This weekend was not shaping up for anything exciting in the way of a bike ride. Joe, Max, Ray, Pete and Ron all for one reason or another had to be elsewhere. I saw Frank's note on my FaceBook wall saying he would be "in available" for a ride, and B's translation services rendered that to say he would also be personna absentia for a ride. There were a couple of rides posted for eastern Montgomery County, leaving from the John Hall Store (an old country store, refurbished and reopened a year or two ago. Now cyclists can go INSIDE to use the bathroom pre-ride!) both a 30 mile light ride and a 40 mile "150 max HR" ride. I had to ask Bill T to tell me what 150 meant to him in the way of MPH. For me, 150 is what I get when climbing a 15% grade. I can't hold it all that long. 135 is more like my avg HR. But then, I'm more than a few years older than he is. In the end, I purposed to do a core exercise routine early and then catch the light ride, and maybe add another loop at whatever pace felt good. It was a pleasant surprise to hear from Frank late Friday and find out that he meant to say he was "in" town and "available" to ride. As always, he wanted "at least" a metric and whatever option had more hills. Beyond that, it was up to me to map a route. "See you at 9:00 AM Saturday."
I threw up a club email invite to the hastily conceived plan, but did not expect much response. Jean got a particular encouragement to attend, but was not heard from. When I arrived at the store, only Frank was there. It was just Bill and Sam for the 150 HR ride as well. By 9:00, the air was 44F, but humidity was high. I put on a wind jacket over double layer wool, assuming that the jacket would come off at the 1st rest stop. It did, but only to let some sweat dry out. Then it went back on and stayed that way. It never felt warm all day, and with a brisk east wind, it was downright cold when pedaling into it. An old country boy was firing up a BBQ smoker along the side of the store. I saw Boston Butts and sausage links laying out on the grill. The chef said they'd be for sale come lunch time. Since we figured to be back around 1:00 PM, that sounded like a great idea to me.
The trees were largely still holding their leaves, but are well past their color prime. Still, there was a niceness to the scenery. Recent cold weather has taken the green out of the grass, and a definite feel of winter is creeping into the landscape. We saw a number of hawks up close today, low flying, and hunting for a meal in the scrub. We rode at decent pace most of the day. Store stops were at 18, 41, and 52 miles. Total stopped time including momentary snack bar pauses at corners was less than an hour. The pavement in Bullock County was atrocious. The idea crossed my mind that I should take a fat tired bike on this ride, but I really wanted to pedal Louise today. Here she is:
She's wearing 37mm tires in this picture, but actually only has 28mm rubber on presently. They're Conti Ultra Gatorskins, and have given about 3,900 flat free miles so far, but I should have changed the tires, or ridden the Saluki or Road Standard bikes, which have much more supple tires on. So, my dental fillings felt well rattled for two sections of 6 - 8 miles each, but otherwise, it was a great ride. The Sun didn't stay out long enough to make us feel warm, but it came out often enough to make it enjoyable scenery-wise. We saw Bill and Sam out on the roads twice, heading in opposite directions as we were, and while at the 3rd store stop, a long line of club racers went zooming past us on US 80. None looked familiar to me, but they were at a speed and distance that made recognition difficult. They greeted us enthusiastically, and we returned likewise. Patty was rumored to be tearing up and down the hills in our area, but like Nessie, she's tough to actually verify a sighting of. Speaking of hills, we climbed 2,062' of them on our way to completing 64.93 miles in 4:17 for a 15.1 average. As I like to say, "Within the advertised Range." Frank was a tad faster, as usual. We met a solo cyclist back at the cars, but he had no real interest in a club ride. Nice enough, but heavily scheduled already. What was even better was that we found the BBQ ready to eat! We each got some fresh pulled pork, Frank with bread and sauce, and yours truly without, and it was excellent. Despite my posting that this ride did not include a food stop, sure enough it did have some great food!
The early morning exercise went well. My usual exercises of chin ups, sit ups and push ups. Pull ups have migrated to alternate days along with planks. So all in all, a pretty kick butt kind of day exercise-wise. It was also the 22nd ride this year of 100 KM or longer. Pretty neat!