Friday, October 14, 2011

BikeFest Friday....

This is a rather long-winded (if I don't fall asleep first) post about bicycling, so if that bores you to tears, you may be excused. It won't even hurt my feelings. Much.

Today's ride started out on the Riverwalk, a very neat bicycling/walking path in Columbus, Georgia. We went out to the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center for our first rest stop, then turned around and came back to BRAG headquarters for Rest Stop #2. That can be a dangerous thing to do, coming back to camp for a rest stop. It would have been way too easy to settle for a 17 mile ride and call it a day.

There was another big section of the route on a bike path, and that can be a good thing or a bad. It's good because there is no traffic and very few hills (the path is built on an old abandoned railway line), but it's treacherous passing other cyclists, particularly if cyclists and walkers are coming from the other direction. The path was also often covered with leaves (duh, it's called "fall" for a reason) and acorns, along with random tree branches. But it was still a very nice change from having to dodge cars. Rest Stop #3 was at the end of the path at about the 30 mile mark.

Naturally the hills began after we left the path, but they weren't the killer type. They would have been much worse on the tandem, though. My climbing gear on my single bike is much friendlier than the tandem. The fact that it is made out of carbon fiber (which apparently costs a war pension per gram) helps too.

Rest Stop #4 was at mile marker 40 at a pavilion next to a store. There were no porta potties, and I didn't want to walk across the parking lot to go in the store. Plus I don't like to use the bathroom in a store if I don't buy something there, and getting money out of my bike bag would have been way too much trouble, not to mention silly because we had FREE food and drink at the rest stop, so I just didn't use the bathroom at that stop. I realize I have just provided you with information you neither needed nor probably wanted.

Rest Stop #5 was at the bottom of a SCREAMING hill at a marina. Seriously, I gasped when I started down that hill. And the tent with the rest stop was set up right at the bottom of the hill. Really? I refused to ride my brakes down the hill, so I flew past the rest stop tent and went around a little loop in the parking lot. I was surprised more people didn't do the same thing. That rest stop was also only 5 miles from the end, which I thought was a little silly (that's two "sillies" in the same blog post, if you're counting), but I guess the folks in charge of such things thought they would get a bunch of complaints if the last leg of the ride had been 20 miles. And they're probably right, because people are bound to complain regardless.

It might not LOOK like a screaming hill, but trust me...I'm a doctor.

The route was advertised as 60 miles today, but my GPS said 63.63 when we got back. There is always a little variation, but today's difference may be due to the number of times we missed turns and had to go back. I swear, the number of times we turned around today is probably more than the last 10 years of doing these rides combined. I don't know if it was sloppy route marking (which almost never occurs) or sloppy paying attention to the marks on the road. But we got back safely, and that's all that matters.

Tomorrow's mileage is still being negotiated. Story tomorrow night.

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