|I am a Golden God!|
My previous attempt at modifying an existing route did not go well (see last week's blog entry!) and I later realized that Map My Ride had us going cross-country for about 1/2 a mile. Can't really blame it for the crap, dog-infested road though. This time I hedged my bets by sticking mainly to farm-to-market roads - more traffic but also better surfaces. It looked like we could go north on 359 almost to Hempstead, and then come south on 362. I loaded up the Garmin and off we went.
I have taken to bringing some music with me for the car, in the hope of planting a new ear-worm for the ride. Last week was Pink Floyd's first (and best!) offering, Piper at the Gates of Dawn - didn't go down so well as it happens. This week I brought Kevin Ayers' last album, The Unfairground, partly because it's good but mostly because Kevin, one of the founder members of Soft Machine, died recently at 68. It worked for me, I had one of the tunes in my head all morning.
One drawback of rides out of Pattison is that we park up at the high school and there is nowhere for a legal pee. We saddled up (chilly morning, lots of gear) and headed out, expecting to take a bio-break fairly quickly. A few miles in we spotted a mini-market and decided the time was right to pump ship. Sadly they had no public rest-rooms and we were faced with riding further on full bladders or taking a discrete wild wee. I marched over to a small thicket which offered just a little cover, and with some misgivings Kevin joined me.
Back on the road and we had barely gone a mile before a State Trooper went by. We waved, glad that he hadn't finished his donut a little earlier and driven by when we were in flagrante so to speak.
359 was busy, with a lot of heavy traffic, but there was a good surface and a wide shoulder. The bigger problem was the wind, straight down our throats and blowing half a gale. We agreed to share the workload and I suggested quite short pulls before rotating. This worked OK but as usual we got split up on all the climbs. We caught up with another group of 3 riders and I tried to get them to share the load but they weren't very forthcoming and Kevin wasn't keen on drafting behind total strangers.
A bit more slog and then the turn east appeared on the Garmin. We made it and then stopped for a mid-ride breather, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Back at it and we turned south - and the fun began. With a smooth surface and a hellacious tailwind we were blowing and going, 20+mph without feeling a thing. At one point Kevin made a crack about being a "Golden God" - a quote from the movie "Almost Famous". For those who haven't seen it, the scene in question occurs when the aspiring guitar hero Russell trips on acid, climbs onto the roof of a house and shouts "I am a Golden God" before leaping into the swimming pool. We were Golden Gods but on nothing stronger than cycling-induced endorphins.
We got into some rollers and I had the temerity to challenge Kevin on a couple. I did OK but eventually discretion became the better part of valour and I resumed the normal, "wait for me at the top" position. By this time it was pretty clear that we were off the planned route, but we were going south and it seemed likely that we would hit 362 sooner or later.
And indeed we did, just north of the intersection with 529, a section that is on the MS route (although Kevin didn't recognise it). The last time I rode here it was during the last, ill-fated Cheeseburger Classic, when I crashed and burned. No risk of that today, with a tailwind and a strong pair of legs. A little further and we were back at the start, 44 miles at an average of 17.9mph - pretty good under the conditions. I think we're Almost Ready, if not Almost Famous.