the winds don't relent
I didn't ride last Sunday. The virtuous part of me wanted to finish off the trim on the deck off the back porch. The pain-fearing part of me wanted to let my legs rest after the ride beyond Troy. The practical side of me took a look at the weather report and decided to skip riding in 20 mph winds.
Unfortunately, the winds were still active on Tuesday. I wound up riding with Campbell, Joy and Landon the Silent on a route that took us from the Y through Hodges, down Blue Jay, up Klugh, taking a left onto Flatwood and back in via Dixie and through Center Court. It was a fairly uneventful ride, even with the stiff winds. Probably the high point was seeing Dr. Paul Velky show up for a club ride.
Once on the road, I spent a lot of time on the drops on the way out. The stiff climb on Klugh Road was a problem purely because my shifters were slipping a touch, and I promised myself I would clean and regrease the appropriate bits to fix them. I wound up with 20.7 miles for the day. That night after supper, I carefully lubed the right washers and reassembled everything.
Wednesday's ride was another slogfest into the wind. This time I rode with Jim, Norm and Young Bradley as we headed out on what is become the standard route. Jim and I took the Pembroke Road cutoff, which knocked a mile off our ride. I was surprised at how much easier the hill was than I remembered it being - a few years back I had regarded it as a brutal killer.
Bradley was giving Jim grief about the upcoming Assault on Marion ride, affiliated with the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. Jim is essentially allergic to mountainous rides, and Bradley was taunting him about not wishing to do the ride.
Karma put in an appearance later in the ride - Bradley's Shimano STI shifter became, uhh, vague. Actually, it wouldn't release onto the higher gear cogs. It emerged that he'd had the shift cable replaced recently, and I suspect it needed to be more carefully seated.
We rolled on back via the rail-trail with a fierce dispute about modern bike parts - I argued that reduced spoke-count wheels were a bad idea for people weighing more than 150 lbs., while he contended that modern technology was stronger than I gave it credit for being. I felt a little vindicated by the failure of his shifter, but didn't let myself gloat about the smooth operation of my bike's downtube shifters. I managed to at least get his chain back down to a more useable rear cog, and he and Jim rode home. I had 24.04 miles for the day.
Thursday I didn't ride - Ana was returning home after a week spent in Nashville with family, and I wanted to cook a big supper for her homecoming. Grilled turkey cutlets, oven-fried potatoes, and carrots and stringbeans cooked in foil-wrap on the grill hit the spot. I still wonder why people complain about eating healthy - the limitations of my dietary needs and Ana's has paradoxically led to a lot more experimentation and a greater appreciation of the actual flavors of foods, rather than their seasonings.
My Saturday began with a bang as a massive thunderstorm awakened me. This was after being awakened at 2:00 by Hannibal grooming my hair to (politely) tell me his food dish was empty, but before I was awakened by Hector purring in my ear to tell me that his schedule required my presence in the kitchen.
I rode down to the fountain, running just a bit late, to find Donis, Jim, and Landon the Silent awaiting. We held up for a few minutes more to let any stragglers show up. While we waited, I mentioned the Assault on Marion ride to Jim, and wondered how Campbell and Bradley were doing.
"You know, that ride starts at 6:30," Jim said. "They had to leave at 3:00 to get there and get set up."
"Yeah, it's a brutal time," I said.
"Bradley gave me a lot of crap about not doing the ride," he said. "I hope John (Campbell) reaches over and pokes him and wakes him up every time he nods off."
I laughed and agreed. Karma, you know?
After deciding on a Cedar Springs out-and-
back, we set off via the rail-trail to Florida Avenue, eventually getting onto Briarwood. Jim led us onto Whitehall Road and from there we rode to Promised Land before taking Highway 10 to Cedar Springs Road. I wound up leading Landon out down the bumpy macadam. We made the turn at the old stagecoach stop and rode past the church to the top of the hill, where Watson Hill and Sumter Forest cross the road.
Landon and I waited for a minute or two at the intersection for Donis and Jim. I told Landon which ways the dirt roads led and led him back towards Greenwood. The wind was at our backs, and I was able to shift back up onto the 50T ring and push bigger gears than I had on the way out. We were within a mile of the end of Cedar Springs Road before I saw Jim and Donis up ahead. We regrouped on Highway 10 and headed back in. Jim peeled off on West Alexander, taking a different route home. I rode back in with Donis and Landon. When I saw his folks waiting to pick him up, I said my goodbyes and headed for home. I wound up with 38.37 miles and was home before 1:00, ravenous and ready for lunch.