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Back to the bottoms

Sunday’s training ride for The Ranch Ride was called off because of the very cool progressive dinner ride taking place in Conway. But, I’ve got dinner plans with my wife, so I planned to set out on a little ride of my own.

After yesterday’s return to the Tour de Toad route, I knew I didn’t want to do anything too grueling today. I wanted to get in a good number of miles, but just kind of take it easy after a long week of riding. Taking it easy this year isn’t what it used to be. Before when I “took it easy,” I looked for the flatest and easiest way to pile up 20-30 miles. Now, I don’t mind a few hills on an easy day and I’d rather go 30-40 miles.

I decided to head back out to the Lollie Bottoms. I thought about taking an alternate route out there that would involve a section of rolling hills, but after prepping dinner, eating lunch and then laying on the couch watching the final stage of the Tour of California, I got lazy. It was also getting late. So I just rolled out my usual way. If I go this way out and back it’s nearly 35 miles, often I will come back and add a 10-mile loop to get to 45.

This wasn’t happening today. For most of the ride out, I was riding into a head wind and I was just miserable. It was made more miserable when I pickup truck gave me a honk and then flew by me at about 55. This is on a road out in the country folks. Nevermind me, if someone had been coming down the other way, there would’ve been no time to react. These roads aren’t exactly as wide a a regular highway.

So that happened. Round Mountain Road is rough as all get out, riding into a headwind and nearly being run over just deflates you. But, toward the end of Round Mountain, you get a nice little swoopy decent that you can fly around. That was a welcome sight on today’s ride. Then once you hit Old Military Road it’s like heaven because it’s real pavement!

I was feeling good again, then came the biggest climb on the trip out to Lollie. It’s not the most horrible thing in the world, though, and I remained in good spirits as I topped out and started the trip down the other side. Then it was off to the Bottoms and all was well once again. Sure the cross/headwind was still wreaking havoc on my average speed, but there was a brilliant lack of traffic and other than the temperature hovering around 92, it was a beautiful day.

As I rolled through the cornfields I was thinking about how great it would be once I turned around and headed back with the tailwind. And boy was it ever, The trip back was fantastic, even though the wind seemed to shift in some spots.

I was even flying back down Round Mountain in the 20s. I thought for sure I’d be going the extra 10 miles. Then I turned onto Stanley Russ Road, not far from home and BAM! The wind hit me harder than it had all day, and I thought, nah, I’m going to just head back home and call it a day.

There’s no shame in it. I’ve ridden 277 miles the past two weeks. Way more than compared to these two weeks a year ago. I’m way ahead of where I was last year. I’ve got plenty of riding ahead of me this summer. Why ruin what turned out to be a pretty nice ride with a battle against the wind. I pulled back into the garage after exactly two hours of riding. I’d say it worked out perfect.

Now, it’s time to get a shower, a wonderful dinner with my bride and a beautiful, relaxing evening. Life is good.