Well, I'll throw in my ride, since today my distance was almost respectable, though certinly not outstanding. Rode in to work about 8 AM, to get a few things done though I'm officially on vacation until after the new year. As I've mentioned before, West Texas is basically desert and one thing those who've never lived in a desert often don't realize is that desert regions do get cold at night, since there is little humidity to moderate temperature changes. So at 8 AM it was in the mid to low 30's. So, riding the custom Caygill touring bike to work, I wore the Nashbar wool tights (pretty old ones), Vintage Velos Molteni LS wool jersey, Kucharik wool cap and Kucharik wool jacket. These jackets are pretty nice. The front half is covered with a windproof synthetic top layer, but the rest of the jacket is 100% wool. Pretty warm and pretty classic.
Left work just before noon to meet my wife for lunch. Big Spring Texas hardly has the choice of cuisine many of you enjoy, but we do have The Peachy Cafe, which serves sandwiches, quiche, and believe it or not, creme brulee. I'm not a quiche fan, but my wife had it. I went for the Tuesday special, beef pot roast, topped off with creme brulee. I rode by bike to the lunch, about another 5 km from the house.
Now rather than an unmolested afternoon of cycling, my wife decrees that since she hasn't had her car inspected, which has to be done before the end of the month, I'm supposed to do it for her while she goes back to work and furthermore she rushes back to work with the car while I wait on the creme brulee. So I ride the Caygill by the inspection place to make sure they are open, then ride to the VA hospital and find her car in the parking lot. Chalk up another 5 km. Put the Caygill in the back seat (it just fits) drive to the inspection place, get the car inspected, and return the car to the VA parking lot. So it's now 3 PM, and I'm finally allowed to do a little riding. This being the desert, it's now 80F at 3 PM after the low 30's this morning.
Pull the Caygill out of the car. The wool jacket is now obviuosly too warm, so stow in the the Carradice pannier. Now Big Spring is desert, but a hilly desert, a mesa north of town named Scenic Mountain is in fact the northern most edge of the Edwards Plateau, which is the geological definition of the Texas Hill Country, although most people would define the Hill Country as ending perhaps at San Angelo, 85 miles south. But in any case, while the terrain becomes almost dead flat to the north and west of Big Spring for hundreds of miles, Big Spring itself is quite hilly.
The said Scenic Mountain is occupied by a state park, with a 5 km loop climbing then descending the mountain, which is frequented by walkers and the odd cyclist. This is one of my favorite routes. So right, off from the VA to the park, up the mountain then down again. Then around the base of the mountain to the west end of town, occupied by a closed air force base which now houses an air museum. Also houses four separate prison units, mostly minimum security, white colllar crime and such. Not exactly a cultural plus, but does provide some of the employment and cash flow once provided by the air base. The road passes right by one unit where once can often seen the prisoners exercising around a fairly nice full size running track, but everyone is inside today.
Turn back toward home, heading east. The wind blows most of the time here - in fact the tops of most of the mesas except in the park are now covered with wind turbines. And the wind today, as is most often the case, is from the west and pretty brisk, so this part of the ride is pretty fun. Always best to plan one's rides to have a 20 mph wind at one's back on the final leg. Improvise a bit on the final leg to make sure I reach 50 km for the day. Not exactly a century, but OK considering I really wasn't set free until 3 PM.
Big Spring, Texas, USA
> From: Rich Pinder <email@example.com>
\r?\n> Subject: Re: [CR]Today's ride (with On Topic cycle !)
\r?\n> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
\r?\n> Date: Tuesday, December 30, 2008, 2:54 PM
\r?\n> Well, I got up this morning and decided to return to the
\r?\n> beautiful Santa
\r?\n> Clar(it)a valley area, and the town Santa Paula, CA. I had
\r?\n> three goals:
\r?\n> 1) retrieve my ATM card left in the local bank's
\r?\n> machine on this past
\r?\n> weekends outing; 2) return to Cafe Velo, and visit some
\r?\n> more with
\r?\n> Cecile & Baron; 3) RIDE.
\r?\n> Reaching highway 126 before sunrise, I felt the strong
\r?\n> gusts of the
\r?\n> notorious winds that whip down this pretty valley that
\r?\n> connects the
\r?\n> suburbs out in the Magic Mountain area, with the coast down
\r?\n> in Ventura.
\r?\n> So I did a 24 mile 'out and back' - wisely doin
\r?\n> the OUT against the
\r?\n> wind, and absolutely FLYIN back to Santa Paula on the
\r?\n> smooth back roads
\r?\n> for my way BACK !!
\r?\n> I've been chastised for posts with my slightly 'off
\r?\n> topic' 80's rides...
\r?\n> so today I dusted out my early (1972 ?) Windsor Pro. Rumor
\r?\n> I heard
\r?\n> before I bought it was that a manufacturing company down in
\r?\n> created some decent quality frames, styled after the
\r?\n> Italian Cinellis.
\r?\n> When I first rode the bike, I wasn't too impressed for
\r?\n> some reason.
\r?\n> Well, I'm not sure if my taste has refined, or perhaps
\r?\n> the drive train
\r?\n> 'tune up' I did last night (12 days of Bike
\r?\n> Christmas project !!) helped
\r?\n> out... or perhaps I pumped in just the right amount of air
\r?\n> in those
\r?\n> sewups - but today that bike just felt GREAT. South
\r?\n> Mountain Road has
\r?\n> some very smooth asphalt on it - so that could have helped
\r?\n> as well.
\r?\n> Flying back to Santa Paula, with that wild tail wind and at
\r?\n> the max of
\r?\n> the 10 speed, the bike felt SO stable and responsive.
\r?\n> Boy, guess I
\r?\n> need to dig out and ride those dust collectors MORE often,
\r?\n> For a stroll down memory lane (and to kind of chime in on
\r?\n> the Masi
\r?\n> thread), take a read of the Bicycling magazine reprint I
\r?\n> tucked into the
\r?\n> bottom of my web page with the bike. Written by Ed Sykes,
\r?\n> he draws some
\r?\n> Masi theme comments in comparing the rides (who knows if
\r?\n> it's a true
\r?\n> comparison, eh?).
\r?\n> Todays ride route here:
\r?\n> The Windsor Pro here:
\r?\n> Happy New Years everyone. Here's hopin for another
\r?\n> GREAT year of
\r?\n> vintage bikes and riding in 2009 !
\r?\n> Rich Pinder
\r?\n> Van Nuys, CA
\r?\n> [hmmm... for tomorrows ride.... maybe that red 72 Paramount
\r?\n> squished WAY back in the back of my ratty arsed garage.....
\r?\n> Jerome & Elizabeth Moos wrote:
\r?\n> > West Texas isn't so bad.....