Wow, we had a great week where we were able to get out on the tandem bike four times! In previous years that wouldn’t have seemed like a big deal, but with the weather we’ve had this year it’s been a real challenge to get in any riding. It always seemed like it wanted to rain on the weekends and once we moved the clocks ahead the rain came on weekday afternoons as well!
However, with very few miles under our belt I took advantage of a slight lull in the action at work to leave “on time” several nights last week so that I could arrive at home about the same time as Debbie and then join her for an early evening tandem ride from the house. We succeeded in pulling this off on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and were able to ride our 25-mile loop before sunset.
It wasn’t a blistering pace by a long shot, but we were happy with how we felt and the ride tempo we were able to maintain. We had a little excitement on Wednesday night when a spoke on our composite wheelset broke: all of the gory details are contained in an earlier blog entry that you can find HERE. Subsequent investigation and inspection of the wheelset disclosed that our rear wheel is also under duress. Oh well, that’s why we have backup wheels, eh?
Friday was an “off-day” from work and cycling as there was a Georgia Tandem Club (aka, PEACHES) ride scheduled for Saturday and I thought my legs had earned a recovery day. However, I’m not sure they really got it as I ended up spending most of the day on my feet doing yard work, i.e., trimming hedges, working the lawn, and the like. I was able to carve out some time to hop on the Harley for a short ride to and meet Debbie for lunch at the Red Eyed Mule. After that it was back to the house with just a short detour to pick up some replacement cleats for my cycling shoes at the local REI. I finished up my yard work and being the eternal optimist, loaded the tandem in the truck for Saturday morning’s ride. Friday evening included our usual visit to On the Border which was a great time as always. All the while we kept our eyes on the weather as the forecasters had been warning of an all-day wash-out on Saturday. However, by the time we arrived at home the forecasts had been updated and it was starting to look like a pretty good day!
I was up somewhat early on Saturday so I could verify the weather was still clear; it was. We were up and out of the house by 8:00am and arrived on the other side of the Atlanta perimeter near Stone Mountain for our group’s ride start. There were only five teams, but that’s almost par for the course these days… quite sadly. But, it was a beautiful day, the temps were pleasant and our riding partners were a joy so we had a great time. I believe all told we rode about 38.5 miles and climbed about 1,800-2,000′: no real steep stuff on that side of town. Both Debbie and I shared that we felt pretty good during and after the ride, which is to say nothing ached, got chaffed or made us feel like taking up a different hobby! We had lunch with our friends before heading back to our side of town where we’d take care of a few errands, take the hardtop off of her little red sports car for the spring & summer and then get ready to have a little bit of a Mark-Fest ahead on my birthday on Tuesday the 14th.
Mark-fest wasn’t all that extravagant; just dinner at our usual Saturday haunt — Olde Towne Tavern & Grille — followed up by a visit to our friend’s David & Deb’s Saturday haunt — Loco Willy’s — which was a good time. We capped off the night by going to a recently re-opened club where our favorite local cover band Pretty Twisted would be playing so we could kick up our heels. The place is something of a dive and struggling to get on its feet after being mis-managed and suddenly put out of business back in December. But, despite some of the rough edges and challenges, the band put on a great show and Debbie and I were able to enjoy our time together watching the action as well as being part of the action on the dance floor. I’m always amazed at how many folks who go to hear these bands have no interest in dancing anymore; seems like a shame to waste a good beat, a good band and a wooden or tiled dance floor when you find one!! The highlight of the night– aside from my date — was a special, personal performance of the “dirty birthday song” by our friend and lead singer for the band, Jody. We capped off the night by doing a repeat of our last night in Panama City Beach by stopping for breakfast at a Waffle House around 2:00am. We were both out like a couple of lights once we returned home.
Sunday started off surprisingly early for me as I was out getting Debbie’s little car washed and the soft top coated with UV protectant for the season, followed up by some work on my motorcycle and our tandem bike. The highlight of our day was a nice motorcycle ride to a long and leisurely lunch via the long-way around, and then it was out to the garage to get our triplet down from the ceiling and prepped for next weekend’s Georgia Tandem Rally. I must say, the garage gets crowded fast once that 10′ long bicycle built for three is on the floor!
Anyway, that was our weekend. We were able to get in over 100 hard miles of riding on our tandems