Monday, February 15, 2010
Fog on the Tyne
"Fog on the Tyne" was a hit for 70's English folk-rock band Lindisfarne. Its catchy little theme was running through my head for most of my Sunday morning outing with the Mules, no doubt because we spent most of the ride in thick fog. I started out from home on a very pretty, if chilly morning, but once I got onto 290 heading west the fog descended and made for some uncomfortable freeway driving.
We're doing 0730 starts at present and I arrived at Zube just after Paddy, who made it slightly before the bloke who unlocks the park gates. Once parked up we caught up a little, not having ridden together for some time. He went on one of the MS-150 recommended rides yesterday, so was looking for a gentle run today, which pleased me no end, as I was just coming back from two weeks out of the saddle. In due course Kenny, Mike and Gregor arrived, and after the usual banter we headed out. I'd managed to forget my jacket, but Paddy (bless his cotton socks) had brought a spare.
I was reasonably comfortable in the early going but told myself very firmly that this was a day for drafting, not pulling, and tried to ride within myself for once. The guys were taking it easy too, but even so I struggled on a few sections, mainly when there was a climb. The cardio-vascular fitness needed to attack the climbs is what you lose first, unfortunately.
About twenty miles in, with the fog as thick as ever, we stopped for "un besoin naturel" and I took the opportunity to irrigate a very large placard promoting some red-neck wing-nut Republican candidate for county dog-catcher (or something similar). It turned out that they had changed the route, so now we didn't stop at the Exxon. I was a little taken aback as I always appreciate the break and usually stock up on water and carbs. Anyway, "Onward thru the fog" as the Oat Willie bumper sticker says (apparently, means nothing to me).
The changed route took us along a very pretty country road which wound its way into Prairie View. It's a definite improvement over the old run back (a straight slog along Business 290) but also had a lot more topography. Once again I was flagging a bit on the climbs. By now the fog had lifted and we had a beautiful morning. Riding past some homes, a Jack Russell terrier (or some other breed of rat dog) decided to take a look at us, and walked right in front of me. I swerved and braked to avoid cutting it in half and very nearly dumped Paddy who was drafting off me. These damn dogs will get you one way or another.
Back in lovely Waller, and we picked up the familiar route back to Zube. Gregor told me to take second wheel for the run-in so that we could keep together, and I velcroed myself to Kenny's wheel as we rolled along at 19-20 mph. With only a few miles to go, Kenny began to ramp up the pace. I hung in there for a while but eventually dropped off the back and made my leisurely way back to the start. A bit more chat with the boys and then I headed back to pass the rest of Valentine's Day with my lovely and very understanding spouse.