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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1st Prattville Ride of the Season

For the 4th year running, we've kicked off the "Prattville Rides." These are weekday after work club rides featuring all hills all the time. Wheels roll at 6 PM and we need at least an hour and a quarter for the shortest route to be completed while the sun is still above the horizon. Sunset today was 7:15!  I posted the ride early this morning, which is when I decided to commit to it. By tonight I was wondering about my wisdom.

The skies were grayish blue, the air chill and raw and a brisk wind from the WNW was holding flags straight out from their poles. I wore my light tights, a wool tee shirt and a long sleeve hi-vis yellow jersey. I hoped it wouldn't be too warm, with a temp of 56F. I was too cold by far. The damp air with wind surely takes heat away from you. My feet and knees in particular were cold.

I parked at the Pasta Mill downtown, and finding no other hardy souls there, set off on an 7.5 mile upwards climb into the wind. I was surprised at how good it felt to push the pedals! With no one to get way ahead of me and make me labor to catch up, I found a sustainable pace and pulled at it the whole way. Once I reached the high point, it was 4 basically downhill miles (albeit still mostly windward) until the next turn was reached, where the wind finally swung around and tailed me all the rest of the way. That final 6 miles features ups and downs, and the final tally was 17.8 miles in 1:14. I took no break, so the math whizzes will soon calculate that I returned to the car with a minute to spare! That equates to 14.4 mph avg speed, right in the advertised 13 - 15 range. The mapping program gives 1260' of climbing total and I believe it.

There were some dogs at a couple of junctures, but none were any trouble. Cars were sparse and gave me plenty of room. I wore a red flasher on my back to help them see me.

It was crummy weather, no one showed up, but it felt so darn good when the ride was done! perhaps as the weeks roll on, others will pop on down and pedal along.

The Prattville rides are Tuesdays and Thursdays, although this Thursday I will be engaged trying to persuade an ex rider to get back on a bike while we surf MapMyRide at McCaillister's for dinner. Next week, I intend to ride both days and will publish the routes as well.


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