Just when many of our regular readers were probably thinking we’d been fully consumed by the Dark Side (i.e., motorcycling) and had lost all interest in cycling and tandem cycling in particular, we FINALLY get a couple days when the weather was “good enough” for cycling.
You’ll recall that in addition to some long-standing health issues that have plagued our household and rain on just about every weekend, I recently had a second two month-long bout of upper respiratory and sinus infections that was caused by our hellacious pollen season. Now, when I say hellacious, we’re talking pollen counts in the thousands…
It seems to be the hardwood trees that were popping pollen in March and early April that got to me the worse. But, it’s still a bit early to celebrate as the grass pollens are just now starting to blow and I’m allergic to those as well.
But I digress, the point of the pollen update is… yes, I’m still hacking but I’ve thrown caution to the wind and spend two days — Friday and today, Sunday — on the bike ingesting pollen with reckless abandon. And, at least until tomorrow morning when I have to cough up a lung right before brushing my teeth, I’d have to confess it felt REALLY good to be back on the bicycle! And, more to the point, REALLY good to be back on the tandem with my sweetie! Here’s how the weekend played out….
BACK ON THE BICYCLE…!
Friday was a work from home / light day of work for me so I was able to knock out a few tasks before heading off to join our Lockheed Martin cycling team for a pre-Tour de Cure road ride up in Cartersville, Georgia at 9:00am. My original plan was to do the 48-mile option, but I may have been a bit too ambitious given my complete lack of base miles for the year. Seriously, I think I have maybe 300 miles of road riding and 50 miles of off-road riding under my belt. Now, it’s worthwhile to note that we started off in a light rain which subsided just long enough for our ride… well, OK: the 28-mile route. Yup, I had to call it a day at the 19-mile cut-off for the long route. I went out too fast with the guys I used to ride with and paid for it dearly after the first 15-miles. So, once we got to the 19-mile split, I looked at the clock and saw that if I wuss’d out and did the 9-mile ride back to the start for a 28-mile loop ride I’d be able to high-tail it back to Marietta and meet my sweet Debbie for lunch! Always look for the silver lining. Hey, at least I got in a few miles… and got a huge hunk of humble pie served up to remind me just how much road work I’ll need to get back to par.
My alternate plan worked out well, and Debbie was very happy that we were able to meet for lunch. We decided to give The Red Eyed Mule one more shot to see if things were back to normal and finally learned why our friends and the owners of The Mule, Sabra & Joe, hadn’t been around. Turns out, Joe was transferred to a position based in Philadelphia, PA! Howz about that. Now, they’re apparently keeping the restaurant and have some folks managing it on their behalf. But, I gotta tell ya, like most of the places we like to frequent, it’s the people who work there that keep us coming back. The food also has to be good, but it’s that welcome feeling that we crave and sadly, the new crew working at The Mule doesn’t know how important that “connection with the regulars” is. They still have the best burger in town, but without that personal connection…. just not sure how long we’ll hang in there.
After lunch, I had to go and buy a new washer / dryer as our 26-year old Maytag stack finally started to send me a clear signal that the end was near. After checking the reviews and also polling our friends on Facebook we decided to see if the Samsung front-load machines will live up to all the hype. We can only hope that they really are “the best” and that “the best” doesn’t really mean “the best of the worst”: we’re told that todays’ machines will never see 26-years, never mind 10-years in most cases. How sad.
Of course, switching from a stacked washer/dryer combination to a side-by-side also meant that I’d need to reconfigure out laundry room; uggg. That was definitely not in my original weekend plan. Suffices to say, I’ve been making numerous runs back to the Home Depot to get the various materials I’ve needed to tear out the old shelving, patch walls, repaint the room and re-engineer the overflow drain and dryer duct systems to allow the washer to go on the left and the dryer on the right… 180° out from how they built our laundry room. I still need to finish touching up the paint, hang new shelves and finalize the overflow plumbing connections but seem to be on track to support the delivery of the new machines on Tuesday!
Oh yeah, it started raining again around 2:00pm and continued through the night and on into Saturday. Good thing I had an indoor project, eh? We did our usual ‘Finally a Friday’ celebration at our local On the Border restaurant: a good time as always.
Saturday began with a little work from home, a few errands for Debbie, and the rest of the day was spent getting the laundry room ready for paint on Sunday. Amazing how such a little room can take so much time and material to get squared away.
Sunday started off foggy with a slight drizzle, but by 11:00am the sun broke through and delivered a beautiful day. We had a visit from the kids and grandkids, although I let Miss Debbie handle the granddaughters while I finished rolling on the first coat of paint, fetched a couple of pizzas for lunch and then got Debbie’s little Honda and my Toyota truck washed & emissions tested so I could send off our annual vehicle registrations before the deadline on Wednesday.
By the time I had all of that done it was 3:00pm and the weather was beautiful. So, I set aside my laundry room project and took Miss Debbie out for a 25-mile tandem ride. Oh, that felt SOOO GOOD! As alluring as the Dark Side can be, it can never replace the satisfaction that comes from a tandem bicycle ride, or any bike ride for that matter. No worries about every giving up on cycling and tandem cycling, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get the events aligned and deconflicted.
Now, I must confess, we weren’t tearing up the street by any stretch. There were times when I was sure we’d hooked the trailer from the motorcycle to back of our tandem. I’m thinking I was still recuperating from Friday’s “wake-up call” on my single bike. Oh, it’s amazing how fast fitness and endurance fall away, never mind the compounding effect that it has when faced with year-over-year reductions in riding mileage. However, we’re going to reverse that trend, by golly. Now, as for the near term, we have a PEACHES (aka, Tandem Club of Georgia) ride on Saturday and the Tour de Cure on Sunday. While I’d originally planned for us to do the metric century at the Tour de Cure, Saturday’s on-bike performance may dictate that we dial-it back and either take a short cut on the 62-mile course, or just delay our start and ride the 36-mile option. Regardless, we’re just hoping for nice weather on both days!
After getting back from our ride, it was time to put the second coat of paint on the walls and to hit the trim. I think I called it quits around 7:30p and had everything cleaned up and put away by 8:00pm. We called and wished our mothers a happy Mother’s Day and then I spent the rest of the evening balancing accounts and paying bills.
On the bright side of bill paying, one of those checks was made out to the Southern Tandem Rally organizers, so we’re definitely planning on attending that. Geez, I better make sure it’s not the same weekend at Biketober Fest at Daytona Beach!!!
It was a busy weekend, but those are always good weekends. Still need to finish the laundry room and cut the lawn, but I’m going to work in at least one or two bike rides after work this week!