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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Although wandering rain showers have been forecast all weekend, rides were managed both Saturday and today, Memorial Day. For Saturday, I headed on over to Cecil, AL and joined the Club Lite crowd. Hadn't seem some of them for a while and an easy lope on two wheels sounded like just the ticket. I told Sharon we'd be done in time for me to drill anchor holes in the brickwork of our house and mount a flagpole in time to observe the holiday.

We had a good turn out of a baker's dozen riders and headed out in high spirits. Here's Mary Ashley leading the pack.

It was warm and humid, as you can tell from our kit clad, Lance bike riding refugee from the race circuit. Mary just has one speed, FAST, at least on flats.  We lost our ride leader, when John had a flat on his lovely new blue and white TREK Madone. I used to give John grief over the number of flats he had. I suspected that the tubes he bought in bulk when on sale spent too much time on the seat of his car in the Sun. It's been a while though, so this must have been just one of those things. He said not to wait on him, so we didn't. Joe pulled off in the lead, and typically for him, spun up to 200 rpm and 22 mph. A couple of rabbits went after him and I found myself pedaling alone for much of the day. Anne and Delayne did a 180, when someone called out, "Who left the lift gate on their SUV open?" They decided on a shorter route anyway and kept each other company for 23 miles. Assuming a "Lite" ride of 13 - 14 mph avg, I brought the Rambouillet with it's heavy fat tire set up. It was comfortable, but it was work to get it going quickly, and I ended the day at 16 mph avg. Not a hilly ride, but almost 1,000' of rollers all told.

After the ride I drilled about 2/3 of the 1st of 3 flagpole bracket holes and decided that the drill bit was too dull, and it was taking too long, and I was too tired to fool with it any more. Sunday after church, Alex and I went to Home Depot, got a new drill bit for the brickwork, and between us got all the drilling done. We had a flag raising ceremony inspired by a certain WW II picture.                      

 Today, 5 of us did my "Memorial Day Marbury Route." That's what I called it after the first time, a number of years ago, and I try to ride it each year. This year, we stretched it from 60.8 miles to make it a metric century, by adding a detour to the Alabama Confederate War Veterans Park. The morning radar showed random storms all over the place, but we shoved off anyway. I packed the rainsuit which pretty much ensures we won't get wet. We were two vets (Ron and me) and 3 active servicemen (Mike, Bill, and Charlie)  Ron has an SUV of a mountain bike with all sorts of gear attached. Multiple bike computers, slots for 8 water bottles, double handle bars (drops and a straight bar) racks on racks, and fenders, and a lot of is held together with zip ties, He is a strong rider and has been doing hills with us during the week as well. Here are Ron and the SUV:


  My Saluki is on the left and Charlie's Specialized is to the right. The headstones belong to Civil War vets. The facility was an old age home for them after the war, and I think the last one passed away in 1934. Why is there a rain cover on the Lil Loafer in the front of the Saluki? Because It was a handy place for it should it rain. Underneath is a second one in black that stays on the Loafer to keep it dry in the rain, should the yellow one go on my helmet. Twice we encountered rain and providentially, we were at service stations and able to take cover while the frog strangler deluges fell. Each time, I fit the rain bonnet to my helmet and each time the weather subsequently cleared. The roads were still wet though.

The fields still looked good to me. Hay is being cut and baled all over now:

and new crops are just coming up, including cotton, still widely grown here, as are peanuts and corn.

Here's everyone but me at the park:

We had plenty of everything on this ride. Humidity early was horrendous, rains torrential (although as noted, we found shelter both times) the Sun HOT and strong later, dogs plentiful and active, and LOTS of hills. We climbed a total of about 3,300' and there were 2 or 3 grades of 13 %, including the last climb which felt worse because we were 60 miles into the trip. At 55 miles, one of the riders indicated he was out of gas and not feeling well. He noted he was no longer sweating and wisely opted to finish his day at the last store stop. It's better to ride smart and come back another day than to overdo it and risk real health damage. The 1st rider in went back and got him with a car and that was the right way to play that hand.

Ohh! I forgot to mention: After the Boys Store in Slapout, I forgot to release the parking brake! (It's a nifty little stretch cord that grabs your brake lever and prevents the bike from rolling.)

So, I pedaled 6 miles wondering why I was so sluggish having just had a nice rest stop with a food bar and a banana. And I kept up the pace with that brake on! Okay, it wasn't at full capacity, but still......

Final tally for me was 13.9 avg for 63.6 mi. Not bad on a heavy bike and it was super comfortable on all the hardscrabble sections we covered, railroad tracks and other bumps in the road. The fenders of course were just the thing today. I rode in sneakers today, Vitruvians.     Order the Symmetry II now!     They make shoes with a special insole for people of various arch

configurations. Having a Low arch, it's often hard to find one just right, and they do the job at a reasonable price. They worked out fine as biking shoes on the Grip King pedals as well. Btw, Grip King is a misnomer, when wet, there is NO grip, but you adapt and it works out.

  So, a good weekend on many fronts, including a great dinner last night with friends who stopped on the way from Tn to FL to see us.  Tailwinds everyone. See you on a ride in June!


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