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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nut Roll! Updated with pictures

Well, I finally made it over to Albany Ga for the Pecan City Pedalers Nut Roll. This ride benefits a local park, and that is also the start finish point. Google told me to plan on 3 hr and 39 mins door to door, and check in time was 6 AM (AL time). I decided to drive over yesterday and stay the night. That worked out well. The Best Western is right off US 82 in Albany, the park is also close to US 82, and US 82 runs through Prattville. An alternate route was suggested to me at lunch on Friday, namely taking I-85 to Columbus and then coming south on rte 280. I went for US 82 though, because I happen to like seeing what bits of Americana are still along the blue highways. This route did not disappoint. There were plenty of little places to look at and make mental notes to stop and see when I had more time. Back woods roads and all, and I was still at my destination in 3 hrs on the nose. If you've been in a car with me, you know I do not drive fast. Just like my biking!

Up early today and over to the venue. Jim Anne (the ride Grand Pooh Bah) greeted me warmly. It was good to see the Pecan City ladies again. We all rode together in Dothan in 2007. She announced that 299 riders came out today, and we got underway at the appointed hour. With a weather forecast of rain and afternoon T-Storms, I mounted the "duffel bag" (as Brooks G. refers to it) under the saddle with a newly obtained full rain kit in it. Since it is so roomy, a Swiss army knife, a bike tool set, toilet tissue, a tube of Nuun electrolyte tablets, some Propel mix,  and spare parts all went in too. With all of that preparation, you might guess that nary a drop of rain fell, and no mechanical issues arose.

The course was very nice. Pretty rolling countryside with low hills, mainly in the center portion of the route. (I did the 64 mile option) They staff had people posted at just about every turn, just to make sure you didn't miss something and find yourself in Savannah. The maps were very good and had excellent turn by turn directions. Mileages listed were accurate. Rest stops had a great selection of items. The peanut butter (fudge?) and cornflake squares were particularly excellent. Pecans and peanuts were abundant. No themes like our own rest stops, but friendly service and they were spaced out pretty well.

I found a group to ride with to start, but they were so sporadic in pace, that I pulled ahead of them to find a better match to my speed. On the way to Rest Stop 1, I probably tagged along with 3 different groups. I stayed only a few minutes there, just long enough to eat, and pulled out again. Rest Stop 2 was a 10 minute stay. Eat, drink and refill the water bottles. The cool calm day had gotten warmer and windier. I finally found a good group after leaving Rest Stop 2, but as we pedaled on, they kept going faster. My "This is great" at 16 mph became "How long can I hang in there?" at 20 mph. Finally, we made a left turn INTO a brisk headwind and it was MY turn to pull. I pulled for 2 miles but then I was whipped. I dropped completely off and just spun the cranks a while in a lower gear. It was a good 10 minutes before I could get back to my avg, and of course, it was all into the wind now. Which was very brisk.  I began to cramp too. First it was the left foot. Then the right foot. Then the right inside thigh, then the left. Then the calves. Each time, I would spin easily and focus on stretching and relaxing the muscle doing the protesting, while drinking fluids. I lingered a little longer at Rest Stop 3: 20 minutes. Stretching, drinking and eating enough fuel. The pull out from Rest Stop 3 was another 6 miles or so intothat same wind, but I was rested and handled it okay. Then we turned and had a side wind for a while and finally a tail wind. Ahhh!

Back at the pavilion, T-shirt goody bags awaited and a great post ride BBQ lunch. While I eat carbs some on the ride, it was back to Atkins at lunch. Finally, it was time to head home. With the ride in and out of the park, I clocked 65 miles +/-. Time was 4:19. That's spiffier than I usually do, AND I was hauling around luggage too. I was pleased with the result.

I met one other Montgomery area rider there. Willie Pitts. We traded names last week at the Glassner, but we have been on the same rides around the state for a couple of years.WIllie was at Marion this spring, fo example. I asked to come out for a club ride. You'll recognize him on a red Cannondale Saeco team replica bike and wearing the Saeco kit. Say hi if you see him. He's young and quick, and not about to join me on a club lite ride anytime soon.

Pictures as soon as they are available will show up here. Update: Don at Southern Light Pictures has already put the pictures up!
First up is the only example of a wool jersey and shorts on the ride. The cap logo may be somewhat familiar to certain readers.

Next up is a view of the duffel bag containing all the rain gear which turned out to be superfluous. Likewise the saddle cover.

Jim Anne, the Albany bike club president, can ride fast and far. Here she gets the rest of us underway.

I guess this just isn't a pace line kind of bike.... Great KOP though

Fellow Montgomery-ite Willie in his fancy new Saeco get up.


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