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

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Old Homestead

Did anyone notice the weekend weather forecast this week? Not very encouraging, was it? Thundery rains, 20 mph winds and a day just not fit to ride in. But as Saturday approached, the rain forecast moved to later in the day and the wind speeds dropped a little. So with courage plucked up and prayers for divine assistance offered, I loaded my bike and gear into the car and met 5 other intrepid souls at Pintlala for a Club Lite ride. This was the trial run of a new route posted to "MapMyRide." Same roads we generally go over, but assembled in a new way. Same concept as last week, but about 75% different roadway than we traveled on then.

Mike, Roger (NTCP), John, Therese and Tommy were there for the "normal humans" version of the club ride, while the usual suspects for higher speed adventures gathered for a slightly later start. Roger brought his Trek 520 tourer, fully racked out. Great looking ride, and he says it is his more comfortable bike. John was interested to see one, so that worked out fine. I brought a 700 mm wheel for Therese to try. It has a little larger gearing than hers, and it might suit for hills. I don't OWN a 700 wheel size bike anymore, so the wheel was getting pretty lonely off in the corner. After a little getting used to it, it seemed to roll okay for her. Having hit Nashbar's 50% clearance sale on bike tools (stand back, this man could be dangerous!), I decided to change freewheels myself last night. I replaced a 12 - 23 with a 14 - 28. That doesn't allow for a high top end, but it suits how I ride. Cetainly, with a 26 granny, "Aint No Mountain High Enough" to keep me from climbing it. I didn't throw the other one away, so it can be put back on if needed.

We pulled out of the church south on the shoulder of US 31 and ducked down old Pintlala Rd, or whatever it's called. Just as we crested a ridge, Jack pointed and said he was raised there. So THAT's why he knows the area so well! No family visits today, just a mean old red dog, who has obviously been feeding a litter recently. Maybe that's what made her mean? No real trouble, but she was not eager to get out of our way. Our route was into the wind for the first 10 miles and boy, was that a chore. It was really blowing. Once in a while, it would get calm in the trough between hill crests, and we thought we were in heaven. We learned soon enough that no, we weren't.

The plan worked pretty well though, becuase once we turned north on Butler Mill, and then Hobbie Rd, we had a heckuva spanker breeze. For a while ole Club Lite was lighting up the road at a 20 - 25 avg pace. Heady stuff for us! (and we were tired from the pull into the wind) We store stopped at Snodoun and then had 5 more pain in the butt miles of headwinds before turning to home and only dealing with a crosswind the last 3 miles or so. The course is right at 40 miles, and we were in our advertised range for the pace. We all agreed it was a great work out and nary a drop of rain did fall. Everyone stayed on thir bikes today. The only mechanical issue was Tommy's cyclometer which refused to work. Once Tommy had removed the front wheel, turned it around to get the magnet where it goes and replaced the wheel, it worked just fine. Roger got the coolest gadget honors today. His Pletscher kickstand has 2 legs that fold together on one side when up, but which spread to make a very stable stand when down. Ideal for a loaded touring bike. ( about 1/3 way down)

Mike is hoping to win new Ultegra brifters on Ebay for an upgrade to his bike, and will in turn use his current set to upgrade wife Julie's. He also mentioned a pretty neat idea that he ran across in a Maryland area club. Why not have a family ride? Maybe a neighborhood ramble in a place like Deer Creek with (helmets of course) riders of all ages, maybe street shorts, not lycra, and go slow? Yes Patty, you would would be on a beach cruiser. Think Starbucks in the drink holders. Even if we didn't garner a lot of new riders, we might enhance family sympathy for our own need to pedal. Think about it as a Spring thing. The club Christmas party was such good times, why not socialize on a bike?

Weather looks good for tomrorow, so here's hoping more miles happen.


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