Ramble News Brief

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Two things…

First, I’ve decided to offer an alternate shorter route for those constrained by time or fitness. It will be about 35 miles, is a very nice scenic route, has no services, and includes the beginning and end of the standard route. It’s basically the original Ramble route familiar to veterans without the “Rosston out and back spur”. You’ll have about 10-12 miles to make a decision on which loop to take. I’ll have printed cue sheets for both routes at the start.

Next, I finally made a decision regarding the prizes for the winners of each of the three categories of the photo contest. I’ll let that remain a surprise for now, but considering how low-budget this affair is, I think most retro-minded cycling folks would be pleased. More details (same as last year) on the photo contest will be posted soon.

Have you blocked out the day (Saturday, November 15) and let me know you are coming yet?

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Ramble Reminder

The Sixth Annual Fall Finale Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble rolls out at 9am on Saturday, November 15…less than 4 weeks from now. This post is to remind those of you who might be considering joining us to make a decision, make a plan, and come on out.

This post is also for folks who haven’t joined us before…to explain what it is we do. Veterans of the ride have a pretty good idea on what to expect. In many ways, this year’s ride will be very similar to what we’ve typically done for the last few years. I say “typically” because last year gave us colder, wetter weather, and impractically muddy roads. As a result, we made a route change at the last minute to ride paved roads and a shorter route.

So my pre-ride information post from recent years almost still applies word for word. Below is basically the same information, with only a few minor edits.

When

This year’s Ramble will be on Saturday, November 15. We will roll out of my driveway at 9am. That means you should arrive in time to make all needed preparations BEFORE 9am. Eric Welborn (Touring Through Suburbia) has hinted that he might be here serving up some of his famous Pushing Steel cold brew coffee. Let me assure you, that is a very good reason to arrive early.

What

The Ramble is a ride I do each year on a Saturday near the 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)

As mentioned a few weeks ago, this year’s route is approximately 50 miles.

Since I’ve moved the ride from mid-December to mid-November, I expect our chances for good weather is much better than in years past. However, 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 (join me there if you wish).

The pace is what I call “conversational” because I think of this as a social kind of touring ride.  We will stop for snacks, photographs, or just because.  Since I’m participating in the Coffeeneuring Challenge, and Ramble weekend is the last Coffeeneuring weekend, I am definitely planning to stop for a coffee brew-up. 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. We’ll have a couple of places to stop for restroom, water, or snacks. The first opportunity is Greenwood at approximately mile 18, and the second is at Rosston at approximately mile 28/29 or so. Really, there might only be one restroom stop. At my last visit, the Rosston store restroom was out of order. The owner hoped to have it fixed, but wouldn’t commit to it, so plan accordingly. 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.

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 (cj dot spinner at g mail dot com) 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. If you plan to join us and haven’t already contacted me, please do so now.

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. Bring a friend.

Any questions?

New for 2014

Oh yeah…I’m having another go at the photography contest.  Last year’s attempt was a bust due to the weather. 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 Fifty-ish Mile Country Path Ramble.”

It’s the Waking Up

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You know it before you open your eyes. You can hear it, and you can smell it. You are awake, but bundled in a cozy sleeping bag. As consciousness comes to you, so does the wondrous realization that you are outdoors. You immediately enter the new day with optimism. From a luxuriously comfortable hammock, you open your eyes to golden light spilling through a tree canopy like honey pouring from a jar.

Why are S24Os so enjoyable? It’s the waking up.

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Or maybe it’s the coffee.

When the newness of the day is less prominent in your thinking, your mind wanders to other things. Maybe it considers all the potential that lies before you on a day that doesn’t demand attention to necessary things. Maybe. Even so, it doesn’t take long to realize that strong, black coffee might be the only thing that could make this moment better than it already is. It stimulates all your senses like raw wilderness.

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Or maybe it’s playing in the woods.

You wander around camp. You play with a campfire. You throw sticks, watch the tree tops sway in a breeze, and pedal a bicycle through the park and wave at the other campers. You watch a three-year-old crunch-crunch down the rocky trail on his first camping trip, and you know that several decades later, he’ll still have that same first-time joy of being in the woods…just like you do. You are an adult, but here you play without a care like a three-year-old.

10No, it’s the waking up.

The first sound, the first vision of sunrise, the first sip of coffee, the first time ever to play in the woods. They all refresh your soul like waking from a peaceful night’s rest. You wake up with joy and charge into a new day. It’s most definitely the waking up.