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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"We Shall Overcome"

The song, "We Shall Overcome," has become synonymous with the annual festivities at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. These mark the civil rights era events which occurred there. Selma is close enough to ride to, and it seemed like a nice idea instead of another Saturday club ride from one of the two venues used. I floated the idea on our Thursday hill drill and both Joe and Frank seemed interested. Did some homework, located a potential eating establishment for a mid ride meal, and posted the ride to the club. Surprisingly, I got a fair number of responses. Ray emailed me to say that he would come. Mike, Michael, and Robert were strong maybes. Ron wrote that his free time precluded going all teh way, but he would join us until our 1st rest stop in Autaugaville. As it turned out, it was Ray, Frank, Joe and I with Ron for the 1st 1/4 of the way.

I set up Louise, the Rambouillet for the trip, by swapping the skimpy tool roll for a large Acorn saddle bag. Hot and sunny was the forecast so a number of items were packed, that don't usually come along. Sunscreen, a sports towel, enough cereal grain bars and propel powder for the whole trip, in case none was found at store stops. Also packed a bike lock, clickstand, tools, and a camera. The 37 mm Paselas came off and the original issue 32s went back on. I was unsure about the bike, as it now has a regular road double, instead of the original compact triple. I decided to have faith that I could climb all the hills without a little chain ring. After all, why are we doing hill drills twice a week, if not to get better at, anyone, anyone? HILLS!! The bike worked great. It was as comfortable at the end as at the first. WHile my legs were tired when we were done, my butt was NOT sore and my body was not beaten up. It's a great frame design and really perfect dimensions for me. I only had a 6 speed freewheel today and I don't think I ever used the biggest cog. Any trouble I had was staying up with the speedwagons who interpreted my post about "touring pace" to mean 18 - 20 mph. In the end, I hung on until I got tired, then dropped off the back until I felt recovered. I often closed some of the gaps on hills, but not always. A couple of times, they took a shady break along he way and let me rejoin the group. I think what was most tiring for me was not the pace they pushed, but the way they pedaled. Frank is fairly consistent although he gets sudden burst of energy and surges ahead, but Joe and Ray are interval cyclists. They pedal hard, speed up, then rest and slow down. That wears on me, since I get in a groove and need to stay at about the same speed all the time. I don't race downhills, and I try not to slow much going up them. It's not a bad thing, it's just our styles are different. It certainly didn't stop me from enjoying this ride immensely. Being alone in the back let me ride as I would without company and that worked fine too. No assist with wind that way, but it's a trade off I could handle.

Frank had "Colonel Mustard," his custom Bilenky, Joe was on his custom Seven. Ray rode a Trek I didn't catch the model # of, and Ron was on his SUV. (a MTB converted to touring duty. He can carry EIGHT water bottles on that thing in mounts placed everywhere they'll fit. I still haven't divined how he has an under/over handlebars set up of two totally distinct handlebars. Very interesting!) Here are Frank and Joe getting ready and my bike is leaning against the car.

I was excited about the trip all week. This morning though, as the "weather alert" icons popped up to tell about near 100F temps expected, and Frank wondered how "flat" this ride really was, I had a few second thoughts. You might see that in my expression here. Or maybe  I'm feeling the jokes coming my way about doing this ride in this heat in WOOL.

We headed off on time anyway at 7:00, and made it to our rest stops in good order. The roads were in good condition for the most part and we arrived in Selma at about 9:30. We went up on the bridge and heard a few horn honks (surely they were just saying hello to out of towners?) and here is the obligatory Bridge shot.

A second mission was to eat a meal here, and my original recon selection of The Downtowner was closed for the day. A quick pedal around brought us wafting aromas of BBQ, so we pulled in at the "Rib Master" on Alabama Ave. Owned and operated by Rena (pronounced Re-Nay), she tells you to be patient and get really good home cooking. All from scratch. We had breakfasts and they were indeed as she said. A small place, we had to shoehorn ourselves in there.

Rena says modestly that she has the best ribs in Selma. "I season 'em real good before cooking and start with good meat. It falls off the bone when I cook it." Her kids help in the store and none of the locals we saw in there were in a rush either. They all were patient, as were we. She got nice tips from us, and she deserved them. Here's momma Rena at work on the grill:

Brunch took about an hour and then we headed back. It was hotter than on the way out, with a quartering headwind that was more a cooling help than a pedaling hindrance. It was drier as well, so perspiration was more efficient. Hot though.  We expected to be back around 2, and we were pretty close to that. I showed almost 75 miles total and a 15 mph moving average, which was "in the advertised range." the others will have slightly higher avg speeds. We climbed over 2,000' but not the 3,000' Frank saw on MapMyRide (web glitch, it later showed 1,500')

 The Swobo jersey was especially good in the afternoon, when it was almost dry any time we were riding. In the morning the wet air prevented any drying out to occur. ZOIC shorts with the padded liner were excellent below. No grabbing at the skin when wet.

 There were a couple of funny moments along the way. At rest stop #2, Ray went behind the store to use a tree (no public facilities avail there) and was stung by a wasp. Good thing it got his hand, you know? He cooled it off with ice, and then on a suggestion from Frank, put some down his shorts. Frank meant some small pieces, but Ray shoved a huge block in there. He was very macho for a few minutes until he experienced, in the words of George Castanza, "Shrinkage!!"

The ride on the Mississippi River Trail last Fall whetted my appetite for longer tours, so I am sure this won't be the last meander. Just this afternoon, Sharon mentioned needing to make a trip to IKEA in Atlanta for laundry room cabinets. "Hey, how about if you drop me off in Anniston, and I come up on the Chief Ladiga - Silver Comet Trail and meet you there?" You know, thinking outside the box, right?


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