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

Saturday, November 7, 2009

No Time to Fall Back

I am not a fan of standard time. Let me confess that up front. I hate the early end to a day's daylight. Never a night owl, I'm up with the sun, or before it, and ready to close my eyes once it sets below the horizon. All that being said, one plus to standard time is that it is light and warmer one hour earlier than before the change. I put up a list post about doing a Fall foliage ride today, out in the western part of the county. I've done this ride each of the past two years. Both times, only one other rider came along. Today, no one did. The one commitment I had bailed so that he could tuck his head down in a pace line with the speedsters. I understand of course. Bike merchants sell new bikes on the premise that they will make you "faster" so people want rides where they can go "fast." Whatever that really means. My regular like minded rider was out in Vancouver this weekend, so he was on his own to find a ride.

The route came from Mike Munk's Bamacyclist web page and it's a good mix of curving, sloping rural roads. The ride was 54 miles long and included 2,350' of climb, with a maximum grade of about 10%. Temps ranged from 44 at the start to 72 by the end. It makes setting up a bit of a challenge. I took the Rambouillet with the smaller cogset. It currently has 37 mm Panaracer Paselas on, and these are excellent over coarse back roads, and the dirt road detours I took to get a few of the pictures. Pumped to 65 psi, they are still surprisingly quick. The slowness of the overall pace (13 mph avg) was more due to my lallygagging, looking around, and generally not being in a hurry. And 2,350' of climbing. And the 15 mile pull home into a suddenly brisker breeze.

I parked at the epicenter of life in Autaugaville, the BP gas station. It features a clean restroom and pleasant staff. I was undecided on which jacket to wear, and decided on a lighter wind shell (the Comp-Velo one) over a long sleeve wool jersey, over a wool tee shirt. Wool shorts and knee warmers below and tall wool socks (a steal at Costco! Thanks to Steven D for the lead) to close out leg coverage. I took the jacket off at the 1st rest stop, 15 miles out. I could have kept going, but Louise needed a rest. Here she is at the corner of CR 40 & CR 1. 

The idea was that the leaves would be really pretty today. They were pretty green, pretty much, although touches of color showed up here and there.

The day was just lovely. These are two views of the same ridge. I went up and down over it several times, and the 1st shot is looking west while the second is looking back east.

Plenty of critters to look at. I rode with a 6 point buck for about 100 yds, while he looked for an opportunity to jump back into the woods.  Here's a 2 pointer that was not in any hurry to move.

Hawks were everywhere and other birds too. The only dogs I met were black Labradors. If you know labs, you know they were not a threat. People waved, but mostly I saw no one else, and very few cars. I ducked down to Steele Landing to use the restroom there, and the lot was full of pickup trucks with empty boat trailers. No people though.

Most of the day I kept running a Seals & Croft melody though my head, "We may never pass this way again." You know, the refrain part that goes, "and all the years will come and go, take us UP, always UP."  Here I am near the crest of yet another hill.

Up, always up!

Okay. sometimes i DID go downhill. It was fast and sweet and cold. Pretty too.

The fields were busy today. Peanuts are being worked and so is cotton. Here I rode down to a cotton processor to snap a picture of the bike and the bale, both in the same shade of blue.

This was just before the stop at the Statesville store.Statesville is in our county but is closer to Selma. Prattville was once the world leader in cotton gin manufacturing. Both cotton and cotton gins have declined here in Alabama over the years, replaced by industries like aerospace engineering and automobile manufacturing.

It was a good workout of a ride, despite the sedate approach I took. I needed the work and enjoyed the saddle time. Hope to ride tomorrow after church as well, but it will be a shorter cruise in any event.


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