One of the TGC (Tri-County Gastronomical Cyclists) rides last year was to Fat Girls Cafe in Billingsly, AL. We left at 6:30 back then, so we got there in time for a hearty breakfast. Today's ride departed at 8:00 AM and so we had our lunch meal there instead. They make a great BBQ. The route to the cafe is the same this year as last, but based on our experience with US 82 traffic on our initial journey, the return portion was re routed onto far quieter country roads. Far hiller too, I might add. 6 of us gathered at the high school: Frank, Joe, Steve, Pete, Tom, and me. 3 steel bikes and 3 carbon. 3 riders okay with some dirt road routing, 3 riders not at all ready to leave the tarmac. I'll leave it to you, dear Reader, to discern which is which.
The ride out had just a little excitment. Some young whippersnapper with a cheek full of snuff and a diesel dually pick-em-up truck got way too close to us in the lane on CR 40. Frank took a swing at the truck, and the driver told him that he was Franks #1 fan. Or, Frank gesterured for him to get over and give us space, and the little s+*% flipped our man the bird. I hoped we might meet up with him at the store, but no such luck. Without 5,000 lbs of Ford Truck under them, these guys are not very brave. (I speculate on snuff and toughness)
The INTENDED 1st store stop was Coach's in Old Kingston. When you have 6 older men though, it's a sure bet someone needs a bathroom just about any time one is at hand, so we pulled in at Poseys for two of our crew to tap kidneys. We did stop at Coach's and make sure we had water in our bottles for the long pull to Billingsly. I ate my breakfast bar on schedule and felt pretty good, energy level wise. It was all uphill from the school, and the stretch between the store and CR 24 would be as flat as this ride would get. At that, it was 1% to 2% average up grade for 8 miles. Pretty day and I snapped a few pics. Trying to use Picasa today and we'll see how I do.
Here is my typical view of the other riders for most of the day:
Proof that I participated and enjoyed it!
A special treat when we turned West on to CR 24 towards Billingsly: Fresh Asphalt!!!!
The shoulders are still dirt and that's all Steve could see as he neared the turn off. I am sure he muttered something under his breath about me and my attraction of difficult road conditions. He was far happier when he got there and saw no dirt on the trafic lanes.
We made it to the restaurant and ordered our meals. The food and the service were both great as before. We had the sisters of the 2 gals that waited on us last year, in the "It's a Small World" dept.
Here we are in the close quarters of the small cafe. Restrooms are outide on the side of the building, and the doors are not exactly solid.
Steve and Joe: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2nhpAgQVWaJkK6Yp4W6bgg?feat=directlink
Frank, Pete and Tom: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/INjhV5UJtaFG9dh8urGk6Q?feat=directlink
Leaving the Cafe, we started climbing in earnest. 3 cat 5 climbs, according to MapMyRide, and the Sun was now quite warm. Fortunately, no cramps at all today, though that was becuase I backed off anytime one seemed just around the corner. I had no dog issues, but apparantly Tom did. He was out far in front and somehow he spilled. I am not sure of the details, but a dog was involved. Here is his knee with the red badge of courage proudly displayed.
As smooth as CR 24 was, the 1st Cat 5 climb was rough, and at 15% grade, it wore on us as we climbed. From the top, I shot a picture back over my shoulder.
We often re grouped and I did ride WITH the others once in a while. Here we are in a tighter bunch, yes, going up a grade.
Most of the hills are due to the ride going back and forth up and down some ridge lines. Here I am near the top of one, looking back at another we were topping an hour before.
These are great guys and I truly appreciate riding with them, depsite the whines about hills and heat, dogs and dirt. No one has threatened to un-friend me on FaceBook yet. At least not in this group. :)
Oh, and here is a panda of the Patagonia shoes. What do you think, were they made for this bike?
70.15 miles (per Frank's Garmin). 4,320' of climb (per mine). Avg moving speed was 13.4. No flats, but Joe and I both dumped chains on the big hill. We probably just needed the excuse to rest a minute.