I suppose if there was anything akin to a destination, the Greenwood Grocery might have been it. It represented the first major break in riding and the point at which the amount of headwind was significantly reduced. Others might correct me and point out that this ride comprised a loop of sorts, and so the destination was more accurately my driveway starting point. But maybe, for a ride like the Fourth Annual Fall Finale Forty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble, everyone had their own ultimate goal in mind.
This year’s edition of the Ramble had a few characteristics that set it apart from prior events. The weather was warmer and windier than normal. We had our first out-of-state participant. It might have been the largest crowd. I’m pathetic at keeping records, but one count had us at 26 riders this year. We had our first two-flat-tires-at-the-same-location-at-the-same-time coincidence. It was the longest Ramble so far at almost 50 miles. We had our first involvement of Ramble riders helping to resolve an apparent domestic dispute situation, and our first fat tire bike (a Pugsley) participant.
Other than a few of those more unusual things, it was basically a typical Ramble. That means we had a several folks out riding rural north Texas paved and gravel roads, laughing, chatting, and spreading out in a long chain self-paced pedaling to whatever they intended as their destination. This year, the first 18+ miles were almost always into a blustery headwind. That meant that before we reached the Greenwood Grocery, the long chain was splintered into pieces.
But everyone made it to the Grocery. The day turned out just fine. Down in the Greenwood valley, the wind was light, the sun was warm, and I think if I didn’t remember how much farther we had to go, we might have all found a soft pile of leaves somewhere and taken a nap. It was a lazy time. But I forced myself to my host duties and slowly pedaled out of town.
I didn’t get as many photos of the route after the Greenwood stop as intended. Maybe I was distracted by the fantastic weather, or trying to visit with folks one-on-one at different points along that broken chain of riders, or wondering how some of the folks farther behind were doing. I understand those assisting with the domestic dispute were delayed to the point of taking a short-cut back to the start and missed some of the route. Hopefully, their good deed was just as satisfying. I believe some of the others probably have better photo documentation. Hopefully, they will leave a comment and link to their work for us to enjoy.
In the end, I reached my destination. I had in my mind all along to enjoy the day with friends who seem to enjoy some of the same things I do. I always enjoy riding my routes, but being able to do it with friends, and seeing their smiles lifts it to a higher level.
Thank you all for coming. I hope you won’t wait a year before coming back again.