Sunday, February 6, 2011

Milton Group Ride

Last night I left Travis a voicemail, asking him to come adventuring with me today. I had this idea about a Lumpkin Ridge - Long Mountain hiking loop and thought maybe he might be interested. This morning he texted me back. He'd already made plans with his girl, but he suggested I get in on a group ride that Michele Z was planning. As it turned out, my brother had texted me too about the Airport Ride. Too many options! Hike or ride, hike or ride? Well, it has been raining like crazy. It might still be muddy up in the woods. Ride. I'd already missed the Airport ride too, so the which-ride choice one was an easy one.

While packing up my truck, I discovered yet another flat tire. Come on! I'd written off the last two as being the result of dubiously healthy tubes, but this one was brand new. I'd also checked the tire and rim strip. I only found the culprit by pulling out the tube, airing it up a little, finding the hole, then tracing around on the tire to that spot. There was a little shred of metal that had worked it's way into the surface of the tire. You couldn't see or feel the metal itself from the inside or out, but there was a little hole where it had gone in and apparently when riding, it does get pushed through the inside. Problem solved, I was on my way.

We met up at Element Coffee in Milton. I only knew Michael Bowen from Reality and Michele, but there were 6 or 8 other folks there. I recognized some of them. Actually, there was one other guy I knew: Rex "Most-Masculine-Name-Of-All-Time" Mayne was there, but he'd apparently left his helmet at home and couldn't ride with us. I had the girls helmets in my car, one covered with strawberries and the other with flowers, but they didn't fit. It was unfortunate that they didn't fit, but if they had, he'd have had to decide whether it was better to miss the ride or ride with strawberries or flowers on his head.

We were rolling by noon.

 Off The Back

The pace was a little odd. It seemed that everyone was in a different place in their routine. I've got a 6 hour race this upcoming weekend, some folks were just getting over the cyclocross season, the road season doesn't start for a while, and so on. Usually a pace settles in and whoever wants to work harder just takes longer turns up front and occasionally there'll be some sparring on a long hill or something, but today everybody just kind of went how they felt like going and we'd regroup every so often.

After about 20 miles some folks were starting to fade and I took some long turns.

 On The Front

One thing that got to me a little was there were a couple of younger guys who were really strong riders, but they just refused to pull over for traffic. Almost like they just didn't know that it was a thing that people do. "Car back!" Over and over. No response:

 Two Abreast

The law says bike riders must ride as far to the right as it's safe to do and may ride no more than two abreast. Unfortunately, this is a little open to interpretation. I've seen it interpreted as "all bike riders must always ride single file no matter what" and also as "bike riders can always ride two-abreast even if there's a line of cars waiting to get by." I imagine most people have never actually read the law though, and just do whatever seems right to them. It's hard for me to judge someone for doing that, and really, it didn't actually cause that much of a problem.

At any rate...

We saw a couple of interesting things. There was a dude in a 4 wheeler, pulling his buddy around on a skateboard. We also passed a lady in a horse-drawn-chariot. Not a wagon, but a chariot. Two wheels. There were a million joggers out, and lots of cyclists too. The weather was gorgeous. It temps were in the 50's. It was a little windy.

I think we did around 50 miles. I had a great time, and the company was great, but it wasn't super fulfilling. Actually, I haven't had a really fulfilling outdoor experience in a while. Maybe it's the season or the weather, or something, but it's been a while since I got back to my truck feeling like "Yeah, I'm really glad I did that, I'm going to remember that for a while." I've had plenty of I'm-glad-I-did-that's. Today was one of those, for example, and I've had a few I'm-going-to-remember-that's, like getting held at gunpoint a few weeks back. But not enough of the two of those together, at least not lately. C'est la vie I guess. That's just how it is sometimes. Maybe next time.

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