What a beautiful Autumn weekend this has been, weather wise. After a cold front came through on Friday with some much appreciated rain, the temperatures have dropped to the very comfortable 60s and 70s as daytime highs. Great weather to ride a bike! I wish I could gush about wonderful colored foliage, but so far it's been pretty dull and disappointing.
I'm not any kind of a racer, and especially not a cyclocross ("CX") racer, but our local bike shop sponsored team hosted a CX event this weekend at Prattville's Cooter Pond Park. A Cooter, for the citified elites, is a turtle. I have only recently checked the park out, and it turns out to be very nice. The pond connects to the Alabama River and the boat launch ramp draws a large crowd on a nice weekend like this. The upper level of the park is set on a hill that gives a great overlook of the pond, and is refreshed by unobstructed cooling breezes. Comp-Velo Race Team captain Dave had a great plan. A 4 wheeler driven by Trevor with a trailer carried the marker stakes and tape, and slowly made its way along the route. Dave and Chris tossed out the stakes at 15' parallel intervals and on one side Bruce, Keith, Carl, and Ed hammered them in. On the other side, Chad hammered them in. We each had small sledge hammers, and our arms quickly tired. Except for Chad, who builds houses for a living. No biggie for him to knock these in, obviously. Two teams came behind running the yellow barrier tape. It looked really cool, and several folks had bikes along to give the route a test run after it was done. I haven't heard the race results yet, but Dave will post them soon enough.
Putting the course up took the place of my morning ride, but I figured a cool day would be a good opportunity to mow once I returned home. I had every intention of mowing, but when I came out to do it, there was Mike across the street and we stopped to chew over the latest City Council meeting happenings. A developer wants to put in gov't subsidized apartment housing adjacent to our subdivision. For a number if reasons, including insufficient infrastructure for what's already there and a burgeoning crime problem in the existing apartments, both adjoining subdivisions petitioned the city to say "no." So they delayed the discussion for another month. Maybe if fewer citizens show up then, the developer will have a better shot at bending the city to his will. I hope not.
Anyway, Mike and I also agreed that Friday's rain had greened up our lawns so prettily, and the grass was really growing slowly now, if at all, so heck, why mow? That was good enough for me and I spent my yard time pulling some weeds instead and grooming the Star Jasmine vines I've been training on a lattice all year. Then I set up the bike repair stand in the driveway and cleaned and serviced the bikes. I also played "Musical Saddle Bags" which is where you move them around on the bikes to see which one goes best where. Does anyone else do this? It's almost as exciting as swapping tires around. I did that last week, and decided that the Saluki does great with fat, treaded Grand Bois Oursons while the NXO-1 is slicker with the skinnier file threaded Cypres rubber. The Rambouillet stays in Paselas most of the time. Great tire comfort wise, but a little light on tread life.
Today's sermon was pretty good. Unlike my readers I am sure, I cannot say that I remember all the sermons that I hear. Today's stood out for its content, composition, and its delivery. The gist is, don't just talk the talk ON faith, walk the walk OF faith. A concept applicable across a wide range of situations. There's more of course, but that will give you the idea.
After some left overs for lunch, I met up with Carol at Village Green Park. Robert said he'd come too, and sure enough the stealth car from Coventry with the inscrutable Japanese phrase on the license plate rolled in. We were also joined by Tim (resplendant in his gareeeen "To Jack and Back" MS 150 jersey) Mike and Chris. This was my first meeting of Mike and Chris, and Carol claims to know me from a prior ride, but I was probably so far behind I couldn't tell.
We pulled out for the Slapout store into a pretty good breeze. I pulled a few miles, but asked Robert to take the lead as my pace was too slow for the new folks. Later, Chris took over from him. It was a hard pace for me, mostly uphill to Slapout often at 18 - 20 mph. We paused for an indoor plumbing break at Elmore and here is a pic outside of Holley's showing new riders Carol and Mike, with that famously aforementioned Jack Jersey on Tim too.
We averaged 16 mph door to door and frequent readers will know that my comfort zone is a mile or two slower per hour. Sounds like a small difference, but yes it matters. After a brief confab at the Boy's Store we decided to part company at Hwy 143. Carol and I headed south from there and the rest went north to Deatsville and the lovely 12% grade climbs of Alpha Springs. I gave them directions, and Robert had my cell #. Since no one called, I trust they made it back to the cars alive. Hope they enjoyed the ride.
It was a workout for me in any case, and I immediately downed 2 Advil upon getting home. Next week, I'll be back to my "relaxer" ride status, but perhaps others will want to push the envelope and ride faster. In the meanwhile, a week of work awaits. Tailwinds till next time!
Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.
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