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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The 2010 edition of the Old Howard

As we have done in the past, Bill, Joe, and I shared a car ride over to Marion, AL to participate in the Old Howard. Named for a now defunct college, but put on by the successor school (Samford University) with the help of the current occupant of the grounds (Judson College). The funds raised go towards economic development of a region with high unemployment. I didn't do a head count but it seemed like a nice turn out. Sunshine this year, unlike 2009, where we started off in the rain. We rode the 76 mile option, but I did not ride with the two of them. While they brought race bikes, I brought my "Hound Dog."  I knew the course an decided comfort over some very coarse roads and loose gravel sections would be better than an extra 1 - 2 mph in avg. speed. Here we are before the ride, a Seven (Joe), a Salsa (Bill), and a Saluki.


A gal I'd ridden with on a couple of MS 150 rides, last time being 2 years ago, remembered me and came over to say hi. That was nice. Her friend looked at my get up and asked, "Is there some wool in that?" Uhh, Ibex jersey and shorts and Defeet wool socks. Yep, I guess there is. No, it's not itchy and no it's not too hot. Sheep wear it all Summer, in fact. Then she said she was allergic to wool. Okay. Along the way, at rest stop #2, a fellow came up and said hi. He remembered me from the same stop last year. Nice guy.

A few miles out, the riders split. Most people saw a sign for a detour and took it to avoid some gravel patches on the original route. I went with the minority and risked the gravel. It wasn't bad actually. Two sections of 100 - 200 meters. Only one of the two was "loose" and my 35mm tires were pretty secure on it. The detourers rode 3 fewer miles and missed rest stop #1. It's at a very old home, used as part of the interior design curriculum at the college. And with so few riders there was NO wait to use the bathroom!

Brilliant blue skies as we headed north to Goldsboro. A town that still has antebellum homes (provided some back drop for the move "To Kill a Mockingbird," or so I was told). Most of my pictures came out fuzzy, but here are a few.

Typical of the route between the towns we saw:


Rest stop crew inside a Volunteer Fire Dept at mile 58:

There were a couple of interesting bikes and characters out there too. This guy did the 45 mile route with a fat stogie cigar in his mouth the whole way. Unique "kit" as well.

This steel framed beauty only rode the 1st mile, but led us all out of the start:

The winds shifted as the day wore on, so that it was in my face for about 75% of the time. Seemed like more of course. I did the 1st 50 miles at about a 15.3 avg, but the long pull into the headwind started to slow me down. Here at 55 miles, I am doing 14.3 and that was in fact the final avg for the whole day.

I was having a pretty good time though, riding mostly by myself and passing a number of jack rabbits who lagged, as the sun got hotter and the hills higher. One fellow asked me how I got ahead of him, as he remembered passing me earlier. "I think I was faster up the hills," I replied. "You'll go by me again when we get to the flat.

When I got back to the start, Joe and Bill were already changed and had eaten. They were famished (I show burning 3,650 cal myself) but were willing to wait for me to do the same. Knowing that there was no Atkins friendly food avail, I declined. Using the packed sports wet towel, I cleaned off a bit, changed my shirt and we headed home where I had a proper shower and real food. Despite looking as salted as a pretzel, I did not have a single cramp. The salt addition (1/4 tsp per bottle) to sports drinks is doing the job. I also ate enough aloing the way so as to never be hungry (I had a total of 1 PP&J sandwich and 6 Quaker Oats granola breakfast bars (about 90 cals each) I drank ether Nuun or Propel. The Sun was very strong, and I aplied SPF 30 blocker before the start and again at the 1/2 point. Despite that, my arms were covered with blisters at the end. Painless, and I popped them, and no sign of them this morning.

As we rode home, we passed many century riders coming in. Some were still a good 1 1/2 or 2 hrs of pedal time out! They might have been wiser to choose the 75. Perhaps they just wanted to take in Selma and the famous Edmund Pettus Bride.

The ride had 2,550' of climb according to my Garmin, although it felt like less. The mid week hill rides are certainly helping me with climbing stamina. We had two good ones this past week. Both were well attended, both were good workouts and I was pleased with how each ride went for me. I used the Mark III for both and realized that its mustache bars are excellent on climbing work. Frank (who came along for both outings) attributed the improved climbing performance to my skinnier butt, although the bars had something to do with it, I am sure.

Next week is the Tour Autauga and several people I know have said they are riding it.  I should find someone I can stay up with. Planning to do the metric.

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