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

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One Day Too Short

After the long Labor Day weekend, it's a bummer to only have the usual 2 days this time around. Somehow I managed, never fear. Saturday's club ride turned out really well. Jackie and Joe started out with me from Millbrook and Jackie went as far as the Elmore store before turning around. She handled a nice pace on her rail trail style Giant. I gave her some Conti Slicks to try next time instead. Her semi-knobbies are 2.25" and these are 32 mm. I think she'll really notice a difference. The Contis were in my back stock from some tire sale months ago. They're all black (like her current tires) and I really prefer tan sidewalls anyway. Now I'll go hunt up some new back stock tires. Panaracer Pasela TG is my usual choice. They ride really nice, are light weight, and reasonably puncture proof. They do not last as long as the contis though. And one never knows what deals may be in the offing as the riding season winds down.

Joe and I kept on, and we went up to Lake Jordan and then wound our way back south. Our route included only 2 real climbs and this is reflected in our average pace. We were at the top of my range for a fendered, baggaged, fat tire bike. Joe coasted most of the way aboard his feather light Titanium Seven. I think he was coasting UP the hills too, but I can't be sure. When I am working hard on a climb, I don't tend to look around very much. We ended up with a shade over 40 miles, enjoyed lovely scenery and climbed between 800' & 900'. A couple of other riders left at the same time as we did, on a longer and faster ride. One was a new rider to the area. A very pleasant and recently graduated Air Force officer. Kathy was on a Gilmour TT bike and this is the first time I had ever seen one. I checked out their website to learn more about the brand. I also Googled Kathy and learned that she has had a pretty successful Tri career so far. For a little town, Montgomery sees a good share of very fine riders and other athletes, I must say.

The new term started today in Sunday School and I am teaching an adult class on the gospel of John. The course book seemed a little entry-level, so I asked for and got the okay to kick it up a notch. New Testament students often look at the book in the light of earlier Greek thinking, but it's important to remember that John (and Jesus of course) were Jewish. THAT was the perspective that I wanted to dig deeper into. We got through the 1st 4 verses of the book today. I suspect that the class is hoping I pick up the pace. The subject matter wanders from time to time. Today, I was asked for advice on where to get a young lady properly fit for and supplied with a decent quality bike. I probably did better explaining that than I did with the lesson.

After taking Alex and Amber out for lunch at a pizza buffet (their "reward" for getting up and coming to church with me), it was time to go on a Sunday afternoon ride. Only 1 person had said they would for sure be there, although there were several maybes. I was pleased that 4 other riders came by. Tom and Bob were up for a Prattville ride for the first time, and Jack popped in by surprise. Roger (not the club president, the other one) rounded out the group. We did the Indian Hills, Wadsworth Loop route, and while there are no longer any Indians there that I know of, there are hills. The Sun was blazing, and while the air temperature was only around 90, it felt a lot hotter. My back seemed to be cooking. We took a break at the 10 mile mark, and I realized that no one had gotten the "Put some shade out at the rest stop" memo. Here we are in the approx ride order: Roger, Jack, me, Bob, Tom. Yes that is UPHILL from this point.

The original idea was to ride 36 miles, but when Roger mentioned at about mile 15 that he needed to get back for some chores, 4 others (the rest of us) rapidly agreed that we had experienced all the biking fun we needed for today. So we ended up with 20 miles of good work. It was twice the climbing per mile as yesterday, so the average pace was a little slower. Still in the range though.

While Joe and I talked a little about recent political news, to my surprise no one struck up a conversation today. Not that I minded the absence. I don't foam at the mouth when discussing religion or politics as some do, and so I enjoy a civil exchange about them. Not an argument about them. I know people who love to argue ("debate" they call it) My dad was one of them. Count me out.

I've taken a little slack time with my miles over the past month, but I'm starting to get re invigorated. Not that I'm going to be racing or going cross country any time soon. But I like it when I like the riding more. I'm reading a book, "Bicycling Beyond The Divide" about an older guy mid-lifing it by trying to recreate a bike trip he did 20 years earlier. The book chronicles changes to places and people along the way, and of course changes he sees in himself as a result of the trip. I never took the trip 20 years ago, but cycling now helps me to see some of how I've changed too. Hopefully some of it is for the better!


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