Internal Detours
Monday, December 31, 2007
  damp ride dodging golf balls and roosters
I rode alone Saturday. I'm assuming the holidays and the dampness kept everyone else indoors. When I set out, there was still a light but steady drizzle, and I considering going home. I'm glad I didn't.

I set out on the Ninety Six loop, a ride I've done more times than I care to think about, down the trail to Florida Avenue, then through Wisewood to hook up with Scotch Cross Road. The drizzle stopped after about 20 minutes, though there was enough water and mud on the road to keep things damp despite my fenders and front mudflap.

No matter. There was a car waiting to trip the light for me at the intersection with 25 South, and I headed on down the long hill at a relaxed loping pace. Under the flat grey sky, everything looked painted, with certain stretches of the roadside resembling backgrounds from various works of art. I rolled on, turning the 70-in. fixed-gear and hearing the swishing of my tires on damp pavement where it was smooth, and rumbling a little over the patches and broken-up sections.

At the bottom of the long hill I turned right, heading out Louden Road with an eye out for coyotes. I saw none, but did wave to a couple of hunters standing in a field talking. I grunted up the two hills on Louden fine, standing for both of them, and pulled in to the parking lot at Star Fort. I took a minute to remove my leg warmers and shove my jersey sleeves up my arms before heading on. At the edge of town I turned left, skipping the loop extension that goes by the high school and heading for home.

The houses that used to be the homes of generations of bike-chasing pitbulls looked empty. It felt a little colder and a little damper now, and the promise of the sun had slipped back into the clouds. It peeked out a little just as I rode past a rooster standing near the road, red comb and all, looking just like the old corn flakes emblem. Of course my camera was at home.

On the flat next to the golf course, I could hear clubs striking balls. There was a line of guys out practicing their drives, and the course was littered with yellow golf balls. Unfortunately, there were a lot of those same balls on the road's shoulder to my right, and I felt my shoulder blades tighten each time I heard a "thwack!" behind me, anticipating a wild shot caroming off my helmet.

Luck was with me, and I rode safely past the course. A moment later I turned right and started the climb up Lebanon Church Road, where my favorite Australian cattle dog no longer runs along beside cyclists, happy to have someone to run with - I hope that dog is okay somewhere. I turned left onto the Canadian Mist Highway and headed for home. I had mud spattered all over Julius the fixed-gear, mud on my leg warmers and shoes, and 28.5 miles for the day.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
  the return of the pocket camera

It was brisk this morning when I headed out for the traditional Saturday morning club ride. I wore wool - sleeveless undershirt, scratchy jersey, moth-holed leg warmers - and some seriously warm gloves. By the time I got downtown, as always, I was a bit too warm. Fortunately, I had other gloves in my capacious saddlebag.

Connie and Donnis were already there, wondering if I was going to make it on time. I apologized for my tardiness, then hung out as tires were pumped up, helmets forgotten and remembered, and bikes were readied for action.

As we set off, we were joined by Fred. He hadn't been on his bike in a while, so he opted to ride with the touring bunch instead of with the hammers. I managed to get a picture of him as we rolled out along the rail-trail conversion. Moments after the photo above was shot, he picked up the pace - enough that Donnis was having to work at it to maintain the speed.

We turned left and went through Wisewood and eventually down Scotch Cross Road, a route I've ridden a zillion times. At the intersection with Highway 25, I was just too slow with the camera - we crossed paths with a truck hauling a trailer full of really impressive goats with huge, curling horns. Donnis and I conferred - goat hair, goat faces and ears, but what was with those horns?

At the bottom of the big hill, we turned right and headed out Louden Road. In about the same place I saw a coyote a few months back, I looked up and saw Fred all but nose-to-nose with a cow. Again, too late to catch the look they shot each other, but time enough to capture an image of the bovine menace.

Connie wanted to know if we should go back and shoo the cow back into its pasture with its buddies.

"Well, I usually use a golf cart and a broom," Donnis allowed. She shared that she used to help get Big Red the Bull back into his pasture, until the day Big Red raised a Ford F-100 up onto two wheels while on his way back into his enclosure.

"I decided then and there that I was done with herding Big Red," she said.

Jim Cox and Chris caught us on the Canadian Mist Highway, and we rode in together listening to Jim's review of the newly-opened pub Orde's of England. Alas, their location is not one that lends itself to the classical pub hopping via bicycle.

I had 28.5 miles by the time I got home.
cycling through life is more than the cycling life

Location: Greenwood, South Carolina, United States
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