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

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend

Our first Prattville Ride of the season was on Tuesday evening. 8 riders turned out, which was a nice crowd. It was good to see some faces not seen in a while. We did the Prattville Loop and all went well for about 1/2 way, until one rider experienced a rear derailleur cable malfunction. Facing a 20% grade, her chain was stuck on the smallest cog. Not a happy situation, so she and another rider turned tail and headed back to the cars. I ended up going up the climb, waiting around at the top, then going 1/2 way back down looking for them, before heading back UP the climb, and going back down the other side, and finally using my cell phone to ascertain their status. We finished the ride in spirited style, as the delay at Deer Trace (the hill) set us back 20 minutes or so, and we try to beat nightfall back to the cars. Tim made my day when, catching up to Ron and I at the very end, he asked, "When did you get fast?" (I think he meant up the hills). "Smoke and mirrors," was my reply, but he made me smile nonetheless.

No ride Thursday, as Sharon and I went to Maundy Thursday services at our church. Maundy might be related to the Latin mandatum (commandment) because Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion along with a "new command" that he told his friends gathered around the Passover Seder table. He told them to love one another as He had loved them. It may also relate to the old English maunders, or alms baskets. English royalty has for years given out special alms on the Thursday of Holy Week. In any case, the service focused on the last supper and the new communion. We came up in groups of 12 to sit at the table and take communion there. I enjoyed that a lot more than a rather long narration about the disciples in the run up to and following the events of this week. (We also went for Good Friday. That service focused on how Jesus met the requirements of atonement spelled out in Leviticus, chapter 16)

Sharon asked if I could show up for another yard day on Saturday, and we agreed that I would ride in the morning, and dig in the afternoon. In fact, we met after my ride at Southern Homes and Gardens and picked out a Moonfire Japanese Maple and a half dozen Hostas to plant. For the ride, I chose a fairly level area out east of town, and emailed Michelle to see if she might come. When she agreed, I posted the ride to the club email list and got a few positive replies. Jeff alone could not make it, but another rider, Dan, came out in his place. So Michelle, Joe, Bill, and Dan joined me for almost 40 miles. I advertised teh ride as being a 13 - 15 mph average. The temperature to start was 57F, SO much nicer than the 43F of the prior week, I wore no jacket, just a Swobo s/s wool jersey with a Woolywarm sleeveless tee under. Swobo wool shorts too. I was delighted to see Bill in a wool Surly jersey! The merino evangel is spreading! And what's more, Bill rides a steel bike too! With a leather saddle! Carbon cranks and fork though. He said he has ordered a lugged steel fork from Rivendell to replace the carbon unit, and I'm happy to hear that. Rivendell has a fork replacement program to try and get carbon forks off bikes as a potential safety risk. They call it the "carbonomas" or Carbo, no mas! you could say.
50-718d-thumb It's a reaction to things like this result of a run in with a squirrel:

Anyway, we shoved off from the John Hall Store at 8:00 AM. Michelle wanted a ride that was "not too tough. I haven't been on my bike since November." Of course, she mentioned to Sharon this week that she goes to the gym EVERY morning at 5:00 AM and has been spinning on the stationary bikes all winter! She took off at 17 mph and accelerated from there! Here's a picture 10 miles out from the start. Michelle is leading just OVER the rise, then Dan, Bill and Joe. I am well back and doing 18 as I snapped the shot. They are puling away, uphill, at 22 mph.

The return of green is much appreciated, and the combination of cool air, lively songbirds, colorful blossoms and green carpet made for a most enjoyable outing even if I spent some of it by myself!. I saw them in the distance mostly but caught up at the first rest stop at mile 15.

We stayed in closer formation on the next 10 mile leg to the US 231 store, and after that, my legs seemed to find some energy reserves and I either pulled or was close to the front all the way back in. Or maybe it was the tail wind, who knows?
No mechanical issues for anyone today and everyone seemed to enjoy the ride. Dan is a competing triathlete who had a duathalon last week and was looking for an easy ride for this day. Despite that, he got a good lead on us near the end, despite our 18 - 20 mph final leg average. We finished at 16.5 mph and a hair under 1,100' of climb. It was a super time. I rode Louise, the Rambouillet, and once again am surprised at how much I like the "new" Ultegra double crankset. It is used of course, but new to me. The closer Q spacing and shorter crank arms suit me to a tee. My cadence average was 77, an improvement as I try to get to 85.

I brought a pair of Zoic MTB shorts to pull over the Swobos and a Cotton Tee to replace the jersey and go tree shopping in. After some discussion with the garden shop people, and our surreptitious fact checking via Blackberry, we realized that did not know what they were talking about and we used our own best judgement on the tree. We agreed on a Moonfire becuase it has red leaves and is not too big when full grown. After returning home, changing to yard clothes and having lunch, I got outside. Alex and Sharon joined me, with Alex helping on my project and Sharon providing "executive management" over placement decisions and some potted plant relocation. First we had to extricate an enormous and well rooted bush from the planter. This involved sawing off most of it so we could get at the base, then digging (me) and axe chopping roots (Alex) as we came to them, and finally pulling it free. Then we dug (mostly Alex) the new hole and added soil amendments (mostly me)
and finally put the tree in. Here's a photo montage by Sharon's Iphone of it all:

This morning (Easter: He is risen indeed!) started off with excellent coffee, scrambled eggs (with pesto, cream, and mozzarella) and Lox (thanks Honey!) and some quiet time to read, write, and reflect. After church and lunch, I'm leading a beginner's group at 2 PM. They'll do 16 flattish miles and I'll ride to and from to add 12 more.


No comments:

Blog Archive

The Pace Line