Sunday, December 11, 2011

Partly Cloudy with ....

Well actually all cloudy. 

It was just getting light when I went out to check the grounds.  Light enough that I could see that there was frost and ice on everything.  It didn’t just feel cold, it was cold.  I didn’t check the thermometer so I can’t say how cold it was but I know it was freezing.

Riders started showing about 9:20 or so, right on time.  This was an achievement as they came from as far away as Portland and Seattle.  I can relate, many of the brevets I have participated entail a long drive to and from.
Well sure, how better to haul a tandem than in the back seat of a Camaro?

Back in October I think, I organized the inaugural roll of the Pie Run, a flat straight 100K (or thereabouts) perm.  Don Booth and his wife came down to ride it, as well as several others.  We had a nice sit down meal and some good talk here at the ranch.  I blogged it and not too long after I got a note from Albert saying that if I were to organize something like this again he’d be interested to hear about it and that he might bring his tandem partner Allyson along. Over time we figured out the best next time to ride it and so when I put out the note he was up for it.  Much to my pleasant surprise, Lynn and Susan came up from Portland also, and my good friend Alan who lives here in Oakville wanted to ride as well.

We planned to have a bite again after the ride and my friends John and Narayan were on the fence, both are vegetarians so I set to figuring out a vegetarian meal This always causes me anxiety, it is sort of like going to someone else’s church; I’m never really sure of the protocol.

We rolled away from Harry’s in downtown Okville about on time, heading south. 
We weren’t much past Rochester when I realized that I was missing a couple key ingredients for a successful ride.  I carry certain ‘performance enhancing drugs’ that help with both cramps and my respiratory issues but apparently my trusty soigneur Donatello, had neglected to restock my Hbar bag.  Oh well, have to stick this one out with mooting more than my natural powers.  As we turned on to Old Hwy 9 at the Maple Lane School for Boys I put my foot down.  As I was attempting to clip back in, I got friendly little cramp in my Right calf.  Not so bad that I could not flex my foot heal down, toe up, but bad enough to tell me that I was on the slippery slope.  I was worried; this is less than 20K into the ride.  Ah well, between there and Chehalis my coughing attacks mostly subsided but those little cramps you get with each pedal stroke became more frequent.

In Centralia the rest of the crew elected to stop at Starbucks for a potty break.  I told Lynn I was going to roll on, knowing that they would soon enough catch me.  About midtown Centralia I passed a little mom n’pop health food store.  I’d been in there before and so I doubled back to see if they were open and if they had the Hylands Leg Cramps tablets that help me.  They were open and they did have the tablets.  What’s more the friendly lady pushed a sample packet of some other tablets that were also touted as having  a perfect combination of mineral and trace elements that would help solve my cramp problem, ease my arthritis pain, give me better colon health, and even contribute to better mental health!  She wanted to gab, I wanted to ride.  She was still going on as I slipped out the door.  This may have saved my ride.  By the time we hit the turnaround at Mary’s Corner, the cramping issue was subsiding and as long as I used my inhaler judiciously the coughing was pretty much held at bay.

I was in and out of the turnaround fairly quick.  Descending the one and only hill on the return leg I realized that it was still cold out.  My Thermal vest under my jacket was a little sweaty and the wind created by my blazing 28mph descent let me know the temps were still hovering near freezing.  It was about this stretch where we started getting heavy ‘mist’.  Not quite rain, but heavy enough that you had to wipe your glasses.  I was concerned as the forecast was for rain later in the evening.  Was this an early arrival?  As it happened this little nudge in the ribs from the weather Gods subsided in less than an hour.

I think we all had negative splits on this ride; I know I was faster on the return. I attribute that mostly to getting my health issues under control.  Afterwards Albert suggested that we had a headwind on the way out.

As I was working my way from Chehalis to Centralia, I came upon Lynn who was ¾ of the way through fixing  a flat. I stopped and between us we wrestled the last few inches of tire back onto the rim.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to work that hard to fix a flat.  There is something to be said for (or against) certain combinations of rims and tires.

Soon enough we were back at Harry’s getting the obligatory receipt (to prove we had not cheated the route) and then back to Rocky Acres where the Lovely Mrs. Dr C had a nice spread laid out for us.
Cooking right along on the homeward leg.

My vegetarian Penne pasta seemed to go down pretty well, we had a fresh fruit plate, a cheese and crackers plate, another batch of pain au chocolat and Susan had even gotten up in the middle of the night to bake a batch of pumpkin muffins.
We sat around the table, noshing and chatting.  It was fun to get to know more of my fellow riders and this is something I miss from my JRA days. Brevets and Rando events are fun but an extended eat and chat generally is not part of the formula.  I suppose if I were faster there would be more time for that, and I can see the similarity with a sit down meal mid ride, but coffee and a yuppie bar at the local barista shack post ride isn’t the same.

Susan mentioned that she noticed a reader board in Centralia that showed the tempo as 33 degrees on the way out and 35 on the way back.  Likely our high for the day was in the neighborhood of 35 degrees.  I’m considering a solstice ride in Southern California on the 21st.  The locals say it may drop to 40 degrees over night.  Now I realize that 40 and 35 are not far apart, but as I have been tracking the weather in that area I notice their lows are about in tune with our daily highs.  What is most attractive is that they see sun through many of their days.  Yesterday all we got was that oppressive gray cloud clover.

We had fun, and this time next week we will be on the road to southern Cal.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, so no pie on the Pie Run - who cares. What a beautiful spread with HOT beverages waiting for us as soon as we got back! Thnaks, Mr and Mrs C for being such wonderful hosts. Great meeting new people.