a club ride, at last!
Getting in a ride lately has been challenging. Tuesday night I showed up at the Y. There were two other riders there, both much faster than I am, and predictably enough I got dropped within the first 15 minutes. So I rode the loop that comes back in via Flatwood - no sign of the demon dog or its owner - and wound up with 20.5 miles. Wednesday I didn't even bother - it was raining, and nobody showed up, including me. Thursday I was the first person to arrive for the Callaham Challenge. It was 5:50, and only two other riders showed up. The speedy young triathlete took off on his own, while we seasoned old guys looked at the sky and the wind and decided to go home.
Ainsley and I had made arrangements to ride fixed Saturday, so I pumped Julius' tires up to full pressure and made it to the fountain in time. Our group this time was Bill Evans, Jim and Bradley, Drew and Campbell. Jim and Bradley were planning on turning back early so they could get to Greenville, so the rest of us sorted out a route. It was a well-worn favorite, out via Briarwood to Whitehall to Rock House Road and back.
I felt old and slow and I could tell I was paying the price for not getting in the miles while eating foods that were somewhat off my diet. Ahem. Still, I rode decently enough for a long fixed-gear ride that picked up the pace towards the end.
Bradley was seriously digging his new bike, a Gerolsteiner t
eam painted Specialized with carbon fiber forks and seat stays. He had made the jump to 10 speeds, with full 105 that shifted more smoothly than the 9-speed Ultegra his old bike had. I wondered idly what it would be like to send him out on a bike with a Cambio Corsa or a Vittoria Margherita gearing system. Still, his new bike is very nice, very light, and very fast, which is exactly what he wants and needs. There will be time to corrupt him to lugged steel later.
Jim and Bradley turned off when we hit Mt. Moriah Church Road, and the rest of us pressed on, first down the buttery asphalt near the nice homes, then over the bumpy, teeth-rattling macadam that is most of Briarwood.
Bill was riding his Quickbeam in freewheel mode - but he's broken down and fitted a fixed cog to the other side of his rear hub. So close, so close to coming to the dark side he is, mmm hmmm. We talked about brevets and PBP dreams for a while, and it all left me thinking about trying to do a 200km next spring.
When we hit Rock House Road, Campbell asked about alternate routes. They were amused when I opened my saddlebag (today, a Carradice Pendle) and pulled out my photocopied map. We talked about a longer ride down the road. We stood around in the sun, chatting away for several minutes before we finally got rolling again - something I can attribute to Jim's absence.
Coming back, the thick summer vegetation meant we missed seeing the Rock House. The last time Ainsley and I rode past it, we had a discussion about how it seems to appear and then disappear, like some sci-fi castle that carries unsuspecting folks who enter it off to another dimension. Saturday we just passed it by, knowing it's somewhere out there.
When we arrived back at the fountain, Bill sold me a set of black-anodized Lyotard 45-D pedals with French threading - the very thing for the Peugeot project. Soon after, he headed for home, with the agreement that we do a longer ride in a few weeks. Drew,
Campbell, Ainsley and I crossed the street to T.W. Boone's, where we ate under the sidewalk umbrellas and discussed biodiesel and its limitations, hybrid cars, radical Islam and other matters.
I got home with about 32 miles for the day, and had enough time to putter about in the garage and work some more on the Peugeot. I had to do some creative things with the threads in the Stronglight cranks to get the right pedal seated, but it all looks okay now.Note: the long ride on the 16th is Fred's B-day ride!