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

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Already?

The Latins had a phrase, "Tempus Fugit," so I must not be the first person to feel surprised at how soon a month and a half of the new year have slipped on by. The Alabama "blizzard" of 2010 pushed Sharon's arrival back a day, and so she rolled in at dinner time yesterday from 2 weeks of work in Clearwater, Fl. She'll barely get her laundry done before heading out again tomorrow for a week's work at The Palmer Home For Children in Columbus MS. ( It's a great place for kids needing a stable family environment to grow up in. Both of us spent a February week there last year. Visiting teams from supporting churches provide materials and labor to conduct new construction and facilities maintenance activities. Last year, we constructed a small barn for animals used at the facility in various programs for the children. I believe this year, roof repair is on the menu. At least we'll get to say "Hi" today on Valentine's Day.

Our weather has been colder than normal by about 20F and quite a bit wetter than normal. The "good" days to ride have coincided all too often with other commitments and so my miles are a bit low. I hope that riding will pick up as Spring supplants Winter next month, and I am definitely happy for the chances so far to get out and ride.Yesterday was one such chance. By 10 AM it was a toasty 29F and calm air so I pulled Louise down off the rack and layered up in wool. Leaving from home, I wanted to get at least 30 miles and some hills. I was able to do both. This was maybe the 2d time on the new (to me anyway) crankset which was installed some weeks back. The factory model XD triple (48/36/26) was replaced with a narrow Q model GX racing double (53/39). Both units are by Sugino, who makes good quality components are very reasonable prices. I wanted to see how climbing stiff grades on a 39 would work for me.

The sun was out when I left and depsite the cold temperature, it was pretty nice out. I stopped after an hour for a granola bar a this convenient venue:

Obviously, my prayers for good riding weather, were answered in the affirmative.  This little church is on Wadsworth Loop, close to a bend in the Alabama River. The area is mostly woods and farms. The Rambouillet is shod in this picture with 28mm Conti Ultra Gatorskins. They look so skinny to me! They are comfortable and fast though. The other wheelset for this bike makes it an all rounder style, and uses 37mm tires. Not long after this rest stop, clouds moved in and the wind picked up. Made riding quite a bit chillier and a lot more work. Climbing really got to be hard. Finally, a light went off in my brain. I had on large shoes to permit double socking. These were wedged firmly in the power grip straps, preventing my feet from moving around! I pulled them out and stood ON the straps. That allowed my feet to slide and use the center portion on teh hills, bringing the climber muscles into play! Phew! SO, I need to adjust the straps for more play, or remove them, if I am going to use the larger shoes.

You'll notice a total absence of any SNOW in the picture above. Ths is one day after the blizzard which shut all area schools, closed banks early, etc. Here is some that I found later on in the ride:

  And remember that it's only 29F out. The "blizzard" was not melted by a heat wave.  The rest of the ride was work, but good work. My sartorious muscles are still making their presence known this morning, but the rest of that leg crowd seems fine. Once again, I managed to under hydrate. Only after taking off my jacket, did I realize how wet I was from sweat. There are a couple of steep climbs on the route, and my HR was up around 170 as I worked up them, which is high for a geezer like me. Avg HR for the trip was 143, which seems pretty typical these days. I rode for 2 1/2 hrs so it was a healthy cardio outing. But a sweaty cardio outing.

Depending on how things go today, I may even get a little loop of Prattville in after church. We'll see. That's something nice to look forward to. Temps this afternoon are forecast to get up to 54F! Do I remember how to dress that lightly?


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