Although I rarely get sick, I was saddled with some malady making the rounds for about a week, two weeks ago. Feeling better for the 1st time last Saturday, I tried to ride but had to cut it short and only did 16 miles. Sometimes it just does take longer to get back to 100% I suppose. Our Saturday ride this week was a hilly 38 mile route that Frank and I have done a few times and enjoyed each time. I figured I could ride to the start from home and add 14 more miles and some more hills, and that's what happened. Joe emailed to say he was out of town, and no word from Frank, so his attendance was not expected either. Ray may have been away too. Ron keeps his whereabouts a secret that even Wiki-Leaks cannot expose.
Pete and Max pedaled over to our house early, and the 3 of us headed from here over to Prattville High School to meet Steve. As far as I knew, he was the only other rider coming. as it happens, that was a bad assumption. Max was wanted elsewhere, so his ride was strictly to the school and back home. Pete and I met Steve and we headed out on the 38 mile route. On our way to the school, we came upon 2 runners heading towards us on Powell Rd, a man and a woman. We were moving along smartly, and I was just about to pass them when my brain registered, "Derek & Kym!" I've never met either, but they sure looked like their pictures on DailyMile.com! When Kym yelled, "Bruce!" that sort of solidified my thinking on the subject. One of these days, we'll actually shake hands, but in the meanwhile, we all encourage one another through postings on our workout reports.
After considering the wind, which was light, I decided to do the hills first, since we would be heading home into a slight headwind. That is the reverse direction from the way the it's marked on MapMyRide, but I knew where I was going. Always like to tackle the tougher stuff on fresher legs, so that was the plan. With most of the climbing behind us, we paused at the Old Kingston store and noticed 2 riders coming from where we were headed. We waved as they turned north on CR 21, not recognizing them. A minute later they turned around to come and say hello. "Is this the Saturday morning club ride from the High School?" they asked. Oops. It was Tom and Joe. Tom rode with us once a few weeks ago on a beginner ride, but Joe was unfamiliar to me. Not so with him however. "Hi Bruce, we rode together about 3 or 4 years ago on the Tour Autauga. You were on a Riven-dale bike or something. It was very cool looking." Wow. I pointed to the bike, 'There it is," embarrassed not have an equally good memory, but pleased Joe remembered. They had been at the high school, but at the other end of the parking lot and we did not notice them. Oh well :( Maybe we'll get another chance to try something together.
The ride from there was supposed to be relatively downhill, but a very stiff headwind came up and made it seem like a lot of work. I will say that at mile 37 (of my 54) I had a distinct awareness of everything feeling "right" again. Breathing, metabolic rate, leg muscles, cadence, were all in sync for the first time in maybe 3 weeks. It felt GOOD. I actually picked up my pace as we went and climbed stronger at the end than at the beginning. Steve was riding well steadily throughout, while Pete did well for longer than before on the hills before easing back a tad. For a guy who worked hard to get just 12 miles about a month and a half ago (returning to riding after being off a long while due to illness), Pete is really coming on strong.
The Giro long finger gloves that Alex presented me with for a BD gift work very well. Wool blend shell with light fleece lining. The 37 F temp was handled by a Joneswares base layer under a Spot brand jersey. Ibex duo wool shorts and Wooly Warm tights below. Due to damp air, I started the ride with a buff on my neck, but pulled it off at the 1st store stop. It actually warmed to 60 by ride end, and I unzipped the jersey, but left everything on, including a Rivendell wool cycling cap.
Stats: 54 mi, 2,861' feet of climb, 14.6 avg. I needed this ride, and was glad to have had it.