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

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wide Ranging Ride

We got a break in the 20F below normal temps common for nearly all this winter, and it seemed like a good chance to jump out and ride, before more forecast bad weather comes calling next week.  Joe and Robert met me at the John Hall Store for an 8 AM shove off on a fairly easy metric century (a ride of 100KM or more, or roughly 62 miles +).  Bill emailed me this week to say he would be wherever I posted the ride at, but Sharon wagered big money that he would be a no show with starting temps at 30F +/- despite the promise of 60s after noon. Sharon was the big winner! 8 AM came and the 3 of us present rolled out.

Robert said his last ride was at Thanksgiving, and Joe is recovering from a torn-at-tennis calf muscle ("Joe, you should consider doubles at your age." "Bruce, I WAS playing doubles when it tore!") They both wanted an "easy" pace. I'm not injured and have ridden hundreds of miles this winter. I had no excuse other than I just am a slower rider. We all put on plenty of layers and started at a pretty easy lope. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I know spring is on the way from the variety of bird songs we heard. Our 1st store stop was 18 miles out and I elected to take off the jacket and the shoe covers. It was then that it dawned on me that taking a saddle bag instead of a tool wrap would have been a good idea. I rolled the jacket up and stashed it in a jersey (Joneswares "Robinson") pocket, and put the shoe covers in my shorts pocket. A last minute addition, I decided to wear Zoic MTB shorts over the merino skins tights. I wanted a less "dorky biker" look. Opinion seems divided on my level of success, but the added pockets in the shorts were a lifesaver today. And the nylon material of the shorts shielded certain areas from the early cold winds, if you get my drift.  Joe and Robert refused to remove a stitch of their stuff. Here there are looking like an arctic rescue squad.

We took off from here and headed for back country roads. The route had about 2,100 ft of climb, with 1/3 in the first 1/3 of miles, but 2/3 in the 2d third of miles. The final leg was pretty nearly flat. By the time we stopped again, the hills had warmed Joe up at least. Here he is getting tropical, while I already am. Robert is afraid to be seen in any stage of undress.

We saw a little bit of wildlife today: turtles lined up to sun on a log, quail on the wing, various songbirds (vireos in particular), but mostly we saw cattle and buzzards. The hills worked our legs pretty well, as did the rising breeze which shifted as the sun passed its zenith, so it blew against us from several directions during the day.

I liked how the Rambouillet worked with the vintage Sugino GX road double on. Light and nimble, and I had enough gears for what I needed. Took the power grips off so the shoes would not be compressed by them and lead to frozen feet. There's a Metric next weekend in Bleckley GA, and if the weather holds, I may make the trip. I always try to get some new venues in a few times a year. This ride, like the Populaire in January averaged between 14 and 15 mph. That is my comfort zone and I'll go with it.

Hope everyone else enjoyed their day as much as I did !

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