots of time on care for their son as you might imagine. It was good to know that things had improved to the point that a ride was possible. Hopefully, his son's recovery will be complete and soon.
We intended to do "Alice's Backwards Ramer Metric". The inimitable Alice crafted this route a couple of years ago and it works nicely. The club Metric has no store stops (there are rest stops on the annual century event) so this route allows 3 store stops more or less evenly spaced, and a hose spigot at the Mt. Carmel Church parking lot as well. Most of the climbing comes in the 1st half of the ride, when riders are fresher in the legs as well. Our ride today resembled nothing so much as a "Slinky" toy. I am the quickest up hills, The other two are way faster going down the hills. Jeff and I are about equal on the flats, while Tim can crank it up. We were continullay alternating the lead. Stops at the turns made sure we all stayed in touch. Jeff had planned on 30 ish miles and so he left us at Butler Mill Rd and headed back up to the cars. Tim and I pushed on to Ramer, where Cedric regaled us with some local history. It seems that the old capitol building dome was shipped from Cahaba to a church in Lowndesboro. Tim knew about the church in fact. Speaking of churches, Tim pointed this one out to me and I stopped to snap a picture. Maybe Moses had a cousin who got the directions wrong and missed the Mt. Sinai exit? Tim's wife has written a book about intersting things you can see in Alabama. The house with all the crosses (see a prior post for pictures) is in her book, "Alabama Troubador" which I'll have to get and read now of course. Tim is also an author and I threatened to read his books as well (since he is a history professor, the books are on stuff like the Mexican Revolution. Viva Speedy Gonzales!!) He did say that they are not just written for academics!
After we left Ramer, the sky started to cloud up and guess what? A HEADWIND came up. Oh joy. By this time I had emptied two water bottles, and (2) 32 oz bottles of light sugar fitness water from our 2 store stops. ALL of it was sweated out all over me. I was soaked, my gloves and handlebar tape were wet, my over shorts were wet as was my saddle. The straw that did it was when the sun block, applied to my face (supposedly waterproof) started to get in my eyes. I just couldn't see a thing unless I constantly wiped them. Fortunately, my legs kept going of their own accord. You have to cycle to know how it is. Your legs go on auto pilot. At least I had over shorts though. Tim's lycra racer pants opened up a LARGE hole, with thread streamers trailing in the breeze behind him. "Tim do you know your shorts may not make it?" "Yeah," he replied, "I need to order a new pair. I only have the one." Yeah. Good idea there. And yes, I snapped a picture of it and of course
We decided that the build up of clouds warranted a detour, and we hacked 10 miles off the total route. It was still a tough workout anyway. Tim was sailing along at 20 on the flats after descending from Ramer and I stayed with him for 12 - 15 miles, but that was TOO fast for me. I paid the price for running my muscles out of fuel. I had to ease up and only began to recover about the time we hit the parking lot at the end. All in all, it was good to be out on a ride and parts of it were great. Total mileage was a hair over 54 and our pace average was 14.3 (13 - 15 was the advertised range) so it ended up fine. The rain has already come, so the weather observation was accurate. More miles tomorrow, we hope!