Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Everything is sore, but I feel pretty good

I rode over 50 miles today, for the first time since early November. (I'd gone 48 or 49 miles a few times, but somehow never cracked the 1/2 century mark). We climbed something over 2,000' and I managed a reasonable pace of 14. Even with stops added, I was well above what is needed for rando rides, which was my goal. My legs are sore (not as sore now, a few hours later than they were in the immediate aftermath of the ride) and my butt was VERY sore (although it's back to normal now too) from breaking in a new Brooks B-17, but I never felt "in extremis" the way I did all last late Summer and Fall after a ride. THAT is great news. Now I know that as I ride more, fitness and power will both improve. In a similar vein, I picked up morning exercises again and after falling from a peak (pre-infection) of 360 pushups (3 sets total) to (infection) 105 (same deal; 3 sets), I'm back up to 320 now 3 weeks removed from getting the abscess out. And similarly with my other exercises.

Today was cool to start, about 38F as the bike and gear found their way into the back of the Yukon. The Sun worked its magic quickly though. By ride start at 9:00, it was 46F. No jacket today, just a merino Tee under a wool blend jersey. Wool socks and wool hat, wool blend long finger gloves. A short finger set was packed to put on when the temps got high enough. I had the MUSA (Rivendell) long pants on again. I love those things! (Ordered another pair in fact as they are discontinued now - typical for anything you like at Rivendell - The other guys wore jackets. Frank took his off later in the day, Steve kept his on, lacking any jersey under it (just had a tee). We rode the route planned but rained out last week. I tried to talk some new faces into joining us, Marcia in particular, but they opted to ride elsewhere. Marcia was not sure about one of the climbs, and decided Club Lite (doing 32 miles and leaving an hour later) was a safer bet. I assured her that the hill after the Deatsville post office was very manageable and we would just "ease" up it together. I failed to mention that the Alpha Spgs Rd climb was much steeper (but shorter) as so was the one (and longer) on Old Prattville Highway. But I think she would have negotiated them all just fine.

We had Ron with us for the first 10 miles or so. Then he circled back to say hi to the Club Liters. Here's Ron on his re-purposed MTB. Triple handlebars, 10 water bottle mounts, a desk, a folding chair, what a ride!













There were some nice comments about the repainted Rivendell Road Standard. This was the longest outing on it since being re-assembled. The mechanical parts all behaved very well today. Very smooth riding bike. It was certainly no handicap to be on it.

This was at the "Boy's Store" in Slapout. Our first of 2 store stops today.

From here, we headed up across Lake Jordan towards Marbury. Passing our usual trun offs at Possum Trot Rd and Coosa River Rd, we pressed on the Tram Rd (or CR 68) and turned there instead. I don't think I've ridden this section of CR 68 beofre but it was just beautiful. I really want to go back there and ride it again. This route has a few change ups from our usual outings and it rides well. Mixes of flat and climbs, no rough roads and generally low traffic.







Most of the time Steve and Frank were ahead of me, but usually in eyeshot. We re gathered at stops and turns and would ride together again for a while. Here we are getting to the top of a hill. You always know when you reach the water tower, you're at the the top. It flattens out here, but we were climbing, honest!














While a lot of the grass is dormant, I was surprised at the amount of green still visible. You can some in the background of Ron's picture and here is a typical old country church we passed, next to a field still bright green.

This was a really nice day to be outside.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cool & Breezy

We had plenty of sun this weekend, but the temps stayed on the low side and the breezes made it feel cooler than it was. Most of the regular Saturday crew was slated to be otherwise engaged (it's both hunting and grand baby season, apparently) so I adjusted the the start time back to 10:00 for a more temperate experience. I picked a 44 mile local ride that I've done a few times with about 1,800' of total climb. This ride skirts 2 more difficult hills, in the hope of attracting some folks not quite on their hill legs yet.  It does include 1 stiff climb about 3/4 of the way through.

I pedaled over to the start, the first outing on the newly re-assembled Rivendell Road Standard. I got the frame and fork, well used, from someone in the PNW, over on the 650B list. Jon intended to build this bike up for his wife but the project didn't happen. It's a 54.5 CM frame, normally too large for me, but I know Riv geometry is such that you can usually sit on a large frame than you would otherwise.  After building the bike up in Jan 2009 as a 650B, I put several thousand happy miles on it before deciding it deserved fresh paint.  The paint job was done by Hill Clarke over at Airglow in Washington, GA. It took longer than expected, but came out nicely. Some of the painting touches were Hill's idea, some my son Alex's, and the basic scheme was mine.  Sharon suggested the green saddle and bar tape to pick up the dark green lines in the decals, which are hard to see in pictures. Design by committee and it came out great! Judge for yourself:

I wanted this first ride to be close enough to home that I could bail if something did not go according to plan on the rebuild.

When I got to the meeting area, I met Rick Mims, on his freshly repainted '74 Raleigh, new rider Jody, and my friends from church, Rick and Joan Clark. Rick and Joan have ridden the Sunday relaxers before but this was their first real road ride "out in the world."  Jody knows Mark over at Chain Reaction Cycles, and bought the Specialized Roubaix that Mark had and never used, other than as a display in hopes of generating some sales. Jody will make sure it does not just hang in a window, gathering dust.

There was a stiffer than forecast breeze and it was still cool at 10 AM when we started. Heading out into the wind, we looked for an assist coming back in. Pace was a comfortable 13 - 14 average most of the way. Rick Mims was hindered on hills with a 1/2 step double and no granny. He made it up all of them anyway. Joan didn't want to mess with that shifting thing so she was stomping some very tall gears up hills. Good thing she goes to the gym every day and has capable legs. By her 3rd or 4th hill, I think she found the brifter lever that engaged the smaller chain ring though :)  Here she and husband Rick are, motoring on Doster Rd after climbing the hill.

Rick seemed to have no trouble with any of it.  We turned out of the wind when we reached the SW limit of travel on Wadsworth loop and enjoyed a bit of a push on Golson Rd through Indian Hills. I got to know Jody a little better as he and I spent most of the time riding together. At one point, just because it felt good, I wound it up on the flat of Powell Rd and pulled at 25 mph. Not for long, but it was a joy to be able to motor again. It seems like forever since I've had any gas in the tank. Most of the time though, we were just enjoying the day. After the first little climb, we were certainly warm enough.  I wore merino skin tights under MUSA pants and was almost too warm below. A Riv merino Tee under a Joneswares Robinson L/S jersey was perfect up top. I took everyone's pulse at the Prattville store store (mile 28) to see who wanted to tackle our only rated climb of the day, or go around it. We'd have to go up a more gradual 2 mile climb to get to it of course. It was pretty unanimous that going around was just fine.  So we did the gradual up and then forked right instead of left. That gave us a total of 35 miles instead of 44, but we still climbed about 1,450'.  Since I pedaled to and from my house, I had 40 miles and 1,750' if the Garmin is to be believed. 

The bike behaved basically okay, but I did a little adjusting back at home. My seat was a little sore (no padding) from the initial ride on a new Brooks, but that's not unusual and will get better as soon as it breaks in a tad.

On Sunday afternoon (warmer than Saturday but still cool and with a breeze), there was the club relaxer ride, which was posted as family friendly. I am a fan of kid accessible rides. Start them out safely, riding properly from a young age and you develop good cyclists for a lifetime. We had 2 boys and a girl, and 11 adults along. 2 were  first timers, one was a 2d timer and one is an avid runner and almost never cycles. One of the new cyclists spilled while standing in the parking lot. She reached with her foot for her pedal to click in and missed. To be honest, I did not cover clip in during the pre ride safety check.  Fortunately she did not spill later while on the roll. Another rider had a flat front tire, which I changed quickly. I took her tube home to check for leaks and found none. She actually emptied the tube of air when she tried to add air to it, and didn't realize what was happening. I suggested that she learn to change a tube though. When everyone was good to go, we headed out on our 8 mile flat (mostly) route to the store in the next town. There we took a break and headed back. Our youngest rider, at 8, was a bit leisurely so the last riders took their time getting back. It was all good.  Lots of conversation and getting to meet new people. Some of similar interest and capability will pair off and find rides to do that suit.  I told a couple of the riders that Club Lite or some of our Prattville group rides are certainly in their reach. This day we traveled 16 miles at about 10 mph avg. Typical for a beginner outing.

It was an encouraging turn out and a delight to get so many people riding. As the weather gets milder, they will find plenty of opportunities to continue to stretch their legs and limits.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Keep it Down, will ya?

One of my resolutions that was coincidental to the New Year, was to address dental problem. Although it has never ached, an abscessed molar has been quietly leaching infection and causing lymph node swelling, low grade fever and general lack of zip. I wanted to give my immune system a chance to beat it, then I hoped some anti-biotics would subdue it, but in a pre-holidays visit to the dentist, I was told that only attacking the problem head on would fix it, and was sent off for a root canal. The endodontist   viewed xrays and said, "That tooth needs to come out." He marked my tooth's prognosis as "poor" following any root canal on his records and pointed out areas of infected jawbone and cracked tooth root visible on the film. Ah. lovely. So some anti-biotics to tamp down the nasties until after the holidays and then on Thursday afternoon, the infected impactor came out. My 1st ever tooth extraction, so I had no idea of what to expect.  After getting the pre-printed list of dos and don't and some extra gauze pads, I asked, "What about my Saturday club ride?" Wouldn't that be first on YOUR mind? "Don't go too far and don't strain too hard," was the reply. There is a healing clot of blood in the space formerly occupied by tooth parts and high blood pressure, heavy breathing, or sucking through a camelbak straw can dislodge that helpful natural item and cause a very un healthy and painful condition called "dry socket." After seeing pictures on Google of dry socket, I knew I did not want one in my mouth.

That leads to today's controlled pace ride. 30 ish miles at a slow pace. I was thinking 11 - 13 avg, tops. I brought the Saluki and carried water bottles (can squirt into the mouth) instead of the hydration pack. Surprisingly, the Club Lite gang opted in for this outing and so it was nice to see the Roeders and Jim Rickards up Millbrook way for a change. New guy Rick Mims came out on his just re painted to new colors '74 Raleigh. He's had it since new. Now it looks new again too. Red beauty with chromed accents. Here he is obviously enjoying it.

This was one of three new bikes on the trip today.  Glen Weldon just put together a Windsor Tourist, bought online. Almost the same green as the first run of Sam Hillbornes, or maybe the Redwoods, if you remember them from a half dozen years or so back. Glen spent a fair bit of time along the side of the road re-adjusting as the comfort demands of actual riding registered their complaints with the initial set up. I did wonder, at our mid way store stop, why his right pedal was mounted on the INSIDE of the crankarm though.  Another rider explained, "See, the pedal went on cross threaded, and no he's running it through from the back to chase the threads." That's a new one for me, and I'd have never thought of doing it.  Glen was still mumbling about tweaks he needed to get weight off his wrists, etc. I know it will be dialed in soon. And at least he got that required first forgot to unclip fall out of the way too.  Speaking of falls, everyone was getting comfy with the Earth today it seemed. We had a another new bike and this time a new rider along, 14 yr old Shelby on her MTB. She handled herself well on the bike 99% of the time. Here she is with Frank and Glen:

Notice Glen's skyward pointing brifters. He was trying all sorts of new things for wrist relief. I suggested raising the handlebars and rotating them back to normal.  Anyway, for 1% of the time, Shelby caught the edge of the pavement and it surprised her and she went plop. She bounced up as only the young can and after a red spots check (none) and some water and a rest, we were off again, with no further dirt interactions. She did the entire 34 miles in blue denim jeans. That's extra credit right there.

We saw hawks at very close range today. Temps were PERFECT.   Usual store stops and people chit chatted and I think generally had a nice time. I was able to catch up with John and Kathy Roeder a little. They shared info on a new campsite along the Chief Ladiga trail. It would be great to pedal to near Atlanta GA and back and be able to tent camp along the way.

I got purple bike envy and swapped bikes with Shelby at the 22 mile mark. I was surprised that it did not feel too bad for me, although she immediately could tell the difference when she rode the Saluki. Here I am trying to look cool. Something I will never quite manage, but hope springs eternal.

We had a good time, despite some headwinds coming back in. I felt well today, for the first time in months and had the sense of unlimited energy in the tank. I guess without an active infection site to fight against, you just have more energy to do other things. We'll see on the next outing, for sure!


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