It was dark when we started. It's an interesting time of year, in that riding at 6:00 isn't an exercise in cold-pain management, but at the same time, the sun isn't remotely close to waking up. In fact, it's not even thinking about the snooze button yet. It's just plain dark out. Witness, too dark to even focus:
We hit the road at 6:23, lights fully blazing. The cast of characters for this one was Chris RU, Kirt, Utah, and myself (Norm). Iggy wants to see a picture of the author for every post, but at this point, the last thing the world needs is more pictures of my ugly mug (at least this early in the morning). Young Rob was close to joining, but he had to work at the shop at 10:00, and it wasn't likely we'd be back in time to allow him to swing that.
We set sail with a mission in mind: get the socks to Fred. The aim was to get one of the few remaining pairs of MTBNJ L/XL socks to Fred so he can deliver them to a special, yet-to-be-named, guest. I had mailed out a top secret letter the day before to go with the sock delivery. If all goes well there will be more news on that front in the future. For now, let's just hope this bike ride will be the beginning of good things to come.
But hey, at worst it was a good bike ride with some good friends. Here we regroup at a traffic light on route 22, the sun having just come up not too long ago. From left to right, Kirt, Utah, and Chris:
You may recognize these guys from...well, pretty much everywhere. To the far right is scorekeeper extraordinaire, Chris RU. You know the short track results that are emailed to you within 1 hour (truth!) of the race being over? That's him. For 2012 I've promised him a monkey with the ability to type 90 words per minute, so you can expect those results to hit the airwaves in less than 4 minutes, 15 minute protest period be damned.
Anyway, on we continued to Fred's house, where he was letting his dog Nacho get some business done before he tried to drool all of us into submission. Fred was getting himself and his bikes ready for the first of his back-to-back cross races down at Granogue this weekend. No comments on the Beastie Boys stache he's got going on:
So I delivered the socks, we had a quick chat in his kitchen, then we were off to tackle the informal Zion Road Time Trial hill climb. We stood around just enough to cool down, so when we hit the road again we were all pretty much freezing. In a few minutes it was business as usual and before long we hit the base of Zion Road, far too deep into the ride to post any meaningful results.
In the end, only Utah and I took a shot at it. He led most of the way up the hill, but towards the top I jumped around him and did my best to make the top 5 of the overall. Alas, due to my proficiency at eating ice cream, I failed in that quest. I rang in a bit of a disappointing 9:52 which puts me in 8th place.
Here's the end of the run, a picture taken with Robin from another day. As much fun as it would have been to ride with her she wasn't around for today's festivities:
From there it was an about face, cruise back down the hill, then a route home which was exactly the way we had come - a true out and back. Normally I'd try to make a loop out of it, but with time constraints we needed to be as efficient as possible. The day was warming up on the return, but it continued to be a breezy one. The wind hurt more on the the front half, and going home we had the pleasure of picking up some tailwind. But as anyone who rides the road knows, the wind is against you something like 80% of the time. So it was on this day.
We rolled in just a shade over 3 hours, which was more than enough for me. Just like cross season last year, my ability to ride much more than about 90 minutes at a time disappears. In addition to the day being a special sock delivery, I wanted to help remember that big base I built way back in January when I was riding overseas for 6 weeks while everyone here was snowed in. Not sure that 1 day is going to do it. But of course, 1 is a bit more than 0.
When we got back, my daughter Julia ran out and greeted us with smiles. It was a good day, and it was nice to see her so excited to come out and say good morning. She's in this goofy stage now where she can't smile normally when a camera comes out, so this was purely for the moment. Notice the clasped hands and left foot slightly twisting off the ground. Where do kids get this stuff?
In all, a good day, sock delivery or not. I enjoy fall riding, be it mountain biking in the wet fallen leaves, cross races in the mud, or plain old road riding. No matter which way you slice it, this ends up being a great time of year to be out on your bike. Yes, it can be a bit chilly in the morning. But I love the crisp air and the changing season. Do yourself a favor and get out there while it's still nice out.