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Old 11-23-23, 05:49 PM
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Today I rode my 26th Turkey Day ride. (So why am I posting here instead of that thread? Because.) Woke up at gawdawful early and stepped over the 50+ year old Raleigh Professional Mk IV and pedaled into the predawn darkness. Met up with the gang at Uptown Plaza (which was uptown in the 50s, but now is near downtown) as old and new friends straggled in. Rolled out at 6:30 sharp down a dark Central Avenue at the advertised "conversational pace" of 20ish mph, chatting when I could with folks as we rolled in a relatively tight pack of 60ish folks toward South Mountain. There were a variety of bikes, from my '72 Pro to Greg's 70s flat-bar Centurion to Karl's early-2000s BMC to the latest carbon fiber gravel-grinding wonders. My ol' Pro did get a few compliments as I noted it had done this ride all the way back in '82 and many times since.

Greg and his 70s baby-blue Centurion with Mighty cranks and Cyclone derailleurs, mostly seen zooming away from me

Gobble gobble!

At the base, we each carefully selected our rocks to carry up the hill. The tradition is each rider brings a rock up the mountain to a) increase the training quality and b) keep the mountain from falling down. And after all these years, I can attest we've done our job well in combating erosive decay.

Selecting a fine specimen of mineral for the ascent

The group attacked the climb as soon as the last rock was snagged (actually a bit before), and I watched them disappear as I slapped the barcons into the low range and started grinding.

Up we go!

Enjoying the view and recovering my oxygen

My old chrome Pro taking a brief break from the climb

About 2/3 the way up the initial climb on a diabolical 8+% ascent, my pulmonary system said "Hey! Remember that exercise-induced asthma you used to suffer from? It's baaack!" Urgh. The race between the uphill and the lung gunk was won by the gunk, and I pedaled as best I could in my 34 tooth Super Maxy - 26 tooth Winner Pro low gear.

Just when the road started to level off, what do I see? My friends zooming in the fun direction.

Time to get off the bike, rockaroonie. I made a U and started the descent, my 20Cs bouncing like a golf ball on the lumpy pavement. With everyone more or less in one piece, we re-congregated at the bottom for the ride back into town.

Then the ride back at the same so-called "conversational pace". I was very glad for the traffic signal timing on 7th Street as it allowed me to catch up with my group briefly before being dropped like a underperforming money market fund. Took a few pix on the way.

Home of the World Series losers, er, National League champions!

The Union Pacific yard on a cool gray morning

Back to the start to swap stories and socialize. Turned out one nice lady had a bad morning indeed - her carbon frame cracked right in the middle of the top tube. And them more reminiscing with old friends until my legs and my watch said it was time to head home.

Total mileage: 42.3 with 1600+ feet climbing. And even though I'm not as fast as I used to be or even as fast as any of my fellow riders, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Last edited by RCMoeur; 11-23-23 at 07:24 PM.
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