Saturday Tandem Exploration
I’ve been on a mission lately to get out on some new roads. We’ve got so many “standard” routes that planning a ride is relatively easy, but some of our regular routes are getting rather routine. We’ve heard that variety is the spice of life, so let’s go explore!
With that said, our Saturday route was mostly routine. We planned to ride 50 miles through Strafford and Fair Grove, so I decided to take a few new roads between the two towns when I mapped out it. I crossed my fingers that we wouldn’t end up on gravel, and we set out bright and early with Mike and Alan.
Alan had ridden with us for a short distance once before, but he’s been picking up his mileage in preparation for a triathlon in August. We were glad to have him join us for what would be his longest ride to date.
We lost Mike again between the house and Strafford, and I think Alan was a little surprised at our “forget about him” attitude. Pam and I have lost him enough that we know better than to wait for him to come back, so we just continue on to our next planned stop and see if he shows up there. Sure enough, by the time we got to Strafford, Mike was already waiting for us! He stayed a little closer to us the rest of the day.
I considered the new roads to be a winner, although some of those miles were a little hilly. At one point, we were headed up “Radio Tower Hill”, but a quarter of the way up, we ended up jogging east and basically rode around the end of the ridge. Mike had breakfast on his mind and finally asked if we were just going to spend the morning orbiting the radio tower instead of letting him get into Fair Grove to eat.
We pulled into Subway at Fair Grove while a touring cyclist was sitting there. The Adventure Cycling Trans-Am route runs through town, so it’s not uncommon to see someone, and I usually try to at least say hello when we do. We weren’t sure about this guy. He was just sitting there, and seemed to be pretty much zoned out. He didn’t seem to want to talk, and wasn’t answering my questions very easily, so we wondered if he was having some health issues or something. If not, he just wasn’t very nice!
We think there must have been a MS show-and-go ride out to Fair Grove scheduled for Saturday also. We saw a ton of riders in town and others pulling in as we were leaving. We met one guy a couple of miles out of town who yelled out, “Is this the 50 return?” or something like that. I replied, “I don’t know”, and continued pedaling without thinking about it then noticed the guy had stopped behind us. I slowed down a little to see what he was doing, and he eventually continued on his way. Quite a while later, I realized we hadn’t seen any other riders. That guy was probably the last man on the ride and probably just wanted to turn around and go home!
From Fair Grove, we had to fight a head wind all the way home. It wasn’t bad, but with the hills we had already ridden, my legs and Pam’s were both starting to fade, and I could tell Alan was in the same condition. Mike, on the other hand, was riding as strongly as usual. That was a good thing since he had ridden to our house and still had several miles to get home himself!
We got home in plenty of time to deal with the load of mulch that needed to be unloaded and spread onto our flower beds. As usual, it was a busy Saturday!
You can click the map above to see the full GPS track.
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