A Photo Contest?

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I mentioned recently that this year’s Ramble includes a photography contest. Here are a few details on how I’d like the contest to work…

Theme – Capture the spirit of the Fifth Annual Fall Finale Country Path Ramble

Categories – Three opportunities to win; landscape, bikes, and people

Prizes – I anticipate one prize for each category, but keep in mind this is a pathetically low budget affair

Judges – Mrs. Pondero and I will judge the entries, and she has already informed me that photos that include dogs will given bonus points.

Miscellaneous Details – Photos must be taken on the route during the Ramble, but pre-departure and post-return photos on our homesite do qualify. Individuals are eligible to win in only one category. No limit to the number of entries, and photos may be submitted for more than one category. Submit photos to me, via email, by December 17. If you submit photos, I am assume you are giving me permission to post on my blog (credit will be given).

We have only two weeks and change left to prepare. So far I only have a small number of RSVPs. If you are planning to join us, please help me out and send me an email ASAP. I’m looking forward to this years Ramble and hope you can join us.

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Fall Colors & Mud

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Funny how I had to push myself out the door this morning. Yeah, it was 34 degrees, with drizzle, and 15+mph wind, and that doesn’t usually sound like fun for me. But it can be managed. As it turns out, the colors in the trees and grasses made it a lovely outing, even if the mud made it a bit of a challenge. Photos of some of the mud are included as a reminder to all of us Fifth Annual Fall Finale Country Path Ramble participants. North Texas gravel roads can have a bit of an attitude at times.

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Ramble 2013 Four-One-One

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Pausing creekside for a coffee break, I pondered this year’s Ramble.  I’ve already announced the date…Saturday, December 14…so folks could set aside the day.  But no other details have yet been given.

Veterans of the ride have a pretty good idea on what to expect.  In many ways, this years ride will be very similar to what we’ve done for the last four years.  In fact, my description post from last year almost still applies word for word.  So below is basically the same information, with only a few minor edits.  However, there is one noteworthy addition to this year’s event.  See the very end of this post for that.

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When

This year’s Ramble will be on Saturday, December 14. We will roll out of my driveway at 10am. That means you should arrive in time to make all needed preparations BEFORE 10am.

 What

The Ramble is a ride I do each year on a Saturday near the very end of autumn. The primary objective is to spend a few hours riding a bicycle with others on rural north Texas roads.  A goodly fraction of the route is on gravel roads. Historically, it’s length has been in the 40-50 mile range. See prior Ramble reports for a little more insight (2011,2010, and 2009)

I actually have two route possibilities, and they are both close to 50 miles. Final route selection has not been made yet, and might ultimately be made based on the weather forecast (I generally like to avoid ending my rides with headwind slogs).

Speaking of weather, I always want folks to know that I’m not hard-core.  I can ride if it is a little cold, or a little drizzly, but I don’t like cold and wet.  On days like that, I will send you on your way with a cue sheet and my best wishes, and then spend the rest of my day by the fireplace.

The pace is what I call “conversational” because I think of this as a social kind of ride.  We might stop for snacks, photographs, or just because.  Like last year, I plan to have cue sheets available for those who might wish to ride faster or slower than me.

The other thing to emphasize for this ride is that you are responsible for you. This is not a T-shirt ride, there are no entry fees, and no sag services. Routes options have at least one place to stop for restroom, water, or snacks.  On one route that opportunity comes at approximately mile 19, and on the other route it comes at approximately mile 25. You should have a back-up plan for a mechanical problem, and beware…some areas on the Ramble route do not have cell phone service.  Yes, it’s rural.

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Who

Anyone who is interested in being a part of what is described above is welcome to participate. If you plan to join me, I would appreciate an email message or a blog post comment telling me that you will be here.  My preparation plans are dependent on the number of folks participating, so please help me with this.

Where

If you need my address and/or directions to my little place on the prairie, send me an email.

How

Plan ahead. If this Ramble thing sounds like a good time, block out the day and get it on your calendar now. Then make your contingency plan in case you can’t finish the route for any reason. Finally, let me know you are coming.

Any questions?

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New for 2013

To celebrate the five year milestone, I’m adding a photography contest. I’ll post more details later, but the idea is to encourage observing your surroundings and taking opportunities to get off the bike occasionally. In other words…RAMBLE. The general theme for judging photo entries will be how well they “capture the spirit of the Annual Fall Finale Forty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble.”

Coffeeneuring Practice

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I’ve been following (with envy) MG’s coffeeneuring thing since the beginning. How can you help but smile anytime someone finds a creative way to combine the bicycle with coffee? Given my rural location, however, participation has been impractical, or rendered unenjoyable due to such limited options for quality coffee. Although I often combine coffee with my rides, I couldn’t “qualify” for the coffeeneuring challenge. At least not until this year’s rule change which introduced the “coffee shop without walls” option.

Well…due to being surprised by the rule change, and not making the necessary arrangements early, I’m still a DNS this year. Next year I plan to be in top form and ready to roll.  In the meantime, practice…

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Quickbeam and saddlebag full of coffee gear

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One of my favorite coffee shops without walls

 

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Cool autumn morning, warm sun

 

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Roadside but didn’t see a pickup until I packed up and rolled away

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The coffee here is always just the way I like it

 

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Something about the hobo decor appeals to me

 

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Simple transport, simple pleasures

 

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Autumn on the north Texas prairie

 

IMG_3020Creekside pause, watching leaves fall