Sunday, January 30, 2011

HOW COULD I NOT? RIDE THAT IS!

January 2011 is sure going out on a lot milder note than when the calendar turned another page on another year 30 days ago. Today’s (January 30th) blue skies and mid-60’s temperatures were not meant to be enjoyed from inside a house or other abode. No excuses, no reasoning could justify not riding today…

Fields slumbering through the winter...

(Fields along NC 110 are still enjoying  a winter’s slumber)

Of course, my first ride of the year had a small “burp” that could have led to chucking the whole idea of riding….

The Navigator was off and caring for her dad and friend today and I quickly got my few chores out of the way so I could ride. A quick ride into town on the Harley to return a movie and chow down on a waffle and scrambled eggs with a side of sausage at the local Waffle House was the order of the day. The Harley needed some exercise to keep its life blood (oil) from stagnating and I enjoyed being out in the warm wind as I rode into and back from town.

Given that I didn’t want to ride down, much less back up, the muddy luge run that used to be the road to our house, I stuck the bike carrier on the truck so as to drive to the local middle school and start this day’s ride. In addition to getting properly dressed, which today meant picking between winter weight and lighter but layered clothing, I had to get the bike off the trainer and loaded onto the rack. No biggie – just a few minutes until riding time.

While we’re no where near our record high temperature of 76 degrees set in 2002, I finally decided that the 65 degree weather today would be more comfortable in a layered approach so it was my knickers, heavier weight jersey, light windbreaker, and my now favorite SmartWool socks that would carry the day in comfort. A final quick check in the Timbuk 2 bag that holds my riding gear and I’m off…

When I arrived at Bethel Middle School, I noted a few folks out walking the track and one very clean Ford F250 dually with a Yaris bike rack in the hitch receiver. No cyclists were to be seen however and I didn’t recognize the truck as belonging to someone I might know. Out comes the messenger bag, off comes the bike from my own Yaris bike rack, and I’m ready for final prep.

I’ve already sent my “ride starting” message up on SPOT II so I need only set the tracking button to send. Digging in the messenger bag, I pull out my two Camelbak water bottles loaded with orange flavored Gatorade, my warm weather “beanie” to keep sweat out of my eyes, and my gloves. Only one small item remains and I’m ready to roll.

Given that it is mighty hard to drive in my Look compatible riding shoes, I go back to the messenger back to dig out my riding shoes and get on the road. I dig and I dig and I dig some more… NO SHOES! Ahhhh! I now quickly realize that my shoes are sitting by my TRAINER AT HOME right where I left them so it would be convenient to get back on the trainer!

A small barrier to riding but only a small barrier. So, load the bike on the rack and secure it, unload my jersey’s rear pockets so I don’t crush something  while driving the truck, get out of the jacket because now I’m WAY HOT inside the truck. Zoom back home, unlock house, get shoes, return to school, and start all over again… Whew! 

Finally, I’m actually on the saddle and moving! I had some minor time recalibrating my bike computer but was shortly off and riding on Sonoma Road headed for Old River Road (NC 215) and Canton, NC. I was not the only one enjoying the weather today. There were many, many automobiles out and about on the 2 lane road into Canton. Fortunately, no one had forgotten how to share the road since my last ride in late November.

It was pleasant, pretty, and pastoral riding down to Canton. The local police had set up a license/road check at the entry to Canton. I briefly wondered if they would treat me like any other vehicle and ask for identification. They didn’t. I was waved on and I joked with them about it being a “nice day for a license check.”

The local recreation park in Canton where I turn back toward Bethel was crowded with families enjoying an outside meal and lots of pick-up basketball games going on at the outdoor courts. The only cyclist that I observed to this point was a fellow road rider dressed in his High Viz colors headed south as I moved through the license check.

NC 110 was busy with lots of higher speed traffic moving back toward Bethel as I made my way back “up river.” I saw only one other cyclist today and he was an adolescent riding from a convenience store on the wrong side of the road sans helmet.

I managed to keep my expectations for today’s ride in check and not try to get bogged down in the numbers (cadence, avg. speed, heart rate, etc.). I mostly wanted to enjoy being back outside pedaling. I’m happy to report that my mission was accomplished! I hope YOUR DAY was as pleasant as mine!

Until later,

- Zeke

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