Thursday, June 26, 2008

Buzzed, Alpha, Riding and Calf Convulsions

Rachel had some friends over the other night and turned our garage into a hair salon. Tanner is a good sport. He shaved his head in preparation for the mission trip to Guatemala that he and Rachel and some of the kids from their Hosanna group are taking.

Tammy and I have been attending Alpha classes at Hosanna for the past ten weeks. Alpha is a course designed for people at all different levels in their Christian faith as well as nonbelievers. It's something we've been wanting to do for a while but our schedules didn't allow for us to do it together until now. We were divided into small groups the first night and have remained with the same people throughout. I wasn't sure what to think of setting aside nearly three hours every Thursday night for ten weeks (through part of summer no less) but once it began I soon realized that I was getting a lot out of it. I found that it became one of the highlights of my week.

The course concluded tonight and we've decided that we'd like to keep our small group together. We're going to plan on meeting at our home every other week initially and go from there. Tammy and I had been talking about getting involved in a small group and this became the perfect opportunity for us.

I got new license plates in the mail today for my truck. I hope this isn't a sign of who I'm going to become now that I'm in my 50's. in humbug.

I've been off this past week and I've taken some time to focus on my riding. Not that I haven't been doing my share but I've missed doing some of the longer rides I enjoy so much. I hadn't been taking time for them and maybe I simply needed a break because I feel refreshed. I managed a few 100+ mile rides this past week and hope to put in one more tomorrow.

Last Friday's ride took me out to St. Bonifacious. I started out expecting to do 70 miles but during the ride I was on the phone with Tammy and she told me to enjoy the day and that I'd earned it. That's all I needed to hear. Besides, she would be doing her telephone-nurse-triage thing until 7:30 that night.

The ride began with beautiful weather but coming out of Belle Plaine I noticed the clouds were thickening and what looked like the beginnings of a line of weather behind me. A few miles later climbing hwy 282 out of Jordan it looked like it was going to be all I could do to make it home ahead of the storms. Thankfully I had a tailwind for the final push home but there's about a 1.25 mile section on Texas avenue where I had to turn north. It was there that I hit the gust front from the storms. Turning on to Eagle Creek Avenue I picked up the tailwind again and did my best to beat the rain. Big drops began to fall but then they'd stop. I knew I was on the leading edge of the storm. The roads were wet by the end of my ride but Lakeville was spared the heavy rains. They went north and south of us. The threat for severe weather always adds an interesting wrinkle to a ride when you're out there with no protection.

I was back out again for another long ride on Monday. I had to go through Hastings and I wasn't sure what to expect with the bridge repair they're doing. Whether the bridge is open or not can be hit or miss. When I arrived it was open to one lane of traffic at a time. I waited my turn with the others then crossed into Wisconsin for some of the best riding in the area along hwy 35. I hadn't been to Bay City for a while so I made that my goal. From Bay City I would backtrack a bit and cross back into Minnesota at Red Wing. There's a nice gradual climb coming out of Red Wing for nearly three miles that I always look forward to. I finished the day with 105 miles.

I left the house yesterday not sure how far I'd go. Part of me thought I'd bring it home after 50 miles but I also had thoughts of doing something much longer, on the order of 150 miles; possibly to Mankato and back. I find that I'm doing a better job of listening to my body these days and going with what I feel rather than a strict adherence to a predetermined mileage. With the temp pushing into the upper 80's I decided that 150 miles could easily be more than I needed. I've done very little hot weather riding this year with our cool spring.

I had a driver in Shakopee let me know that he didn't have any appreciation for cyclists. He passed me with no more than 8 inches to spare and flipped me off as he went by. I've gotten good at not reacting in kind and realizing that some people simply have issues and they aren't likely to change. I made an effort to remember his Minnesota license plate; LHS 907.

I made it to Glencoe, bought a 64oz Gatorade and found the shade of a tree to sit under. I checked in with Tammy to let her know I was okay and that I was going to head for home.

Looking at my GPS I noticed that I'd gained 4 minutes of daylight from when I'd left Lakeville. It's always a bit disheartening to watch the days grow shorter as I can't get enough daylight as it is. As of today my Edge tells me the sun is setting at 9:02 and the days have just begun to get shorter.

On the way to Glencoe I made note of a road which I thought could make for an interesting route home rather than going back the same way I came. I'd never taken this stretch of hwy 25. I was feeling a bit adventurous and my legs were doing fine so I decided to see where it went. Shortly after turning onto it I saw a sign for 'Green Isle 7 miles'. Cool. A few weeks ago I'd seen a sign for Green Isle coming out of Belle Plaine but I wasn't headed that way so I took a pass on it then.

It turned out to be a nice diversion from my regular route and with a lot less traffic. There wasn't much in Green Isle but once hwy 25 veered east out of the city the road turned to fresh blacktop which would take me to Belle Plaine. The sort of road you expect to find in heaven.

I couldn't help but have thoughts that this is why I ride while I was out there. Gorgeous weather and a beautiful road with such little traffic. I remember thinking that it must have been a big expense to put so much money into a road which is used by so few. But I didn't mind.

I still had a couple hours of daylight to work with by the time I got home. I was tempted to see how many miles I could pile on but I didn't. 115 was plenty in this heat.

I was sitting on the couch with Tammy after I showered and I noticed my calves twitching as they like to do after a ride. The video camera was nearby and I thought...hey...this is why there's a YouTube.



Tim said...

I almost expected an alien head to come popping out of your calf...

Pdog said...

Sorry, I couldn't watch your leg twitch for 1:43.

Bring back the ducks!