Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Come Together

I've been kind of a hermit with my riding lately, just riding from and to work with the detour here and there for some extra miles.  Riding bikes is about riding bikes, but one can make the experience so much better when it is shared.  I was reminded this on Sunday when I was coerced into riding with the group.  It looked like the makings of a horrible ride.  High wind and flat roads.  Two of my least favorites especially when put together in an equation such as this.  I rode to the shop to meet up with everyone and overdressed.  Good thing I have a locker at the shop.

Quick inspection of the group, and I don't know half of these people.  I'm starting to sweat, and it is not from layers -I just took those off.  We headed out onto the trail and my worst fears were coming true.  The crosswind had everyone ducking for cover.  There were a few squirrely wheels and I was on high alert.  Flat, right out of the box.  This is not a good sign.  I rubbed the Madonna hanging around my neck and made a quick plea.

Back on the road and we were working the headwind, we had the horse power to do it.  I stayed in the back to keep an eye on everyone, and to get comfortable riding with strangers.  It took a little more than an hour before we started having people come apart, but that was cool because we formed small groups and worked to keep everyone together.

I do love riding in groups, especially when it has good cohesion and somewhat of a common goal.  Stay together.  I firmly believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I just forget the fondness that I have.  This was a great group ride and everyone in the group "got it".  With everyone working together and staying together we were able to maintain a good pace and not have to surge and slow, surge and slow.

Companionship is a group thing, it's hard to practice alone.  There is nothing better that flying with a tail wind with your 'mates arm over your shoulder bar-to-bar at 25mph telling you how good it is to be on a ride with you.  The feeling is mutual.  The shared experience, may it be one-on-one or with a group it is a special bond that we all share.  Pain, Joy, Freedom, Friendship.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Closing time

At the end of the North 40 I stopped at the trail head and waited for The Wife to appear.  "Wanna go again?" I asked in my best begging, but still sounding cool voice.  I got the look of, well I got The Look.  We were done.  It was a short little double with a slight down hill all the way to the car.  Coasting.  What a way to top off a trip.  One where I thought I would not get to ride my bike, turned out that I got in some pretty impressive riding.  Got lucky, no all day in the saddle rides, but quality.  Not quantity.  This was the kind of trip that gets the juices flowing, but dose not drain the life out of you.

Of course standing in the parking lot of the Moab Brands trail head, we were over 1,000miles from home.  Talk about a buzz kill.  Back to the hotel, shower, pack, leave.  Six hours in the car to Albuquerque.  By my best guesstimate we will be in the hotel by 6-7pm.  Fueled up and we were out.  Miles and miles of road trip.  The Wife is reading, and I am trying not to plow head first into the side of the road or into oncoming traffic.

I don't know what it is about New Mexico drivers and why they have a problem with me, but I always find some kook that wants to race me when I try and pass them.  With the cruse control on.  At least it keeps me entertained, and the anger like a little fire keeping me warm with colorful insults running through my head. 

We found the hotel this time.  First try.  No google issues trying to get us killed.  Plus, it was the one we stayed in just a few days previous.  Do I trust google maps to find me a pint and food?  I like to live dangerously, so I gave it a whirl.  Marble Brewery.  3.5miles away.  Ended up in a dark industrial part outside of the bright lights of down town ABQ.  Thanks google.  Wait, there it is.  There are people outside under heat lamps.  We are here.  Yes I had their IPA, took a hard look at the double IPA and decided I want to drive home, not to the crash site.

I have to say that Marble's IPA was the best of the trip.  I don't know if it is an actual winner or that it just came at the apex of the trip and the culminating experience just made it all the better.  Which ever it might be it was one tasty IPA.  If you find yourself in the greater ABQ area and are parched from the high desert air, I highly recommend Marble Brewery.  They have a limited menu (food), but more than make up for it with the liquid brewed confections.  We shared some nachos.

We hooked up with my sister for a short night cap, and then to the hotel, another long day tomorrow.  New Years Eve.  10hrs in a car, driving wishing that you were still riding single track in Utah.  This was not to be.  We stopped briefly to eat lunch with my parents in Amarillo, and then kept rolling.  We made it back to Tulsa in time to clean up and head over to a party.  Normally I would be all-a-rage to party it up, but the drive must have taken the wind out of my sails.