It was worth being wary of, as a strong squall line moved through last night. Several tornadoes touched down in a swath that ran SW to NE from the Mississippi line towards Atlanta. One that touched down north of Prattville killed a person in sparsely populated Boone's Chapel. It's on the northern portion of CR 59 that we do not ride on (dirt road) regularly, although I have taken a country bike on it before. The skies are clearing now, so our planned excursion to the Chief Ladiga Trail is still a go. Some people that I don't normally ride with but know from FaceBook or DailyMile are going and I am looking forward to it. A rail trail, the challenge will come from 14 mph crosswinds with gusts to 34. I will NOT be turning east towards GA past Piedmont, AL, as I do not care to have to return west into the aforementioned winds. So it will only be 38 - 40 miles. I'm hoping for company and conversation, mostly.
Our Tuesday/Thursday evening rides are officially running at 6:00 PM now and 8 riders attended the other day. Although they leave me in the dust on the flats, I do catch many of them on the climbs. My average was 15.7 which is very good for me. One new rider had a flat on Tuesday, a remnant of a fish hook poked a hole in his tube. We were delayed changing it. The same fellow was with us last Saturday, and got a flat on that ride from the original, main section of the same fish hook. Apparently, he did not check carefully to get it all out of his Specialized Armadillos. You can guess what his club nickname is now, right? Also on Tuesday, a rider tipped over and fell trying to shift gears while ascending a 20% grade. I think he may have inadvertently gone to his big ring instead of the little one. He couldn't un-clip and went plop on the pavement. A little skinned up, but otherwise okay. When you are struggling at max power up a hill, and you have to get your shoes out of the cleat clips, it can be really tough. Speedplays are supposed to be better at this than Looks or Shimanos. I don't know, as I do not clip in. So, I just put my foot down, and don't fall :)
Last Saturday, we had a great ride in our alter-egos as the Tri-county Gastronomical Cyclists. Franks' idea was to pedal from Prattville to east Montgomery and grab lunch at Red Robin, a burger joint with a wide menu and sporty feel. It was new and different to all of us except him, and fun to pedal where we have always driven before. Back roads all the way, and no tolls for bikes required on the bridge over the Alabama River either. Bill and Max showed up early and attended our church men's breakfast first and we all rode to the bike shop from there to pick up any other riders. A nice gas-free day.
I've been threatening Sharon that I want to start repainting the frames on my road bikes. The newest one (a 2007 Rivendell Rambouillet) has over 7,000 miles on it and the other 3 are all older. I'm not sure where to send them though, or what colors I want. I've seen some stunning colors on bikes in the Cyclofiend albums ( http://www.cyclofiend.com/cc/2006/cc081-johnprice0206.html for example). I think when I get back from riding on Memorial Day Weekend, I'll take one bike apart and send it off, then when it comes back, do another, etc. Since it takes months usually to get your frame back, this process will span a year, at least. While the parts are off the bike being re-painted, they can be thoroughly inspected, serviced, and replaced if worn. I can make any running gear changes I've wanted to get around to as well. I suppose the 1995 Road Standard will be up first. Or maybe my own '05 Saluki. Max and I are riding AMBA (Alabama's Magnificent Biking Adventure http://www.amba1.com/ for several days in the week prior to Memorial Day. We intend to tent camp and ride each day)
In the miscellaneous notes category, some cheapo, discontinued color, Patagonia Boaris shoes from RueLaLa.com continue to be outstanding for riding use. Firm sole provides foot arch protection if stomping the pedals, while being compliant enough to walk in off the bike very comfortably. You can find these discounted at various other online venues too. (Here, for example: http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4092474)
Have a great week, everyone, and enjoy the clean smell in the air after the storms!