Last night was (the American Cancer Society) "Relay For Life," and our family captained the church team again this year. Sharon is the honcho, but with her work schedule this year, I did more than was needed last year. Alex filled in ably hauling tables and chairs and other sundries to and from the site we were given along the walking track at Village Green Park. We were a little concerned about our fund raising levels, but enough came in over the course of the evening to get us over our goal. We applauded the survivors as they took the first lap and fellowshipped with other visitors who came and went while we were there. The cookies we had to give away were a no go. No one would take them as they were offered. Too bad! They were very tasty and contained a neat little gospel tract as well. I appreciate all the effort that our several volunteer team members put out. I hear a new and different plan is afoot for next year.
The theme of fighting cancer continued today as Prattville was the venue for the Tour Autauga. Profits from the event go to the Livestrong anti cancer effort. I usually ride the metric option and this year was no different as far as that goes. What was different is that I rode to the ride from home and returned the same way. This added 14.5 miles, and more climbing. Max wanted in on the action, so I pedaled the two miles from our house to his to pick him up at 6:15. Max has a large garage, which has no cars in it. You can see I agree with his priorities though. The red/white number is Debbie's and the purple one is a grand kid's.
We headed off into the still cold air, and took Main St, as the early hour = low traffic. The 1st hill warmed us up a little too. We passed out of towners with bikes on racks and a couple followed us to Spinner's Park for the ride start. It can be a pain to locate if you have never been there before. Frank and Joe showed up and took off early on their century ride. Chris attempted his FIRST century but left with the main body. Hopefully, when they get down near the Alabama river by the boat launch ramp off CR 1, he will watch for fish hooks. He punctured two tubes that way a few weeks ago. Joel and Tom were there, and set to do the metric. At the first rest stop, as Joel was saying how good the ride felt, I told him to go the 100. "Do you think I can do it?" Refer to the picture in last week's entry and judge for yourself, dear reader. In any event, The two of them were long gone by the time we returned to the rest stop.
Turn out seemed light, especially given that a number of other rides were cancelled today due to storm damage, but we did get some out of town visiting riders. One, a distinguished older gentleman looked very familiar. From Muscle Shoals, and we had indeed pedaled together in prior years. Good to see him again. On a new bike too. Max and I rode together and left with the main body. I was asked to lead an opening prayer of invocation and was blessed to do so. I avoided calling down fire and brimstone, as the weather was sunny and nice all day. Other than a bit more wind that was needed.
I rode the Saluki today, and it performed fine. This was more or less a test ride for the set up to be used next month on AMBRA (http://amba1.com/) Here it is, ready to go. No water bottles because I wore the Kelty Hydro-Pack. Loved it. Grand Bois Ourson tires at 65 psi. Friction shifting lets the bike use Campy Chorus up front and Shimano XT in back.
The ride was fine, and parts were very scenic. Here is Max taking in the vista from the highest point of the ride. All the rain a few week sago has really greened everything up. We actually could use more now.
We spotted the elusive Roger Burnett, otherwise known as the bike club president, at rest stop # 1, 20 miles into the course. This is like finding an Ivory Billed Woodpecker in your back yard. To say that there seems to be a lull in club activity is like saying that the Sun becoming a red giant star might be bad for property values on Earth.
Roger actually stayed with us from this point on. In 20 miles we returned here and called it Rest stop 2. By then the wind had kicked up from morning calm to flags straight out and in our face for 20 miles. Roger took a turn pulling in to the wind on the return to Autaugaville and acquitted himself well. I pulled a couple of times too, but Max did the yeoman's job. We need to start calling him Frank. He just motors on, regardless of hills or wind and is generally unflappable. Kinda like Frank! While riding caboose on that train after I rotated off the front, I snapped a pic as proof of my attendance.
I really did not need to do this, as Bill Duke (the event organizer) once again had a neat surprise in store for me. When we reached the 1/2 point, there was this in the road:
I rode the route in the first year of the Tour and was dead last pack to the cars. Bill knows that I get excited about bikes and rides, even though I do not have the engine needed to go fast. I used to have race bikes and was not appreciably quicker then than now. I am now appreciably more comfortable on my bikes however. The next year, Bill had this painted in the road, and has been doing it ever since. This is only the second time I've taken a picture of it, and it caught me be surprise today. Made my day, of course. With Max and Roger to share the pulls with, we even passed some riders and were not close to last in, even tough we were towards the back setting out. You may notice between the two pictures another reason for better performance today. I'm carrying the equivalent of one less touring bike up all the hills.
The metrics; 75.6 miles, 14.4 avg pace, 3533' (per Garmin. Ride with GPS has it at 3750') of climb with 17% being the stiffest grade. 77 rpm cadence avg, which is slower than I want to be at (84) but better than where I was (72). No speed records attempted or broken today. I dropped a chain inside on a shift down going up Mt Autauga, had to dismount to replace it. There was just no way to get momentum and re-chain it while riding as I have done before.
So remember to hate cancer, care for those dealing with it and do your part to help with advances in medicine. (or diet, as Sharon is getting me to study up on. If her new vegetable products diet-The China Study- which I am reading, could get me 3 mph more in avg pace, I'd be on it in a flash)