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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

It's been a nice weekend. First, It's nice to live in a country where our freedom has been secure for so long. That freedom comes at a price though, and the price is the service of the members of our armed forces. Sometimes, the price is paid with their lives, and that is really the remembrance of Memorial Day. On both bike rides this weekend, I enjoyed the company of either present or past members of branches of the US military.

On Saturday, Frank and I were the only show ups for a new route, the South Autauga County Loop. All the roads have been pedaled before at one time or another, but this is the first time we put them together quite this way. I really liked the layout and this will be a keeper. Mostly quiet roads, and even an uphill mile or so of dirt road! Unfortunately, our buddy Steve H was not on hand to fully appreciate the rural ramble. He so loves to take his carbon Orbea with 18 mm tires on dirt. NOT!  We smiled though as we imagined what he would say as he rapidly scooted by to get done with that section as soon as possible. It really was better than some "paved" roads we've been on. No washboard or ruts.  Frank handled it on his race bike (28 tires?) just fine.  I had 38mm Pari Motos on and just floated along.
Plenty of climb and a couple of store stops. The blooms along the roadside were fragrant and we spent more time enjoying the scenery and less time staring at cyclometers. The old coach (Autaugaville HS BBall) at the Kingston store was in good spirits when we arrived and we chatted a few minutes. He asked me where we've been lately, as our rides have not brought us by his way. We ended up with 43 miles.

Today, 5 of us met at the high school and did the Memorial Day ride I do almost every year. Ray B took off on his own, and ended up with 103 miles at 16.7 avg (if I interpret his posting aright). Neil rode with us for about 50 miles, but got a call from his sick missus who needed him back at the ranch so he peeled off. Russ, Ray G and I pressed on. The winds were calm at the start but boy did they pick up. Stiff headwinds for most of the second half of the ride. That, and steep climbs in strong sun made for quite the work out. Russ did not look like he was working hard however. ("My average HR was 140" he told us afterward) but he had to climb all the same hills we did! Maybe the tri-athlete thing helps? :)  Anyway, he was great and hung around with us slower guys looking like he was just enjoying the workout, regardless of pace. Ray was battling a balky front shifter that wanted to dump his chain on the inside when he went to he small ring. I suggested "trimming" the lever instead of pushing it and that helped. After the ride I pointed out the travel limit screws for him to adjust. Just shy of 61 miles today and LOTS of hills and LOTS of wind. It took as long as the ride afterwards for my legs to come 100% back. They were okay for a trip with Sharon to Fresh Market grocery though. I scored some Sumatran coffee beans AND Sharon got me a bag of Good N Plenty. :)

In between the rides, I did our yard, and hobnobbed with our son while he got under his car and our daughter-in-law's to change the oil and otherwise poke around. My job was to sit and sip a cold beverage and occasionally hand him a rag or something. It was a nice visit with the kids actually.

Oh, Saturday after the ride, Sharon and I went car shopping. Our friend Mel suggested a certain Montgomery dealer from positive past experience, and we went there. We found a car I liked, we agreed on the price and we drove it home. I've had a take-home company car for the past 16 years, but my current employer does not work that way. I will use a company car this coming week for example to travel on company business, but the car stays in a car pool when not on business, so I need wheels of my own. I'm a little excited as this is my first personal vehicle since a '96 S-10 we bought in Plant City, FL. Our car buys since then have been for Sharon (Saturn, Hyundai) or Alex (Scion). I told Sharon she could have the "new" car (it's a very clean 2010 model Toyota) but she is happy with and wants back her Sonata. No problem.
I also worked on Gary's antique, err classic, Raleigh. Early 90s with aluminum top and down tubes and chrome moly everything else. It was all original and all the original running gear was orange in color. Not for style, but from rust. I gave him a list of parts to collect and he got most of them, and I went to work. New brake pads front and rear, new chain, new shifter cables, new rim tape, new tubes and new tires. I sprayed some stuff on the freewheel and WD 40 on the nuts and bolts. The bike will be fine, re-purposed for his son.

Sunday morning, I filled the pulpit at our church. I got a little disconnected in my thinking, but enough people got the message I was trying to bring that I think it was okay. What I lacked in organization, I made up for in brevity. Brevity is always generally popular in sermons. The concept was, when reading MT 25:40 (.. 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.') do we know what God means by "the least of these?"  That is, we tend to classify based on our per-existing mental filing systems, which may not jive with how God's economy works. My point was that while immediate physical charity (expressed in a number of ways) is laudable, it is sharing the eternal truths to those who are lost and lack them that is the better gift. (John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." )  Living water being a better gift than regular water, and etc..

So it's been a GREAT weekend. I head out tomorrow on my 1st sales swing for the new place, which is exciting and I have some bids that go in this week too.  Of course, what would be really great would be if something SELLS.


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