Internal Detours
Sunday, April 30, 2006
  out of hodges

We met in Hodges, glorious, downtown Hodges, at 3:00 today. We waited a bit - Jim had discovered he'd left his shoes in Greenwood and had to drive back to get them, which gave us a little more time to hang out, chat, and walk around the back of Hodges' main drag and admire the brick work and ponder a new career in safecracking.

We got off to a bad start. Traffic passing through on 185 divided us when the folks on the side near the gazebo took off. Then Kim, a new rider, had a mechanical problem before she could get past Godfrey's Market. We cinched down the pedal on the crank and took off. By this point, there were five of us with no clue where the other eight riders had gone, so we figured we were on our own.

Rolling down 185 towards Blue Jay Road, I saw a flash of something by the side of the road. I looked closer, first thinking, "is that an animal?" Then I was closer and could see it a little better and thought, "are we hunting leopards in Greenwood County now?" Then I realized it was a cushion. I still haven't decided if someone accidentally lost it, if it was just dumped, or if someone with a warped sense of humor put it there just to freak out people like me.

We hadn't gotten very far along on Blue Jay when Kim's right pedal came apart. She managed to stay aboard her bike. Strawhorne doubled back and picked it up. It was one of those wretched Wellgo things that masquerades as a Look pedal, and it had popped right off the spindle. End o' ride for Kim.

Andrew Douglas, who for the second day in a row had come out to ride when it was below 70 degrees, offered to ride back and get his truck. I rode back with him, then rode back to Blue Jay. By the time I arrived, Landon the Silent and Strawhorne were riding back, while Andrew was driving Kim back to her car. We all turned and rode back towards Blue Jay once more.

Strawhorne launched an attack for the county line sign early on, before we'd hit the ranch. Landon was right with him. Andrew and I sat back and let them go. I felt like taking it relatively easy, and Andrew confessed he was frankly cold. The long-sleeved cotton T-shirt and perforated jersey with shorts probably wasn't enough. I understood that - it was the last day of April and I was wearing wool leg warmers and a long-sleeved wool undershirt, and how jacked up is that?

We turned left onto Klugh and rode down to the base of the evil second hill, then charged up it. It's a short hill, but steep, and I was happy I could get up it on the large chainring again. I did, however, drop off the back of our little bunch, but they were waiting for me at the intersection with Flatrock. We rolled back in, negotiating our way past the junkyard dog that lives across from the trash service.

Along the way, Andrew was a bad boy - Strawhorne was leading us, and Andrew quietly coached Landon into launching a bid for the county-line sign at the top of the hill. Strawhorne took it, but just barely. A few minutes later, we were on Dixie Drive, and Strawhorne dropped back and quietly tipped off Landon about the town limit sign coming up. Landon took the sign from Andrew.

It wasn't a particularly long ride - 16.88 miles, actually - but it was a ride, and it was what I needed. I hung out for a bit, and chatted with some of the faster guys as they arrived. Then I went home and watched the end of the Brasstown Bald stage of the Tour de Georgia on OLN.
 
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