Cloud overcast chilled the air as Bill and I left at 7 am. Spotted John's truck and wondered if I would see him today. My goal was to ride to Baldy. Same goal as the previous four to five weeks. But this time, I had no time constraints. This time I had the solitude of commitment. This time could be the first time this year for me to put in the miles. Last week's ride was so close and yet so far, stopping four miles from the Village.
There were micro stories along the route. One rider with sandals and a blue shirt trundled up the hill and I gave her words of encouragement. The birds were fat and looking for food, darting in front of my wheel then flapping out of the way. A rabbit had jumped into the road and quickly turned back into the shrub. Hunters sitting in chairs scoping out the terrain at GMR mm 7. Inland Inferno Riders were out in force. One commented about my kit, The infamous yellow jersey. I chuckled.
Short stop at the shed. No sight of John. I wondered as I moved onto Glendora Ridge Road if I would see him or if he went to East Fork. I had twelve miles to ponder that question. At Fork plus 3.5 a squirrel had dragged a pine cone out to the middle of the road. Squirrels never make up their minds until the last moment. It ran to the side farthest from me. Perfect. I wondered if I should have thrown the pine cone to the side as I sped away. I took the long hill called the reward climb pedal stroke by pedal stroke. I did my best to keep the average speed near my goal. Two Zombie riders spoke words of encouragement stating, Looking Solid. I am still moving, I replied and chuckled. They flew by. They looked better than solid.
Good amount of shade on the way up, being early in the day. After the corner at GRR+6, the sun was bright and warm, while the air thinned with the altitude. I had my time goals. Calculated my average speed in order to make those time goals. My tail bone complained from the fall I suffered in March. It spoke with warm darts, noticeable. stop complaining I told my various muscles. we are going. Glutes, Knee, tail bone, get on board.
The downhill at GRR+8.4 never felt so good. It was a bit of a race to see if I could do the last four miles in under 17 minutes. I made it to the Village right at 10 am on the dot. Hooray! First time for the year! Made my time goals. Hooray! Made my distance goals. Hooray! Hint to self: I need more cycling during the week.
I headed for the post office to sit and eat. I had given up seeing my friend, when I spied John headed out at the Post Office. John! Recouped, and photoed we headed to the visitor's center which was closed today. doh! The store by the Lodge was also closed. What's up with that? I bought a Cliff bar at the Lodge. Bill arrived in the Village. He and I bought powerades from the machine. The rider with the blue shirt and sandals pedaled past. Back to the Post Office to dilute the powerade with water. Spent 43 minutes in the Village. Spent $3.50 on drinks and bar.
It was great to have John's company on the way back. The slug up to Cow Canyon Saddle was slow. Lead in my legs. Glad to get the miles completed. John had stories of riding without contacts only to miss a three foot rattler by inches. John had a theory about the squirrel and the pine cone. He thought the squirrel was smart hoping that a car would crush the cone releasing the tasty bits.
A bit of wind on the way back. The smell of forest fires from far away hinted in the nose. Overall, Good ride.