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

Saturday, July 12, 2008

17 years in the making

The first enjoyable thing I noticed today was the loud sound of cicadas as I pedaled through a heavily treed section of road. I thought how great it was that some bugs began preparations many years ago for my riding pleasure today! The first thing I noticed on the ride today was less enjoyable. Both the temperature and the humidity were around the 90 mark.

This past week has been a strain at work. You know how it is, things that should not bother you do, because you're already rubbed raw. The cycling analogy is when you get so tired that a little zephyr screams like a gale in your ears and the up slope to a traffic signal burns your legs like the Col du Vent. No Club Lite ride was posted for today. The idea of a long car drive across town to do a quicker pace line did not appeal to me, and so I turned over and went back to sleep when my alarm sounded. I got up an hour later, and enjoyed some coffee. THEN I went out intending to do 50 ish miles in and around Prattville, at a pleasant, but not too tough pace.

The news about Tony Snow was sad. He died from colon cancer today, just a week after my cousin Gary did. Tony's mother died of it too, as did Gary's Aunt (my grandmother) I suppose that puts my work stuff into perspective. I think Gary's memorial service is today, up in Manitowoc WI. His sister will tell me about it later. I wanted to ride solo today. No wisecracks about being slow, or riding steel, or wearing wool. I'm slow because my engine is slow, not because I don't ride a lot, or sweat a ton, or get into the fine details of bikes and bike riding. My heart-lung machine just doesn't put out like some other people's. When I ride alone, I don;t worry that I am holding someone back either. Its also a great time to work through issues and cleanse my system of both angst and adrenaline. I wanted to stop and take pictures today too.

I wore the nice red jersey that Cecil gave me, and the humidity soaked it. It hung on me and rubbed my nipples raw. I should have worn a base layer, or just gone with a wool jersey. The wool Ibex shorts (new with tags but discounted a lot, courtesy of eBay) were superb. I had JUST cleaned my bikes and re lubed the chains last weekend. This fact will bear later on in the story.
Fixed and moveable artHere we are on a downtown side street. I call this picture, "Fixed and Movable Art" It's the local art society with a piece imported from Walnut Creek, CA in the foreground. The pictures below are from Main St. It really is a lovely little town. You can read more about the pictures if you care to at the Flickr Album (Fullylugged's photostream, of course)

Then I went for a loop south of town and took some pictures:

The sign had a message that certainly made sense to me!! As you can see, Prattville is in the very beginnings of the Appalachian Piedmont, rising in red clay hills above nearby Montgomery which sits down on a plain of yellow prairie soil. There are no tall hills here, but you go up and down a lot. I was chased by a couple of dachshunds at various times. Those battery operated size pooches are no trouble. I encourage them to run faster. It's the pit bulls and rottweilers that I like to see inside fences. They can easily run at 24 mph for quite a while, and deliver a nasty bite. It was a pit bull that got in front of me and caused my wreck in 12/06. I took the loop through Indian Hills. It has no tribally organized native Americans any more, but the hills are still there.

Coming down back towards town is the local landmark known as "Hell House."

The owner has passed away, but the family left the display up. The seminary students reading this (yeah, right!) can dicker on the fine points of his theology, but the display is an attention getter. Soon I was back down town, and took the pictures at the top of the page. I pulled around to my favorite locally eatery and came on a group leaving the place and chatting about Tony Snow. I chimed in and one of their number offered to work as a cameraman taking the two pictures below.

It's obvious that I am too well acquainted with Marchelle's wonderful baked goods, and mornay sauce entrees.

At this point, I was ready to saddle up and head up on the north side of town for another loop. The clouds were getting dark, despite a forecast of AFTERNOON showers, and my chest was getting pretty well abraded, so I opted to pedal on home. Good thing. About a half mile closer to home that LAST TIME, the heavens unzipped and the water dumped out. I mean 2" of rain fell straight down faster than a Brit can say "Bob's your uncle." I was really glad that my wallet and camera were in the water proof saddle bag, that there was no lightning, and that I was close to home. I also prayed that passing cars would not drench me with water, standing deeply in the streets. I was already plenty wet, no problem there, but you can't see when you're getting a wheel spray of water from a Caddilac Escalade. Providentially, the only water splashed on me was that made by my own wheels. Wool socks in Tevas shed water easily, and wool bike shorts are also no trouble when wet. One of these days, I'll get a whole ride in, but truth be told, we need the rain, more than I need the miles. I could do with less dessert at Marcelle's though. And of course, the bike needs to be cleaned and lubed once again...

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