Saturday I rode Stripe for something over 30 miles on a club ride with Jim C., Connie, Bill T., Grattan, Pepe Ronan, John Campbell Lake, Drew and Tommy Davis. It was the old loop, out the trail, through Wisewood, down Scotch Cross, right onto Louden and the John Lake Loop, and thence back to Greenwood.
Of course the group split up a couple of times, but generally the pace was reasonable - no complaints here, it was a good ride.
Sunday, I met Campbell and Drew at Ware Shoals High School for a ramble in the hillier part of the county. I initially worried I hadn't dressed properly - it was quite brisk at first, and I considered, then rejected turning back. For another mile or two, I thought about stopping and bumming a couple of sheets of newspaper to stuff between my wool jerseys, a la the old French guys.
The first long climb up out of the Saluda basin warmed me up quite nicely. I actually used my granny gear for the first time since Issaqueena back in May, but rapidly switched back to the middle ring. John took us out on a route that I'd been on before, maybe five years back or so. We wound up going down Dairy Road to a point immediately past a battered looking barn. From there, you can see the mountains, even if they were a bit hazy Sunday.
I got some pictures on the climb back up out of there - or so I thought. Turns out I managed to erase all the photos I had taken. Sheesh.
There were odd moments. I stopped for a natural at one point near Gun Barrel Hill and found myself regarding the severed head and feet of a doe dumped along the roadside. The best, by far, and the reason I most bitterly regretted losing the photos, was the house with all the outdoor decorations. The lady must have had a dozen or more Santas out there. Unfortunately, stiff winds had knocked them over. There was a large clump of Santas lying face-down in a field, looking like a crime scene at a mall Christmas training center. John referred to it as a Santa Cemetery, which was pretty much what I was looking at.
Monday we had a very active meeting of the Greenwood Cycling Club. There were a lot of good ideas thrown around, and I collected enough money from folks to pay for the new GCC website's domain registration and hosting.
Tuesday night I had the wierdest flat ever. Maybe two miles out, I heard a "p-tooonk" kinda sound (you try writing a funky sound out like that!), followed by a thunking sound. Flat. Great. I dismounted and found a 5-in stick about as big around as my pinky poking out of my back tire. Ainsley got a photo on his camera phone, but I haven't yet gotten a copy - alas. So I went to change out the tube, but we had no success inflating it. Swell. I managed to limp to the end of that section of trail and crawled back to the cars on the rim.
Today I met Jim and Rick Flowe downtown at the fountain. It was bitterly cold, so cold that I initially rode wearing wool gloves covered with leather work gloves. I had on three layers of wool on my torso, plus the wind-proof jacket, and I still wondered if it would be enough. It was, fortunately.
I rode the Julius the fixed-gear, which may have helped influence the pace. We took it easy, ambling around the Wednesday night course. Rick and I had a spirited discussion of the joys of riding road bikes on dirt roads, but I bet we still haven't convinced Jim. Not yet, anyway. I wound up with something over 20 miles for the day, which I can live with. Did I mention it was cold?