It was a pleasant outing and I enjoyed the rideshare conversation up and back (90 mins each way +/-) as well as chitchat with a variety of local and out of town cyclists who I fell in with at different points along the way. I met a couple of new people including a fellow Rivendell rider from the Auburn area. My pace was a bit slower than usual, and I finished refreshed and ready for more. I reminded myself to do this more often :) The post ride food was very good and I was delighted to see a table with a "Vegan" sign on it! There were other plant based eaters present too so it was a very nice touch.
The nicest thing, and the one that I am still somewhat emotional about, came while a group of us were sitting around eating after the ride. Somehow the topic of how one of our riders got started in cycling came up. One of those at the table said that it was because of me. Then one after another repeated that. I said that I just love bikes and riding and it's a joy to share that with others. But to know that people are getting good out of it and are now themselves sharing it with others is very satisfying to me. I told Sharon about it when I got home and got a little teary. And I'm not usually like that.
Leaving the parking lot to go home, we soon came upon a rider with a large backpack, heading the same way we were. Brian Toone of course! His training ride for the day included a pedal from Birmingham, the Restoration Ride, and a return pedal to Birmingham. Brian is training for this year's RAAM. He placed in the top 10 on his last outing and looks to improve this year. Nice guy too. I rolled the window down and called out to him and he said hi back but I'm sure he had no idea who it was.
RUSA season in Alabama starts next weekend with the Homestead Hollow 100K. I'm looking forward to it.