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

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day!

It's great to live in a free country. No matter which policies over the years I have agreed with and voted for, or marched in protest of, I am unabashedly proud of and thankful to all those who have given their time, talent, treasure, or even their lives, so that we who live here do so as a free people. In a lighter vein, among other things, today I am free from work, and so I pointed the front wheel of the Rambouillet down the highway. With gas prices so high, no one wants to come up from Montgomery these days, and besides which, there is a limited pool of riders who actually LIKE our hills. I decided to go whole hog and save gas myself, and rode over and back to the ride start, turning a 44 mile hill climb into a 60 mile one. Frank, as always, had 60 miles in before the sun came up. He was wearing his usual sausage casing today (a yellow Under Armour long sleeve shirt). It looks odd, but that stuff is excellent for temperature and moisture management. Hence its popularity with athletes under their uniforms. With the TdF starting tomorrow, yellow is a good color to have on.

When I left the house at 6:45, it was cool and the air calm, and I gradually warmed up my legs on the cross town leg of the ride. It was delightful. It was still nice when Frank and I set out on the main portion of the route at 7:30. By 9:30, it was HOT. The sun today is powerful, and the light breeze was not enough to cool anything off. We took well deserved breaks at Posey Crossings and Bubba's in Marbury. By the time we got there, I was soaked and sweat was cascading off my head and going everywhere. With 35 miles done, I had as much to drink as normally over 45 miles. And I still couldn't stay hydrated! Here you see my helmet liner and towel draped on the bike during a store stop to dry them out.

Leaving Marbury, we came through Alpha Springs, where there are 2 big climbs of 12% and 13%. The second one really took it out of me. I asked Frank to pause when we got to CR 40, and we found some shade at a church just off the corner. The GU pack ("best before 10/07." Now, they gave this out at the KidOne ride THIS Spring, ya know?) and a granola bar along with more fluids helped ease the pain and we headed off once more after a few minutes. I opted to part company with Frank before turning on CR39. He is a far stronger rider and not sufferenig at all on the hills. I however, really didn't need that 3rd mega climb since my sartorius muscles were locking rigidly at any serious push on the pedals (When that happens, you focus on using OTHER muscles. I climbed with glutes and hamstrings as much as I could. They did not hurt at all.) I had some hills to climb on the alternate route, but no killers. At one point, they hurt like the dickens and I tried to work through the cramps. Then all of sudden, the muscles relaxed and both legs worked like they should again. That's the first time I've experienced such a sensation.

I ended up coming back south down CR 23 and then over Old Ridge Rd to McQueen Smith. There are 5 climbs on that part of the roadway, but none are too hard. The bummer was turning towards AL 14 at the end on what is usually a 24 mph down grade, and feeling a stiff headwind making 17 tough to manange. I pulled over and took a picture of this flag to show the wind, but of couse it slacked off, then started up again once I was back on the bike. It's good to have a flag picture today anyway :)

I averaged 15 mph for the 1st 45 miles, but only 13.5 overall with the crawls up the final hills. 60.5 total miles and a hair over 3,000' of climbing (that's a lot in my book)

New Joneswares wool cycle shorts were great. I recommend them highly. No seam seperating on this new pair. They come with/without a chamois pad. I got it without. Don't need it on the Selle An-Atomica saddles. There is a rumor of a shrimp boil, so I must needs go investigate. Happy 4th everyone! Thanks especially to Frank for seeing if I was dead or alive.

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