With a biking vacation coming up in just two weeks, I'm wanting to be confident in my legs. A century ride sounded good to me for this weekend's outing, and so I mapped a ride to Red's Schoolhouse Restaurant from home. Almost exactly 100 miles round trip. Not everyone was as eager to spend that much time in the saddle yesterday, so we moved the start location down to Pintlala and made a 70 miler out it instead. I toyed with the idea of pedaling to Pintlala from home, and then doing the ride, and would have if Max had made the trip down with his truck. That way, if I was too tired after the main ride to pedal another 32 miles home (134 total +/-) I could have just tossed my bike in his truck. He was otherwise engaged however, so 70 miles it was to be. After spending most of the way back from Red's into a stiff headwind, 70 worked out for the best anyway.
There were two rides leaving at the same time from Pintlala. In addition to our food finding excursion, the skinny people on carbon bikes were doing the same distance, over a flatter route, at higher speed and with only 1 store stop. Most are old friends, and it was good to shake hands and say hi in the parking lot. Ron rode down from Prattville to greet everyone, but then turned around and headed back, having a morning commitment to get back to. Walter and daughter(?) took off just as I was pulling into the parking lot. We passed them coming from the opposite direction out on the road later, so I am guessing those two did about 20 miles. Joel ("King Tut") came by and I hooked him up with the other group. I haven't heard from him yet, but I'm sure that was a good fit for his riding style.
So, the Red's ride turned out to be just 3: Frank, Tom and I. The rains moved on through before dawn, leaving damp roads, cool calm air and some partial overcast. Pretty good riding conditions actually. The ride out was uneventful. Lots of vultures and a loud chorus of cicadas everywhere we rode. There must have been a successful mating season 17 years ago, because there is quite a buggy bounty now!
Our pace heading to Red's was reasonably quick, maybe 16.5 - 17.5 average, although we paused once or twice at a stop sign for saddle area relief. I stopped at the high point of the trip, Mt. Pisgah Baptist church to snap a few pictures. Here is the church with its old stone fence and the view out over the valley we just came up out of.
I had just put everything back in my backpack and started to pedal again, when my cell phone rang. The ring was the unique one assigned to my son Alex, so I stopped, tore off the hydro-pack and grabbed the phone out of the pocket. He had gone into work to get ahead on a project and set the alarm off. His memory of the alarm code was faulty, and could I help? We got that taken care of, and I started off again!
Next stop was Red's. My last visit there was in the Fall, and I remembered the place as opening at 10:30. We got there at 10:50 and it was still closed. There were others waiting too, so I didn't fret much over it. They opened at 11:00 and we enjoyed our buffet lunch. I didn't think the food was as good as on prior visits, but it was still good. While we were there, we refilled our water as well. A highlight of the meal was when Tom noticed that a table condiment label read "Bruce's Hot Peppers". The picture is fuzzy, but you get the idea.
I was pleased to find that my jersey was completely dry by the time lunch was done (30 minutes). Can't say enough good stuff about wool. I was comfortable early when it was in the 60s and overcast, and again later when the Sun came out and it was in the 70s. This jersey is a Joneswares and a favorite. The shorts were Smartwool Rambition, and I think they are the best for fit and comfort of any I have tried. (Joneswares, Ibex, Kucharik, Swobo are others I have tried). The cap is NOT wool, but the socks were!
After lunch we set out for home, and found that the wind had kicked up. It was either in our faces, or quartering into us just about the whole 31 miles back. Good work out! It slowed us down some however. There's nothing like cresting a hill and meeting a 20 mph gust face to face, I'll tell you.
All in all, it was a good ride. We generally rode together, but at times each of us was ahead or behind, as we adjusted our own pace to how we felt at the moment. I was pleased to end the ride with no cramps, good hydration and feeling like I could continue on, as long as I stayed at a maintainable pace. I was careful about what and how much I ate for lunch and had no stomach issues on the way home, while feeling sufficiently fueled. The small piece of chocolate pie was a quick sugary boost, to be sure.
No ride on tap for next weekend, as I'll be helping my son move most of his stuff into the house he expects to close on this Tuesday. Mixed feelings there for sure. Proud of him, happy to see him start off on his own life (isn't that a parent's job? to nurture him to the point that he can successfully leave the nest?) delighted to get my space back here, but already missing him. Then in a another week, he goes to get his fiancee Alisha and move her and her 4 yr old son Kael into the house. Alex will actually still live at home until their August wedding, but he'll be over there, a LOT.
There will be plenty of miles when Max & I do AMBA. More on that to come. ( http://amba1.com/ )