|Looks like fun!|
I hadn't been out two weekends in a row (first one was due to work, the second because of a sore lower back) so I was chafing for a ride, particularly with the MS barely a month away. Kevin spent the week in sub-Saharan Africa and got back feeling bone-tired and a little under the weather, so was out of commission. The Mules were not much in evidence on Facebook, probably due to the crappy weather forecast, but Shawn was looking for a Zube ride and suggested an 8am start. With the clocks going forward this would mean a 5am alarm and I just couldn't face it. It didn't help that I put away a big tray of crawfish at Pappadeaux on Saturday either. So I decided to ignore Daylight Savings Time and see how the weather looked when I woke up.
And of course it was peeing with rain at 7am! But the radar and forecast for Zube was dry, so no excuses, off I went. When I got to Zube there was one vehicle only in the parking lot and no sign of Shawn. He's much faster than me anyway so I decided to be the Lone Mule. The car was showing 45 degF and there was a stiff breeze from the north - on with all the gear (but I forgot the leggings, which I would grow to regret). Off I went, trying for a steady 17-18mph - very feasible running south, not an option when I turned west unfortunately, it was a struggle to hold 15mph. It was also damn cold, my feet were like size 9 blocks of ice, especially into the wind.
The run out is mainly north and it was tough all the way. I was glad to turn west once more and start the run down to the gas station. With the wind on my back I was cooking along in fine style, but oddly I felt even colder, perhaps because I wasn't working as hard. Halfway down Laneview I saw a few egrets in a flooded field. I spooked them and when they took off, three blue herons that I hadn't seen went with them, a spectacular sight.
At the gas station I strained spuds and got my water bottle from a nice lady who asked how I was today, as you do. "I'm freezing" I replied, getting a laugh, so I went on to comment that I didn't know whose idea this ride was but it was a bad one. At this the lady looked around and noted that as I was on my own, it was actually pretty clear whose idea it was! Gales of laughter ensued.
Back at it and I opted for the standard run in down Business 290, expecting the wind to be on my rear quarter, which it was. The roads were quiet and dry and I made good time. With only a few miles to run I spotted a caracara on a fallen tree, pretty close to the road. I should have stopped for a photo but I would probably have spooked him. Not much further along I saw what appeared to be two dogs on the side of the road - here we go, I thought, getting ready for a sprint - but when I got closer they turned out to be goats and they ignored me completely.
The last few hundred yards were dead into the wind but a full bladder gave me wings! Back at the car, I changed into warmer gear but could barely get my socks on, my feet were so cold. It was several hours later, back home after a nap, before I felt warm again. But I managed 43 miles at a little over 15mph average all on my big boy own.