Yesterday was one of those days where we just didn’t have half a day to commit to a bike ride. Pam planned to meet our daughter at 9:00, but she still wanted to get in as many miles as possible, so we set the alarm for way too early and got on the road about 5:40 AM. I calculated we would probably take 2 hours to ride 30 miles, giving her just enough time to get cleaned up and ready to go. It’s handy that we’ve got so many options to ride from the house, so it was pretty easy to find a 30 mile route!
If you look at the map above (and click it if you want to see the GPS track), the top loop is what we rode on the tandem.
Yep, it was dark. That wasn’t too difficult to deal with, as we’ve got decent lights, and we’ve ridden a lot of tandem miles in the dark. This was the first time we’ve ridden that loop in the dark, however, and at one point Pam commented, “It sure looks different out here in the dark.” No truer words were ever spoken!
There must have been a small track of rain somewhere between our house and I-44 sometime overnight. We ran into wet roads and some of them had quite a bit of leaf debris on them, so I was pretty cautious until it finally got light enough to see. I sure didn’t want to let the front tire to slip out on us.
The first 17 miles to Strafford were basically against the wind, so it really felt like we were slogging along at a pitiful pace. I was a little concerned that we were running behind our required time because I couldn’t see how fast we were going. My Garmin has a back-light, but I tend to forget about it while I’m out on the bike. By the time it got light enough to see our speed, we were making the turn at Strafford and had more favorable winds the entire way back. In hindsight, though, our average speed only increased by .6 mph on that second “lap”, so I guess we were doing OK in the dark.
As we started getting nearer the house, we noticed there is beginning to be a little color showing in some of the trees. We saw the most noticeable instances before it was light enough to get a decent picture, but based on what we saw this morning, fall color is definitely on the way.
We pulled into the house at an hour and 54 minutes, which put Pam right on time. If only her captain could be that reliable all the time!
We had ridden the entire 30 miles without a stop, so even though I was planning to go out for another 20 miles by myself, I took the time to go inside and grab a snack, then pulled my Madone off the wall and headed toward the high school. The bottom loop on the map represents that ride.
It had been a while since I had been on the Madone, and the first couple of miles felt really squirrelly! That bike just handles so differently from the tandem and my Surly that it usually takes me 10 miles to get situated and feeling like I’m riding smoothly on it. Today, that was half of my ride!
At a little over half-way through this second loop, I saw a flock of guinea fowl alongside the road. I think these were probably feral birds that may have once belonged to someone. I’ve seen them or another flock in the same general area one other time. The pic above is about half of them. The rest, including three young birds were in the ditch. If you’ve never been around them, guineas are noisy birds with a real scratchy sounding call.
I tried to finish out the ride as fast as I could, but I’ve got to say that the last few miles I was feeling it in my legs. I ended up with a 17.9 mph average speed for the segment I rode alone, but getting up out of the river valley pretty much cooked me. I was glad to pull into the driveway with 54 miles behind me, and I did it just as Pam and Libby were leaving at 9:03 AM.
Not a bad start to a busy Saturday, if I do say so myself. Hope your day was a good one also.