In the last hour before rollout, there was breakfast tacos, coffee, and looking out the window at gloomy, foggy, and windy conditions. The conversation was casual and we were looking forward to facing the elements for a few hours. Before that, things were a little hectic.
I was sliding along muddy roads in a reconn effort just after daylight. Factoring in the lingering ice, Friday’s rain, and the strong north winds, I had already virtually abandoned the intended route option for the Fifth Annual Fall Finale Country Path Ramble. It was the backup route now under investigation, and I didn’t like the look of it.
The backup route was shorter and had only about 5 miles of non-paved roads. But those five miles were proving difficult going for my Honda Civic reconn vehicle. At first I figured, we could get off and walk the truely boggy sections. But those sections were long, numerous, and didn’t offer much in the way of alternative walking paths. So 90 minutes from rollout, I needed to come up with a backup to the backup.
The good news was that I found an all paved route. It was a little shorter so we’d not need to stay out in the elements quite as long. When you host a ride for a several people, you learn that things take longer… than they do. The bad news was that it started south and the return trip would be the kind of slog I normally try to avoid. Oh well.
My next concern was how to park the possible 20-30 vehicles on my soggy land.
At one point during the lead up to the event, there were 30+ folks indicating that they planned to Ramble. By the night before, that number dropped down to 20+. Apparently, folks were finding attractive alternatives to driving an hour or more to experience cold, windy, mud. In the end, my scheming on how to park everyone on my long driveway and out of the low areas was not needed. There were only six who actually rolled out into the elements.
And we Rambled across the countryside.
We took our time, chatted, and stopped frequently for photos, a snack, or just to pause and take in our surroundings.
Life was grand with that mighty tailwind. But the pace slowed even further when we made the turnaround. And that was okay, because we were Rambling.
And Rambling means you can stop on the side of the road, pull out your thermos, and have a cuppa anytime you wish.
At the end, its always about sharing the experience with friends that makes this ride so wonderful for me. I’m profoundly grateful to those who actually chose the Ramble alternative in less than ideal conditions.
The “Hardman” award goes to someone who taught us all a little something about what it means to “shut up and ride”. That would be my daughter, Lisa, who did the entire route on a single speed BMX bike she’s had since second grade.
I didn’t see a lot of photo taking going on, but if any of you participants want to submit images for the photo contest, you might want to read this for details. Remember to get them to me by December 17.