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 - http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/ab3.htm) 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.