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

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Still NOT Spring...

When will NICE riding weather get here? This week has been rainy, and both weekend days have been damp and overcast and blustery with wind. Although the temps have risen to 50s and 60s, it feels much colder, especially when you are wet with sweat from a hard pedal.

Despite the drizzle yesterday, Roxy and I waited until 10:00 AM to let most of the precipitation slide on past us, and then we set out wearing our rain jackets. The original intent was to do the 53 mile Autauga Loop, which is hilly, but very rural and scenic. As it happened, we truncated the ride due to mechanical issues on Roxy's ride and after finding that our mid ride store stop, The Statesville Store, was closed, with a "going out of business sign" in the window. Another sign pathetically read, "if you owe us any money, please come in and pay up."

We enjoyed the riding anyway, despite very steep climbs and very breezy headwinds. As forecast, the wind direction swung as the rain front passed by, so we had had head winds for truly 3/4 of the way. Fortunately, on the long straight run home along the freshly paved shoulder strip of AL 14, we had a strong tail wind which helped pick up our average pace. Plenty of hawks were out, and you can sure see signs of life in the trees. Crabapples, redbuds, pears, all blooming out. The roadway shoulders and medians are all green once more. Bulls are bellowing their spring fever and a profusion of bluebirds and cardinals are about, sporting intensely pigmented mating plumage.

We ended up with 34ish miles and I logged only 13 mph, but felt great and enjoyed the ride. Roxy's front derailler would not shift to the little ring, making the hills that much tougher. He had seat issues and a hop in his low spoke count rear wheel. I noticed that his brake pads had severely worn the rim walls as well. I compared our set ups and think that mine is miles more comfortable, if much less racy than his is. I really felt like I could ride all day.

Today was the usual 2 PM Sunday afternoon casual ride from Village Green Park. Same weather as yesterday, maybe windier. I wore a Windstopper jacket over a wool jersey and windproof gloves. Instead of tights, Ibex wool knee warmers. Sadly, with my weight loss, they are too big and tend to slide off during the ride. They did the job today though. I have a smaller pair of synthetic ones to use if needed. Therese came out for the first time since November (although she has been in the gym training) and new guy Matt B came along. Interesting guy, Matt. A man of many interests and very fit. His riding was all over the place as well. Impossible to follow when he offered to lead, He could be 100 yds to the front or to the rear. Steady cadence? Ride in a straight line? Nope, nope. I was happier pulling myself and did so for most of the way up and back. A couple of times I got behind Therese to grab a quick respite before pulling again. She is strong, and generally mashes a big gear instead of spinning a small one. No matter how hard I try to convince her to do otherwise. For my part, I noticed my avg cadence was 75 which is getting back to where I want it to be (85) and my cardio reacted just fine to the spinning. This time, the mid ride store stop was open and we had a proper break. Totals for the outing were about 38 miles, a little climbing and a bit over 14 as an avg pace. It was advertised as 14 avg, so it hit right on.

If the weather is good, next weekend is my 1st out of town ride, Relay For Life, down in  Greenville, AL. Well, even if the weather is still like this. After all, it still won't QUITE be Spring yet on 3/20.


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