Our office closes at 4:00 on Fridays and the weather was cooperating, so I roared into the driveway, changed clothes and hopped on Mark, a '79 Nashbar Mark III with a Bridgestone XO-1 inspired look.
[ Mark had a 650B conversion by Ed Braley, and I further relaxed the ride by replacing the period 52/42 Suntour racing crank with a modern Campy Veloce compact 50/34, replaced the racing rock of a saddle with a well broken in Brooks B17, and then added a Rivendell "hupe" and a capacious Acorn brand saddle bag. I found a couple of old Nashbar bottle cages which of course go on this bike!
Ed used some neat Velocity Aerohead rims, which are hard to find in 650B size, and laced them to NOS Japanese hubs. 28s in front and 32s in back. The shifters are all Shimano 105. I put a wide range freewheel back there and the bike is quite versatile. The tires are Grand Bois Cypres 32mm. ]
Anyway, it was a solo ride and I did the Prattville circumnav, including the climb all the way up Deer Trace, which has that short 20% grade section. I can sit on a bike with a triple, but had to stand on Mark's pedals to get him up that section. It's funny how a 6% grade feels like a relief after you crest a 20%! The ride was good and a good workout, despite a calf cramp (and I NEVER get those. Always a bottom of the foot cramp or sartorius cramp for me) which I stretched out while pedaling. With some local miles tacked on, it was 30+ miles.
Yesterday, Frank and I headed out for the 44 mile Millbrook Meander.
This ride has the same amount of climb in 44 miles and the Prattville Loop has in 21. I was expecting a pleasant ride and maybe a quicker pace. Riding to and from the start would add another 12 miles as well. Turning out of my subdivision, I first go up a 3% grade for 1/4 mile then down a short hill, then up a longer 8% number that I always resent having to do on cold legs. Yesterday was no change. It was not easy, not fun, and I did not climb very fast. I was on Elrond though. He's a '95 Rivendell Road and he has a triple! I made the mostly downhill rest of the way to meet Frank at the park and we set off in cold (43F) but calm air) I kept thinking, "my legs will warm up in a few miles and this will be easier." Nope. didn't happen. We rode North to Elmore and then to Slapout, and I did notice a tailwind picking up. Before Slapout, we came to the dirt road which I had originally mapped out but which we dropped from club riding, since the MPCBs with 23mm tires could not handle it. Frank looked over and said, "How about the dirt road today? We have the tires." He was right. He had Bontrager 35s and I Rivendell Maxy Fasty 33.4s ("or so"). It was slow but fun. We went a couple of miles on a mix of red clay, old asphalt and large gravel. We also saw some new scenery along the shore of Lake Jordan.
After our store stop, we had a definite brisk cross wind heading west to Deatsville. It was enough to slow us down (well, me anyway. Frank just kept pace with me, fine fellow that he is) but not awful. Once we turned back south at Deatsville, we had it full force in the face and man was it tough. For about 22 miles. On my never-got-going legs! Plus, 2/3 of the hills including a pair of 13% grades were in the 2d half of the ride. When we finally made it back to Millbrook, Frank pointed out a back way past a nasty traffic section. It included more dirt road AND another 13% climb. Did I mention tired legs yet?
I was sweating a storm up by now and pulled off to remove and stow my Showers Pass jacket. We parted company in Millbrook, but I still had to slog uphill, into a quartering headwind back to Prattville. The final turn had me go the final 2 miles dead into the wind.
I was back in time though to clean up and work in the planter as promised on "family yard day." Alex & I dug up some ugly bush and we placed a large amphora on a tile in its place with a fern on top. We ran to Southern Gardens and Home Depot and got other growing things which will be placed here and there to adorn the place, and we painted all the concrete lawn stuff we got last year and which has been in the garage with sealer so it could all go where it's supposed to: the yard.
I decided to take today OFF. No bike, no yard. A good move as I am already looking forward to working out in the morning.