Monday, January 23, 2012


But before I do, let me relate that on the way back from Saturday's ride, I saw in the distance at least a dozen white-robed folks, including their heads, all milling around in a tight circle in a field. My first thought was: S**T, a KKK gathering right here in Williamson County! Fortunately, traffic was light because I really focused on what the heck they were doing. As I got closer, I saw a van with the word HONEY in big letters, then realized everyone wore a white beekeeper outfit, then saw the bee hives. Ok, excitement over.

I really don't like riding on Saturday. But I agreed to ride with Amy on the Weir Lost ride out of Old Settlers Park at 9am. At 8:30am I opened the garage door and prepared to leave, felt the cold, damp, north wind and called Amy to ask (beg, whine, implore) if we could postpone the ride a few hours. The temperature was mid 40's, but the forecasted partly-cloudy day had yet to materialize, with the clouds still low and heavy. She agreed. I'd check back at 11am.

I really, really don't like riding on Saturday afternoon. At 11:15am I called and said it looked like 12:30pm would be a good time. The temperature had only risen a few degrees, but the clouds were thinning out and by the time we started should produce a few patches of blue.

The Weir Lost ride has 30 mile and 50 mile options. I only wanted to do 40 miles or 3 hours, whichever came first. About twenty minutes into the ride, I mis-remembered the upcoming segment as not being very smooth and suggested a different route. This cut out about 8 miles (of the 50), plus put us onto very familiar roads. The wind was out of the northeast, and we were headed north and east, and generally, uphill. Needless to say, our mph proceeded at pedestrian pace. As we travelled along, now off the route but certainly not lost, we jetisoned a few more miles.

Finally we reached the eastern most point and turned west, no longer directly into the wind. A mile or so further we reached the northern most point and stopped to refuel (and for me, being old and cold, a nature break). I also removed my long-fingered gloves and wind jacket. Refreshed, I reminded Amy to hit her lap key because the trip back would be much faster.

We did a lot of big-ring pedaling. Downhill, wind generally at our backs, about ten degrees warmer than when we started, and much more enjoyable. As it turned out, we totalled 38 miles in 2 hours, 58 minutes. Close enough.

Oh, the repeating thing: Friends and variation. Friends will get you off the couch when you would rather blow it off. Variation keeps you interested (although only part of this ride was new to me). If you need incentive, find some friends and don't be afraid to go/do something new.

For the Sunday ride I joined the Jack & Adams group from downtown Austin. They rotate three rides, and this time Decker Lake became the objective, which meant going through a lot of east Austin. The city paved 2nd street and the new asphalt provided a very smooth beginning. I rode with the Intermediate group, which averages 16-18mph (except when they do 20-22+). The thermometer showed 47 degrees when left home. I had tights and three layers on my chest. This group takes no prisoners. While I had no problem hanging with them, even though I went over to McDonalds to empty my bladder just before we pushed off, about 45 minutes into the ride I received an urgent call. Actually, about 35 minutes in I received the call and it took another 10 to find a reasonably remote spot to again empty the bladder. Going, going, going. By the time I had remounted, they were just a blip down the road.

I had the wind at my back. I had my aero bars. I was quicker on the hills. After 20 minutes of chasing I caught up. It might have taken 25 but they stopped at a stop sign to regroup and have an energy bar break. Anyhow, the sun finally made an appearance and turned this into a nice 32 mile morning ride. I didn't wait around and socialize afterwards, because my bladder called.

Monday morning I did weights at Gold's in the morning and my normal 32 mile ride starting around noon. Because the forecast called for 70 degrees (61 when I left the house), I assumed the light wind would be from the south. It wasn't all that light, and it was from the northeast (still). Out in 63 minutes, back in 53. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, so I'll be back in the gym or on the trainer, or both.

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