Internal Detours
Saturday, August 12, 2006
  solo fixed sans camera
For the last couple of weeks, I've made it to the club rides, getting in miles and getting back into shape. I seem to be back to where I was in late June, which is good. I only plan on doing one big organized ride for the remainder of the season - the Flight of the Dove on August 26th to benefit Hospice of Laurens County.

Along the way, I got to deal with damage caused when the fancy four-bike rack I got from Performance gave way and dumped the Dawes, Belle, Julius and Stripe onto the concrete floor one night. Damage report - both wheels on the Dawes are now out of true, and the Nitto handlebars are bent badly enough to need replacement. Stripe's front wheel got knocked out of true and the bars were knocked out of alignment, both easily repaired. Julius's front fender was whacked out of alignment and one of the breakaway fender mounts broke. Finally, Belle picked up some really nasty scratches on the left fork blade, probably from Julius' rear axle nuts. Ugh.

Ainsley and I had planned on riding fixed today. Originally, we were going to meet everyone for the club ride at 9:00 from the fountain and then split off to do a moderate ramble. Unfortunately, I woke up to steady rain today. After an exchange of emails, we decided we'd have to reschedule.

This afternoon, I decided to risk a ride in the lulls between the rain. I headed out the usual route out to the trail, and from there I wound up going out 225. I was torn - would I go straight out East Scotch Cross towards Ninety Six, or would I go right onto West Scotch Cross and work my way back into town via Mt. Moriah Road.

My answer came in the form of the two German Shepherds that normally live in the a big fenced-in run at the first house on West Scotch Cross. They were out, barking, and moving at a moderate pace towards me. So much for that, and I got down in the drops and pointed Julius' front wheel into the wind and headed for Ninety Six.

It was grey and overcast, but it was also about 75 degrees. I fought the wind all the way down the long hill before hooking right and taking the back way around to Star Fort. Along the way, I glanced down and realized I was about to reach the 5,000 mile mark on Julius. It's taken a couple of years, but when you ride several different bikes you spread the mileage around. Strangely enough, the previous Sunday I'd crossed the 1,000 mile mark on Stripe, and only a month or so back I'd crossed 8,000 on Belle.

Back towards Greenwood I went. If I didn't get a tailwind, at least I was no longer battling a headwind. I turned right for Lebanon Church Road's gentler climb.

About 3/4 of the way up, I found myself passing between the corners of two pastures that flanked the road. Two horses were in the corner on my left, three others in the corner to my right - all right up against the fences with their heads held over the wires. They were looking intently at each other, almost as if they were talking.

I was maybe 10 or 15 yards away when they became aware of me, and in unison they all turned their heads to look at me. It was just disturbing enough that I made a point of saying, "I don't mean to interrupt y'all, and I'll be right out of your way in just a moment. By all means, carry on as you were." I snuck a glance back when I was a little further up the road and they were all studiously ignoring me.

I thought about that for the rest of the ride. I made a point of saying hello to the collie running loose on the rail-trail, and to the hare that left the trail to sit in the grass at its edge as I rode past. I finished up with 29.1 miles for the day and an image in my head that belongs in a creepy movie.
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Location: Greenwood, South Carolina, United States
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