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.


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