Christopher Rowe

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Purple Fields of Majesty (updated)
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Yesterday, I went on my first ever club ride with the local bicycling club. I'd hoped to have new equipment by now, but I'm still waiting on the people who cut the checks for Sci Fiction to enable that, so I hauled the "ten speed" I bought at a garage sale out to a park in beautiful Midway, Kentucky. (I should point out here, by the way, that I'm not complaining in any way about the people who cut the checks for the Sci Fi Channel, as I believe them to be among the finest men and women in the world.)

I was a bit nervous at first and mainly hung around by the car. I quickly noted that most of the early arrivals were wearing biking shoes that cost more than my bike did when it was new, and that their actual bicycles were manufactured using processes and materials that were only recently declassified by the aerospace agencies of various world governments. It turned out, though, that there was a cycling team leaving from the same parking lot at the same time, and that the well attended "A" ride was much more my speed (though I still bet I had the oldest bike, and possibly the heaviest--if there's one thing I've learned from my extensvie reading of cycling sites, it's to never pass up an opportunity to blame your equipment for something that less generous souls than your own might attribute to, say, an excessive fondness for certain adult beverages).

The ride itself was glorious, if a tad chilly at the beginning and a tad windy at the end. The main bunch included a couple of people who were obviously riding below their level who acted as sort of unofficial ride co-leaders, a trio of nurses training for the upcoming MS-150 ride (which I'm thinking of joining myself, expect my e-mails hitting you up for money any day now), and folks just out for the first ride of the season. Some people did a ten mile out and back, and a few of us extended it into a 20 mile loop through the horse farm country of central Kentucky. The clover was in gorgeous bloom, and I've put a few pictures here, here and here. The last picture shows one of the flatter sections of the road we rode (Rowe rode the road). We saw spindle legged newborn colts and huge wild turkeys, none of whom were as impressed with us as we were with them. We saw trees coming into leaf and I saw a guy miss getting his head taken off—by about sixteen inches—by the sideview mirror of a jackass-piloted panel truck.

UPDATE: Louisville cyclist Duc M. Do has pointed out that it's too early for clover, and we were probably looking at a mixture of two wildflowers—Purple Deadnettle and Henbit. Duc maintains a fabulous website called Kentucky Wildflowers that features the photographs he's taken of roadside flora in his cycling trips around the region. Thanks for helping out the botanically challenged, Duc!

I only flat out "cracked" on two of the climbs, only got caught once by another rider providing my own color commentary a lá Phil Ligget ("The crosswinds have absolutely broken this club ride to pieces and I don't think...that Rowe and his Postal team will be able to pull it back together, do you Paul?"), and met some wonderful people. I'm going again tomorrow. You should go today.

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