‘Bout Perfect

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WARNING – PHOTO HEAVY POST

The last weekend in January turned out nice. It was fiercely (in my face) windy on the way out. Waide Road was recently “maintained” with a thick, new, uncompacted, chunky gravel layer. It was pretty slow going. But it was perfect because I was able to get an early start, and the last thing I wanted to do was be in a hurry. I couldn’t have hurried if I tried.

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After arriving in the Grasslands, I rode abound a bit to scout a suitable camping spot. A small grove of trees at the beginning of a drop-off was found. The trees provided satisfactory hammock support, and strategic placement of my tarp helped calm the air a bit more for cooking the evening meal. It seemed ’bout perfect.

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After finishing the camp set-up chores I wanted to accomplish before darkness, it was time to take a walk and enjoy the late afternoon golden light. That light looked just right.

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I considered building a fire, but with that wind it didn’t seem like a good idea.

Sitting on the hammock soon turned to lounging on the hammock. Watching the limbs and leaves move in the breezed soon turned to watching more and more stars appear as sky faded to black. The effort of the ride out to the Grasslands, coupled with my drive home from Austin in the early morning, caught up with me. The extreme comfort of my hammock had me dozing early.

Somewhere around midnight, a bright moon appeared and I awoke. Comfortable and content, I lay there thinking the wind had eased a little. When I woke briefly later in the night, it was dead calm.

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I woke up around 6:30 as the southeast horizon was turning light. Back in my tent (sleeping on the ground) days, I would have gotten up immediately to relieve my back. But with my hammock, I just lounged comfortably for an hour or so watching the sunrise. It was the pinnacle of luxury. You might say it was ’bout perfect. I know I did.

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My little hammock grove was rather shady, but a short walk up to an open area level ground allowed breakfast preparation in the warmth of the morning sun. I drank part of my coffee here, then took my thermos and mug with me for a short morning walk.

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After returning to camp, I did a little more lounging. The light was so nice (perfect, really), I took a few more photos…just for fun.

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As I packed up to leave, I could see out of my grove and across the open grassland. A bunch of Boy Scouts headed by on a morning hike.

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Then it was time for a short ride to look around before departing for Greenwood.

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The plan was to meet up with Mrs. Pondero in Greenwood for lunch. The wind wasn’t as strong as the prior day, but I still had a nice tailwind to town. It was so perfect, I can’t remember pedaling

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We arrived around noon, ordered our food “to go”, and walked across the street to the park down by the creek. This was an unusually nice weekend even for north central Texas, and we enjoyed our lunch outside in the park.

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Instead of pedaling home, I loaded up the bike in the back of the pick-up, and rode home with Mrs. Pondero. Why not? It was already ’bout perfect.

New Personal Best

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It was a sunny day with a temperature in the high 50s, and a 20 mph wind from the south. The golden brown grasses rolled like ocean waves over the range land. I chose an east/west gravel route, carefully selected one of my performance bicycles, and was able to achieve a new personal best.

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I was able to spend almost two hours covering my ten-mile route. It was quite pleasant, and my senses were completely saturated.

I thought I’d be able to work in a few more minutes for this route, but I was probably distracted by a temporary tailwind or something. All things considered, I’m reasonably satisfied with my performance. It’s something to build on.

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R_amble_r

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Yesterday, I posted the above image to Instagram with the caption, “Saunter – walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort.” Then I asked, “So what is the cycling equivalent?” After a while, Mark (Azorch and Early Morning Cyclist) responded, “Amble”.

That seemed appropriate.

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Today, I went out into a cool, crisp, cloudless, and windless day.

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I rode through a couple of parks in Sanger, Texas…

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…and had coffee outside.

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It seems there is always a gravel road on the route somewhere along the way.

And while I was enjoying a perfect Texas winter day…in a relaxed manner, I thought it amusing that…

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…right there between the Rs, I had my answer all along.

Short Ride, Long Value

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As described a few days ago, short rides are key to my 2016 goals.

There have been a couple days already this year where this approach has been put into practice. I didn’t have much time/daylight/energy left at the end of the work day. But I did have 15 minutes.

I learned that if I use the 15 minutes I have for the bike, I can get at least 30 minutes of value from it. If you have not learned this profound truth yet, I suggest you do so.

Slow Silent Glide

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like a lazy winter stroll

breathing scents of the season

with its breeze, colors, and light

like a meditative walk

with no jarring footsteps

not even their sound

like a slow silent glide

a lingering pace

through a moment in time

Leisure Goals

IMG_1117I am Pondero, Leisure Consultant; specializing in bicycles, hammocks, and coffee outside. Since I care nothing about mileage goals, average speeds, or athletic achievements, it might surprise you to learn that I keep a cycling log. Or, if you’ve followed this blog for a good while, you might recall that my cycling log records none of those things. It keeps a record of…hours. Because, for me, duration is the key. Each year, I want to have the largest quantity of leisure I can make happen. Lollygagging done well requires a bit of goal-setting.

As many of you have done lately, I’ve reviewed my numbers from 2015. The good news is that I met (and exceeded slightly) my goals. The bad news is that my key to success in 2015 was my two touring experiences. I currently have no scheduled tours planned for 2016. Would I be able to meet my 2015 goal (or a larger one) this year? Probably not without an implementation plan.

My log from 2015 tells me that, on average, I was on my bike every third day. Since commuting by bicycle isn’t an option for me, it is a challenge to ride everyday, or even five days each week. But my 2015 record of every third day looks like it should have significant room for improvement.

So I’ve set a new hours goal for 2016. Like always, I hope to bag more S24Os, more tours, and more coffee outside this year. But my key approach to achieving my hours goal is not based on “events”. Instead, it simply involves throwing a leg over a saddle more days each week. What does that look like? Well, it looks like more rides in the dark, hot, and cold. It looks like more rides before/after work or during lunch. It also looks like more rides of just a few minutes. Short rides are worth the effort.

Short rides are also key to my 2016 goal.  Because every minute on the bike reduces the risk of Mrs. Pondero needing to say something like, “Go ride your bicycle, and come back with a better attitude!”