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

Monday, September 2, 2013

Closing out the summer of '13

It's Labor Day weekend. Yes, there are 3 weeks of calendar we still label "summer," but for most people, this is the segue from summer to fall. I was looking forward to the 3 days off and so far, it has not been a disappointment. The weather has dried out some and so I've been able to ride all three days. Rains held off until Saturday afternoon and after the ride today too. Although I got a little more Sun on Sunday than I wanted (as in, I failed to apply sunscreen) my legs feel energized from 4 rides in the past 5 days.

Work is still a "work in progress" adjustment-wise. I find I do enjoy driving around and meeting customers. I saw 40 the week before last in fact. Being in hotels though makes it hard for me to mentally set myself to exercise and ride with regularity. Funny thing is, it always feels good when I DO it. I'm not sure what's at play there between my ears. The 1st and 2d buildings that I sold for the new company will deliver this week, which is kind of cool. I'll be at both delivery sites to check them in. Other buildings are in progress and a couple more are promised from customers, all of which is encouraging. I enjoy my coworkers. They all have unique and interesting personalities. Our office manager is a riot with stories of her constant fighting with her older sister. They do a lot of things together and always squawk about it. It's just how they roll. Her stories about their adventures are so very entertaining.

The rest of my life stays busy too. I chair our Outreach team at church and we launched a local homework help / tutoring service to the community this week. A few sign up packs have been picked up by moms and we hope word of mouth helps get this going. Aimed at needy families, it's open to anyone in 1st - 6th grades.
When in GA working, I help out on Wednesday evenings at a local church's Pioneer Club. Last Sunday was a prison visit to a young man who I see about monthly. Last Saturday was also visitation for the family of a fine man and riding friend who passed away unexpectedly earlier in the week. I still work on fountain pens, write letters with them, prepare lessons and teach Sunday school.  You'd think with all that, as well as family time, that no rides could be worked in. The truth is that there are evenings that I just haven't been motivated to get out and pedal.

Last Thursday, I FORCED myself to get out of the hotel room and pull the bike out of the car. It was then I realized that no frame pump had made this week's trip. Murphy's Law determined that if there was a flat, it would be when the bike was furthest away from "home." I almost went back inside. NO, I told myself, "you can ride close by and if you flat, only have to walk a few miles." So I went all around the roads in an industrial park nearby and then climbed Booze Mtn. My plan was to climb, rest and then coast back. With a car behind me (not too close, and behaving with courtesy) I saw no where to pull off at the top and let it pass. So I went down the OTHER side and then paused at the bottom before turning around and climbing it AGAIN. Okay, Great hill work out in under 10 miles :) Back at the hotel, the manager asked me how far I rode and what a bike like mine would cost. We talked about Wal-Mart bikes vs. reliable bikes and I know he's thinking about it. He needs to get some exercise. He's already switched to almond milk based on my earlier suggestion about healthy diet. Mike also said if I ever had a flat and no fix, to call him and he'd retrieve me, which is nice to know.

Saturday, I posted a half century with a few hills in it and said I'd pass by the usual rally point if anyone else wanted to ride. Robert was waiting there for me, having pedaled over from Millbrook. We waited a few minutes and Frank (also from Millbrook) and Max came on their bikes as well. departing at quarter past the hour, we went back through Millbrook, and found John and his son Colin waiting for us at a 5 way stop sign. It turned out to be a nice little group. Drawbacks were the drenching humidity and the abundance of dogs. The dogs all retreated at the ringing of a bike bell, or when Frank roared in his best Sgt's command voice. The humidity however did not comply with our desire to go away.

Sunday, we had 9 riders for the "relaxer" outing. Michael and daughter Claire pedaled the basic 16 mile route, and the rest of us added another 8 miles of flattish back roads at a little up tempo pace. It was still baggy shorts and no pressure and the 24 miles we ended up with felt really good. "Look up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane!"  No, it was a glider being towed aloft from nearby Wetumpka Airport. It was neat to see, and the picture I snapped did not come out. Here however, is Walter looking back to see it.

That's Spiderman, AKA Scott in the lead, and Kelli between Scott and Walter. Scott rocks Spidey's kit and now also rocks a Scott bike too.  You can also see that it was a beautiful day to be out riding. Brian and B-I-L Perry came back out with us in their mountain bikes too. Brian was doing great until he ran out of steam. He also had some serious saddle problems. Turns out a bolt was loose and we fixed it when we rallied up at a stop sign.

Today was a hilly 30 miles in town that also featured some great flat riding too. The route is one that is usually heavily trafficked. Today being a holiday, roads were clear. Here is the usually life endangering McQueen Smith Rd:
We were only on it for a few miles anyway. Then down US 31 (also sparsely used early on a holiday morning) and then the big climb up CR 4. We worked our way to Indian Hills where Pam saw deer, and I saw two riders we knew heading the other way: John and Colin. No Indians spotted, but definitely hills.

Here's Ron climbing on the "Bluejay." It wouldn't be Ron without some special modifications and if you look closely, you'll see that Ron has mounted a straight MTB type bar on top of the original drops and then mounted aero bars on top of that. When will he add the folding chair and the desk?  Ron looks pretty relaxed climbing a steady 6% grade.

Cars gave us plenty of space. This was typical:

I tried to get 40 mph on the down side of this climb, but managed only 39.4. I can't tell you what happened, I wasn't watching the cyclometer, I was watching the road. It was almost there though.

All in all a fine weekend of rides. Now to hit a sale hopefully on shoes, and then grill some eats with the Cargill St branch of the family.

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