Sometimes I forget to mention when we have new riders in the group that if we ride together, there is a small chance that their names may show up in a blog entry. The probability increases if anything interesting happens on the ride of course. Like today. We had two new riders at the Sunday afternoon Social ride. Leslie, a fit young woman in town for an Air Force school of short duration had no trouble blending in with that portion of our group which always says, "I'm taking it slow today. This is a recovery ride" and promptly jumps off in an 18 mph breakaway I did not see her again during the ride. Karen, a retired college professor who rode with us once last year and somehow found her way back again, and who may not have pedaled in between, was more of a true beginner rider.
Karen found a new looking older rail trail bike at Re Ride Cycles and they put new rubber on and cleaned it up for her. What they apparently did not do was put the rim tape back on over all the spokes. Her tire went flat shortly after we started, and Karen remembered that Re Ride commented on having a tube go flat just after they replaced the original. We (Karen, me and Ron who chose to stay with us today) pulled off into a side street and took a look at it. The front wheel featured a nice quick release, the back one featured nicely chromed nuts. Hmm. Enter Ron, who just may be the only cyclist in 3 counties who (when riding the Blackhawk Bike) has an Oxy-acetylene torch, a ball pein hammer and oh yeah, an adjustable crescent wrench. That last item did the trick. Then we realized that Karen is rocking 700 x 35 touring tires while Ron and I are cruising on 26" MTB wheels. Hmm. Ron saves the day again! (The "S" is almost visible under his neon yellow vest!) He has a 700 x 23 tube. Now, Re Ride had Karen set up with Schrader tubes, but Ron's tube is a Presta. To try to pump her the first time, I flipped the innards of my frame pump around from my Presta to her Schrader and re inflated her. It didn't last so we did a tube change (which Karen found very instructional) and I switched the pump back. Since the tube was so much smaller than the tire, and since we had only 5 miles to go back, I pumped it up to very low pressure, and we reassembled everything.
It was about this time the Karen noticed the absence of her car keys. This was also about the time I mentioned the concept of "blog material." The keys had departed her company somewhere along the way but she hadn't a clue where. Since she lives in the Eclectic area, driving home was her preference. Okaaayyyy. She thought she might just walk back and look for the keys but I could see the road just fine from a bike seat and asked her to consider pedaling. We had a better shot to get home by dark that way too. Ron suggested that he ride on ahead and work his way back with the vehicle. I had a hunch though that the keys fell out during one of Karen's dismounts, perhaps when she walked up our hill. So Ron went on ahead and Karen and I pedaled along while scanning the road edge. It was about this time that Karen lost track of where HER road edge was and found herself cycling down a ditch. I encouraged her to stay calm and keep steering and she actually did just fine. Reinforcement though that things can get away from you quickly if you lose focus.
Karen is a wonderful raconteuse and her stories about everything from college football ("hook 'em Horns!") to her days at AUM (she knows 3 of my teaching AUM pals) to dealing with grandkids were highly entertaining. I made me want to pedal slower than we were just to prolong the telling of the tales. Well, that was not to be as Ron came pedaling back, to announce finding the missing keys, where they were surmised to have been dropped. What a relief for this bit of providence! We made the parking lot successfully and just a few minutes prior to the return of the High Rollers. The always pleasant post ride banter ensued and we logged it as a nice way to spend an Alabama afternoon.
Karen asked that I make sure to point out that the only time she was off her bike, it was by her choice. :)
Saturday saw a little longer ride for me. I borrowed the phrase "designated last place finisher" from swift of foot friend Heather, and it removed all sense of pressure to stay up with anyone. This was a Ride for Sight, hosted by the MMS team ( a local tri athlete training group) and benefited the Lions Club. I rode the "40" mile route with Connie who is rapidly extending her range. She's quicker than I am (who isn't?) on the flats but I ride more hills so I had a chance to stay even with her there. It was a delightful day, with great company, a pretty route and tasty BBQ at the end. Even as the sweeper, my moving avg was not far off 15 and that's as quick as I go generally speaking.
All in all a great weekend to ride. Hope to see you all on the roads soon!
Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.
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