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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back to Fat Girls BBQ

About once each summer, we ride over to Billingsly AL which is known mostly as a pit stop on the way to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Across the street from a Texaco convenience store is a small squarish building with a sign telling you that proprietors are not Vogue model slim. The owners are friendly and the food is good, so repeat visits are fine. It's a 70 mile round trip from Spinners Park downtown, but Robert asked to start at Baptist Health so that pushed it to 80. We left later than a normal Saturday ride, 8:30, so that we would arrive at lunch time. As it happened, we got there at 11:30 so lunch was timed right. It got us back later than we would like though.

Robert, Rick, Ray, Frank and Max started out with me, and we followed a slightly less demanding than usual climb to Posey Crossroads, our 1st store stop. It was demanding enough to change Rick's mind about doing the ride though. He told us to continue on but was reversing field and heading back home. The day started with overcast and humid weather but the Sun came out while we were enjoying the delightful gentle up grade on CR 21. Not to far out from Billingsly, Max had a rear flat and we pulled over to change it. Max carries at least two if not more CO2 units. "Does anyone have a frame pump?" was how he addressed the situation however. My pump turned out to have a sticking lock lever, but it worked after a while. At Frank's urging, a CO2 cannister was used and my pump topped it off, to replace the gas Max sprayed everywhere but in the tube. Ray held the bike while Max worked. At some point in the day, we finished and moved on.  We climbed a stiff hill up CR 37 and earned our reward!

Frank has his KOM jersey on and he earned it too. I debated on what and how much to eat, choosing a baked potato topped with chili. I salted it well too. Lunch took about an hour and then we went to the C-store and refilled our backpack reservoirs and bottles. Finally, we hit the road and wondered if any of the wandering rain cells we could see would come our way. At our return leg store stop in Old Kingston, Robert was starting to feel some cramps and he called to see about a lift back. No answer, so he saddled up and rode some more. It was then that our rain questions were answered as we ran up on a purple wall of water, blowing at us horizontally. It felt good temperature wise, but we were glad to be through it when we came out of it about 4 miles later. At a store under renovation but not yet open, we regrouped to wipe off our glasses, etc. Robert tried the phone again and found success this time. From there it was very familiar territory and we just pedaled on in. About 4,500' of climb in total, some of it in the 14% range, but most in the 4% - 9% bracket.

The weather forecast had been for 70% chance of showers and the early radar showed some red stuff to the north. I texted Max and Frank and they voted to go for it and I'm glad we did. I gave up on the ride a few weeks ago about 6 miles shy of the finish, and that cast doubt in my mind about whether I could ride anymore. I know, silly. I was never very tired at any time yesterday on the ride and did not need a nap when I got home. My only issue was leg cramps starting just after the Old Kingston store stop, but I pedaled trough them, slowing down some when I needed to, and they never locked up on me. I hydrated okay, but forgot to add some salt. Will do that next time.

I thought about an online acquaintance who passed away this week. A randonneur from Seattle who lost a battle with cancer. Would have enjoyed meeting and riding with him. He liked steel bikes and leather saddles.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

With apology to Johnathan Sebastian...

A lyric from "What a day for a daydream" goes, "and fall on my face on somebody's new mowed lawn." Which is kind of how today's ride shaped up. But first, a recap of the week!

Sharon has up and down days, but the march is generally forward with the new knee. The most problematic items left are not knee related. Something in her medications seems to be making it very hard for her to sleep. After a day or two of little or no rest, she is not a happy camper. The other issues is that serious deep tissue bruise caused by the hospital bed (specifically the metal position adjusting mechanism which the worn out mattress pad did not properly cover). It seems to be shrinking very slowly. She brought it up when they called to get her satisfaction survey, but I wonder if the info will get the weight it deserves. Her needs are not always regular and predictable so I don't always assume I can make a ride. Of course, weather chimes in too. Tuesday, we had an inch of the wet stuff. Between the two, I didn't make either afternoon ride this week. That was more than made up for though by being off Wednesday and getting in a holiday ride in the morning.

We rode some easy hills, arrived downtown in time, and took a place in the city parade as part of the Dept of Leisure Services. We chatted up the local BMX track owner, various other local worthies and one guy wearing a old time style sandwich board who hoped to be voted in as a worthy (mayor). Tough to read the BIC pen on the signs, so I asked him what his platform consisted of. "Sunday liquor sales!" Well alrighty then.

 Here we all (riders. no sign wearing mayoral candidates) are in a picture taken by a city employee.

Prattville Area Cycling Enthusiasts

I know. That is not a wool jersey, but in keeping with the theme of the day, I had to pull out an old US Postal team shirt. Funny, it was so "Fred" when Lance was winning on that squad, but it was just fine on July 4th this year. The shorts and socks are wool. And while we're at it, yes that is a British Rapha hat. Fortunately, the Union Jack and Old Glory share colorways.

After the parade, we kept on trucking and rode some more miles. It was a really good day.

The plan for today was to get a 6:30 start and do a 1/2 century. Max and I would ride to/from home and make it a metric. I wanted to get back to a pretty piece of road in NW Elmore county that we haven't ridden in a while, Tram Rd. So, of course, it was raining this morning. Not being in Seattle or Portland, Gump riders (The Gump is a local nickname for Montgomery) do not willingly start out in rain. Ever. Sooo, I just posted a   "let's wait a bit and ride between 8:00 and 8:30" note. The storm moved through and Max, new rider Kim (visiting parents from Atlanta), Lola, and I took off in a light sprinkle and heavy overcast. I was in all wool so I didn't mind being a little wet. I texted Marcia, who rode from her place to the 1st store stop in Elmore and met us there. Lola decided that her engine was in low gear today and decided to about face and head back. So net gain of zero on that one.

We enjoyed a low traffic, if cloudy and sprinkly ride up to store # 2 in Slapout. Just about 1/2 a mile prior, a dog trotted out from his yard and ran along side us. Still chomping on his breakfast while running. He ran all the way to the store. We parked our bikes and ignored him. We went in and bought stuff, used the facilities and took our usual break. One elderly lady opened the front door and in trotted the dog.  Somehow they tossed him back out. Some kind of lab-ish, pit bull - ish mix and not very young looking. We left the store and headed north to Jordan lake. You guessed it, our 4 legged peloton member was still running alongside us. Someone yelled at him from a roadside business, "Hey Duke!, Go home!!"  Apparently, Duke is not unknown in Slapout, AL. Duke not only did not go home, Duke kept pace with us. a couple of miles up teh road, another dog appeared, and Duke started to criss cross the road a little. On one of these the moron dog  STOPPED right on front of me. That's when I picked the wet grass to right over the coarse chip seal under me as a landing spot. (fell on my face in somebody's new mowed lawn. Not literally of course.) I did the tuck and roll correctly, and nothing on me or the bike was damaged. I dropped the chain and had some wet dirt stuck to me, but that was it. I YELLED at Duke and told him to go home. We all know how effective that was. Anyway, with a good downhill ahead, we finally lost Duke when we got to the lake. I bet he was sad to see us go. We may have been the most interesting thing to cross his radar in a while.

We made the turn on to Tram and it was peaceful as I remembered from our last visit. Mostly downhill, there was just one good up. That was all Marcia needed to know her motor was out of gas. She walked up the hill and asked me exactly where were we, so she could get her husband to meet us and give her a lift back. She remounted and kept pedaling and we waited for the ride at a C-store reached in just a couple of miles. Everyone enjoyed chit chat and it was not big deal. Max had a dry rag and we were able to wipe off our water spotted glasses. After seeing Marcia off, Kim, Max and I set back out on the return leg. Kim is young, fit, and fast. You know, runs marathons and stuff. I'm old and slow. But she seemed to enjoy turning the pedals and we hope to hear from her again someday. Max made sure he could see me even when he was ahead. My average for the day was my usual range, and for most of it I felt really strong. We made it back to the start in good order and without mishap. I had an avg of 14 mph and we climbed 1,948' Almost all in the last 10 - 12 miles. I never did use my granny either. I took a triple just to be sure I had one if needed, but the compact double would have worked fine too. 34 instead of a 36 for the climbing ring too.

So, a good ride in wet stuff, and I have a new furry acquaintance to boot.

Blog Archive

The Pace Line