I posted a 45 mile local ride for this morning. 4 of my usual buds checked in to say that other things stirring and would not be riding. A couple of maybes from the club Face Book page were no shows, perhaps due to the 36F displayed on the thermometer. I pedaled from home to the start point and when no one else came, I decided this might actually be an okay thing. I changed the route along the way on a whim, which I couldn't have assumed possible in a group, adding a few miles, and a detour to Boldin Dam. It's at the south end of Lake Jordan and has a small hydro-electric generating station. The warm water and turbulence from the turbines is apparently good for fishing, as I saw several line casters taking advantage of the public area provided by Alabama Power.
I started out the ride with an un natural fear that I couldn't ride that far. It's mental of course. My legs still work. That was a good enough reason to go and ride, if only to prove to myself that riding is no different than it ever was. I was on my most comfortable bike, and had no faster riders that I would have to strain to stay up with. Despite being cold, it was sunny out and an inviting morning to spend time in the saddle. I wound my way out of Prattville through the old community of Rocky Mount. Not much there besides an no longer used cemetery and a bed & breakfast, which looked cute in the early light.
I wound my way through Elmore, and the huge swath cut through the farms and woods for a new gas pipeline is now rich green with winter rye grass. Here is my Saluki with some organic methane gas producers visible in the field behind. As it happens, neither the piped gas or the puffed gas is suitable to power the hound dog.
The wind was in my face most of the way out, coming from the NE at about 8 - 12, with gusts of maybe 15 coming off the open fields. This was okay as it would make a nice tail wind coming home. Right. Wishful thinking. Anyway, I made my way up towards the Slap out store along the original route posted and saw a sign for the Boldin Dam. I'd never been to it, so I took the road.
The dam parking lot provided the 1st rest stop where a Clif bar fueled me up and a tree in the adjacent woods (this is out in the middle of nowhere) was also useful.
I mentally calculated that if I returned by the normal Sunday relaxer route, I'd finish at about 50 miles, and so I went back that way. Lots of dogs today on Hogan Rd. I yelled at 3 sets of two as I made my way. No real problems, but annoying, and would have been trouble had I been daydreaming instead of paying attention. It was disappointing to turn South on Hogan from 111 and discover the wind shifting so that it was now blowing from the SE to S and harder than before. Good practice for staying in a manageable cadence and gear though. No one to draft behind so I settled in and just pulled steadily. It felt good. The Garmin says I ended up with 81 rpm avg (I've been working on getting my avg up for most of this year, instead of pumping in the low 70s) but I looked down and saw 85 - 95 a LOT. I was noticeably less tired than when I've tried higher RPMs before too.
I ran into some friends in a church parking lot, as they were getting ready to watch a local parade and we stopped to chat for a few minutes. Donna told me that her son Daniel loves to ride and at nearly 8 yrs old will soon be ready to come out on one of our kids rides. His little sister Emma Grace told me all about her bike too, which she said is green like mine. :)
The second snack stop was in beautiful downtown Elmore at the city park. You can just about see all of it in this picture. Really.
While my moving average was only 13.2 (1 to 1.5 mph might have been lost to the headwinds) my total avg (for rando calcs) was a decent enough 12 mph as I needed only very brief stops to eat and stretch. I'll keep that in mind when I plan my next RUSA effort.
All in all, a good day. The bike worked well. I cruised along Rucker Rd and chatted with God about the things on my mind and the folks whose situations are concern for me. That was time very well spent. All wool all the time was the order of the day. Swobo tee under an Ibex L/S jersey above, wool boxers, Jonesware shorts and wooly warm tights below. Fox River sox and a Riv cap, along with Giro wool blend gloves. Addidas Samba leather soccer shoes kept the feet cozy.
Proof I was out there today:
And a Saluki level view of the typical scenery we went by.
Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.
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