The Ride Before Christmas

It was crisp, cool and clear as I rode out, quite overdressed, to meet the Friday morning levee ride.  Ordinarily I would have been expecting a nice easy ride by myself, but this particular Friday was the day before Christmas and since a lot of people were on holiday, the plan was to meet at the relatively civilized hour of 7 am.  Of course, being a creature of habit, I arrived at 6:40 anyway, so I rode down to the playground where I met up with a few more riders, and then we rode back to the usIt was crisp, cool and clear as I rode out, quite overdressed, to meet the Friday morning levee ride.  Ordinarily I would have been expecting a nice easy ride by myself, but this particular Friday was the day before Christmas and since a lot of people were on holiday, the plan was to meet at the relatively civilized hour of 7 am.  Of course, being a creature of habit, I arrived at 6:40 anyway, so I rode down to the playground where I met up with a few more riders, and then we rode back to the usual starting spot.  Once we finally got going we had about a dozen, I guess.  Scott asked, ”Want to ride all the way out to the end today?”  Mignon replied, “How about the ‘real’ end?”  And so it was decided.  The usual turnaround for the usual long ride is actually nearly two miles from the end of the asphalt since the bike path was extended early this year. It was a good group today, and everyone was pretty much on the same page.  We took nice mile-long pulls at a comfortable 21-22 mph., for the most part.  With a light tailwind, it felt fairly easy, especially when sitting in the paceline enjoying the draft.  Way, way out near the end of the bike path the pace eased up.  Just then Mignon pointed excitedly toward the river.  “Eagles!”  I had to turn around before I could see them, but sure enough, there was a pair of bald eagles perched in the batture trees.  I stopped and fumbled with my camera, but before I could even turn it on they both took off up the river. Anyway, any ride where you spot an eagle around here is a good one. So the ride back involved a bit more cross and tailwind, but in general things stayed smooth.  We had a couple of stops when Scott’s tire went soft.  He tried shooting in some CO2 at first to see if he could make it back but within a mile or two it was already going flat again, so we stopped for a proper tube change.  When we got back to the playground I followed Mark to his house to pick up my copy of  the Chasing Legends DVD (and a stray stopwatch that I think actually belongs to LAMBRA).  A few hours later I was at a family lunch, and from here on out the next 24 hours will be devoted mostly to eating pie and drinking wine, or mimosas, depending on the time of day.  Hope everyone has a merry little christmas!

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