We headed into the weekend looking forward to two days of cycling and we’re able to achieve that goal. We headed out around 9:30am on Saturday which was relatively early for us for a very enjoyable 25 mile ride on our usual loop ride from the house on what was an absolutely lovely morning. The temperature was in the low-80’s with about 60% humidity and lovely blue skies with puffy white clouds. Our average speed reflected a slightly faster than usual tempo which was also nice since neither of us felt like we worked all that much harder than normal. Again, just a wonderful morning to be out on the bicycle.
After getting back from our tandem ride I turned my attention to yard work while Debbie headed out to get groceries for the week ahead. After knocking out the yard work I hopped on the black Dyna Wide Glide and headed off to REI in search of padded cycling socks.
As a mixed blessing, I’ve slowly lost about 25 lbs over the last 18 months. Therefore, I’ve had to have all of my suit pants taken-in and cycled through four sizes of blue jeans. Apparently my feet have also lost a little “padding” and I’ve found that unless I wear thicker socks I can’t get my cycling shoes to fit properly. So, I’ve had to retire about 10 pair of ‘thin’ cycling socks and now need to supplement what are now just two pair of padded Smart Wool socks: the other two pair have gone missing (???).
This time around I decided to pick up some Darn Tough socks from Vermont at REI, as an alternative to the Smart Wool. I’ve had great luck with Smart Wool’s cycling socks, but the boot socks I bought for my western boots (well, OK.. they’re actually ski socks) have not held up as well as I’d have expected, with the heels wearing through to being nearly thread bare. So, we’ll see how these “Endurance” cycling socks stack up against the Smart Wool variety. When the Smart Wool boot socks finally wear-out (not sure I can darn them but we’ll see), Darn Tough may get the call given their life-time replacement warranty.
Back at the house, I decided to grab a little sun to knock down the cyclist / farmer tan on my legs and arms. As it turns out, I got a pretty good tan while we were in Florida over the 4th of July and for the first time in my adult life I’ve been able to maintain it. Hence, several references to “getting some sun and vitamin D”. Yeah, yeah… I’ll probably come to regret it at some point. But, so far I’ve been able to avoid getting sun burn through the use of sun screen and maintaining the tan I picked up in Florida. We’ll see how it holds up through the winter (ha, ha).
After “chilling” for an hour in the late afternoon we began Saturday night with the “usual” routine, which was dinner at Loco Willy’s. As we’ve mentioned time and again, the best things at Loco Willy’s are usually not on the menu. Charles made it particularly difficult to choose this week with a couple new specials that were in addition to the James River oysters and some amazing smoked BBQ ribs. We were pulled in by the Ahi Pike Won Ton Tacos and the Kalibri pork ribs, which we split as our dinner. Not a lot of food, but Tapas (appetizers) never are. The Ahi was, well, Ahi… delicious with a nice twist. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth good. Again, not the kind of food that will fill you up, but our taste buds were definitely dancing.
We headed over to Brewsters Bar & Grille after Willy’s as they always have a good bands that start at 8:00pm instead of 9:00pm or 10:00pm. Now, the bands are typically on Friday, but given Saturday was their Lobster Fest they had a band called Big Bang playing on Saturday. We found a number of our friends when we arrived and had a pretty good time for the hour we were there, getting in a few dances and chatting with friends. However, we wanted to catch our friend Roger’s band Exodus over at the Highland Grill on Johnson’s Ferry Road at 9:00pm.; always good to support your friends when you can!
We were pleasantly surprised to find some of the folks we expected to be on hand — Eve, Mitzi & John — but were also thrilled to find our friend Roger B. who had relocated to Fort Myers, Florida, hanging out at the club. We had a great time and got in a good amount of dancing which is what Saturday nights are all about! I think it was around 11:00pm when we headed out and checked-in back at Brewsters to see who was still on hand. It was a different crowd and the band was on break so we headed on over to the Town Center Highlands Grill where our friend Sarge was doing his Karaoke thing with the college kids from Kennesaw State. We had a night cap while listening to a really good Meatloaf tribute from one of the singers before calling it an evening around midnight. It was s good night out, but we probably should have headed to Nashville and just camped out at the Two Fiddles or Crossroads, always a great time a TONS of dancing!!!
When I woke up at 6:00am I could hear a strong, steady rain falling outside which clearly put our morning tandem ride in jeopardy. We’d heard there was a 40% chance of rain but for us that became 100% overnight night. There appear to be a few periods of time during the day when the rain would clear for at least an hour or two so we set our sights on that and went about our Sunday indoor chores.
I think it was around 11:30 when the sun finally broke through the clouds and the promise of a tandem ride became a bit more real. To hedge our bets I put the mud guards on the tandem which would take care of the remaining wet spots on the tree covered roads as well as any rain that we might encounter.
Like Saturday, we had a very good ride where our ride tempo was above average for what we’ve seen all year; that’s a good thing! The temps were nice but the humidity was pretty oppressing whenever we came to a stop. So, our strategy was, let’s not stop! We kept our tempo high for the entire ride and it really was a great time on the bike. Having the mud guards on really paid off as well, as there were a lot of lingering wet patches of road where we would have been splattered with all kinds of road crud if it wasn’t for our mud guards.
Debbie was looking fine as always sporting a new helmet and relatively new Tifosi glasses. I got to try out my new helmet — OK, they’re the exact same models as the ones we’ve been wearing for 8 years — and the new Darn Tough socks. Helmet felt just like the old one, and the socks were really nice: I liked the low-cut cuff design a lot more than the crew cuff on the Smart Wood cycling socks.
Yes, I’m back to shaving my legs: it’s just a really hard habit to knock. I’d abstained until I dropped my weight but having met and surpassed that goal, I’m back to slick legs and it feels great. It also ties in nicely with my new clean-cut / goatee-less look. I’d toyed with growing the goatee back a few days this week, as evidenced by Saturday’s cycling selfie, but as you could see in today’s selfie the stubble was gone again.
After our ride I discovered that we had a frame issue on the Calfee which I’ll cover in a separate blog entry. However, suffices to say, the Calfee is “grounded” for a while until the frame is made whole again.
On the bright side, while we no longer have a spare tandem, we do have our single bikes and our tandem family has come through an offered up spare tandems to fill any void left while we get our Calfee sorted out. This is why we love our tandem family: they’re always there for you… ready to open their homes, share tandems and make sure that we can always continue to pursue our passion for tandem cycling.
I will say, my tank was empty when we got back home so after grabbing a coupe showers we jumped on Blue and headed off to Loco Willy’s for our Sunday hot wing fest. It did not disappoint; the maggies were cold, the wings hot, the fries crisp and our friends on both sides of the bar were a joy to be around: I think it’s the combination of the great people, good food and avoiding eating alone at home that keeps sending us back to Loco’s.
After lunch we headed over to our friends Katelyn and Zack’s house-warming. Well, to be exact, it was Katelyn’s house-warming: Zack is reaping the benefits in a quid quo pro kind of arrangement. However, we’re confident he’ll make good and close the deal in the not too distant future: love those kids!!!! We also were reminded of how small the world is as we met quite a few of our Brewsters / Panama City Beach Bike Week friends there along with some co-workers from the Big-L.
So, here I sit on the veranda at home relaxing, collecting my thoughts and enjoying some pre-season football on the tele with beautiful blue skies and the ceiling fan cascading lovely late summer air over my head. Yeah, work is waiting for me on the other side, but a nice evening at home with a ride to work on the Harley makes the whole work thing a pretty good deal. After all, without work, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy these weekends and our not-that-inexpensive hobbies. Just something to keep in mind….