Monday, November 23, 2009

Winding Down with Friends

I've been hitting the road a lot on my bicycle the past few weeks (literally, one time too many), and sensed the beginnings of burn-out. My friend, Vida Greer, has been feeling a little burn-out coming on for her, too, and Jeff Bauer ... well, okay, Jeff never gets burned out. I think Jeff could probably spend the rest of his life on a bicycle seat and be happy. But Jeff has had some pressing business matters come up, and so he was amenable to the idea of a shorter Saturday ride this past weekend.

It was colder than last weekend -- when the temperatures had risen into the 70's both days -- so we opted for a later start from Vida's house. This allowed me to get in an extra 40+ miles by biking over there and back.

I went through "downtown" Brentwood, stopping at Bruegger's Bagels (which used to be partly owned by cycling legend and French rock star Greg LeMond). Unfortunately, the shop had been commandeered by cheerleaders from a local high school, apparently on their way to one of those cheerleading competitions. I went over to Starbuck's, instead, and made do with a scone.

There's a nice ridge west of Brentwood. Coming over Manley Road, I was reminded of another reason that I like to climb: The view.

By the time we rolled out from Vida's, it was warm enough to take off my jacket and glove liners. Vida also shucked a layer, and then slipped it into my bag. RandoGirl does this all the time, too, but it's just the downside of having a big trunk -- all the girls want to put their junk in it.

We headed south on Old Natchez to Del Rio Pike and Boyd Mill Pike, circling in towards Leiper's Fork. Since it was a leisurely ride, I was able to stop and get pictures of the longhorn steers on Bear Creek Road.

While we were stopped, the horses across the road came over to check us out. They still had their horse snugglies on.

Blue for boys and pink for girls.

Skirting the edge of Leiper's Fork, we stopped at Robinson's Market for fuel, and then headed further south down Robinson Road. Here, we got a good look at the construction on Hwy 840 that is tearing things up.

We all loved the fact that the little house in the hollow is still there. It will be really weird and cool if it's still there when they open the road ... kind of like the heart of this area thumbing its nose at progress.

Since this was a "short" ride, we only went as far as Mobley's Cut before starting to circle our way back. We went over to Davis Hollow, then left on Peach Hollow and down to Garrison Road. The buffalo cooperated by standing close to the fence.

Then we got back on Leiper's Creek Road. There's a farm on your right coming north on this road, just before you get to Pinewood Road, that I think is just about the prettiest farm in the world. You come over the hill, and the field on your right opens up to reveal it whole.

Pictures never do this farm justice. You have to drive out and see it. Better yet, bike there!

We zipped through "downtown" Leiper's Fork without stopping, taking Southall to McMillan, then left on Boxley Valley after the first of the two steep hills. We call those hills "the Dolly Partons," so I guess Boxley Valley has us veering down Dolly's cleavage towards a place where we ain't got no business.

Back on Boyd Mill Pike, some baby donkeys had heard that we were taking pictures.

I had a package of Powerbar Gel Blasts in my jersey pocket, which I had noticed earlier in the ride had somehow sprung a leak. They were suspect for humans, but the horses in this field loved them. Vida also gave up most of her last granola bar, and we made some friends.

Back on Del Rio, I said goodbye and started for home. After crossing the ridge and getting back to Brentwood, I was starving (this is what happens when you don't get your bagel in the morning and your gel blast later), so I stopped at McAlister's and had a big sandwich before riding the rest of the way home.

It's nice to have friends like Jeff and Vida that I can do this sort of ride with -- cyclists of similar abilities with whom I can enjoy good conversation as we roll through beautiful country. Sometimes, we ride with too much focus on training and technique and huge miles -- spending so much time within ourselves that we forget to interact with the world around us, and the great people that live there.

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