Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Own Tour de France

In this, the year without a summer, where temperatures have not been that hot and we have had more than our fair share of rain, HHBL and I decided to take advantage of a nice day and do a bike ride that we had been talking about for some time. Riding along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Think of it as my own personal Tour de France. The fame, the glory, the sweat.....

Fine, fine, you people are so picky. So there weren't many hills, OK NO hills, and there wasn't any Peloton (look that one up yourself!) and Lance Armstrong wasn't there and I didn't get any champagne at the end. But at least there was a yellow jersey involved.

Now, I need to tell you several things. 1. this may be a long post with numerous pictures. So, if you are looking for pithy commentary, and erudite conversation...this won't be it. 2. I like biking but HHBL LOVES biking and I hadn't been on a bike yet this year and this was a long ride for me (22 miles)and so there may be some whining involved in this post and the use of the words hiney and butt and things like that. You have been warned.

It is always important to dress the part, especially if you want to fool people into thinking that you actually know what you are doing. Because you know it is all about the look. Bike shorts, bike shirt (sort of), bike socks.......

What? You don't think these are biking socks? Of course they are. Just be cause they are a tad more colorful than some of those drab things that other people wear. Who says that you can't add a little pizzazz to your outfit when you are on a 22 mile LONG bike ride. Oh fine, they are just short socks that function as my biking socks. And OK they are this short because Panda Cotton always has too little yarn per skein to make one sock per skein of yarn. So sue me.

This is my trusty steed Hi Ho Silver. He is easy to maintain, doesn't eat much and gets me where I want to go. I just wish the seat was bigger, say the size of a lounge chair, with padding. The hiney would so appreciate it.

Didn't I tell you that there was a yellow jersey involved in this story. And a hunk inside a yellow jersey. Could it get any better than this?

Oh yes! WooHoo!! I get to follow this hiney for the whole day so it can get better. Don't be hatin' now. HHBL looks particularly fine in bike shorts.

The Towpath is full of interesting things to see and you go along on your trusty steed. It winds along side busy roads, some business and then it wanders down into the valley and everything is all quiet and peaceful. You might see this:
a Great Blue Heron who was fishing for a late breakfast. Yum, fish from a muddy canal.
Bridges. Remember, the tow path winds down into the valley.
There she goes again taking those "artsy fartsy" pictures. Oops, I said fart, sorry about that.
LOVE this picture for some weird, architectural reason. Going to print it out and frame it when I have the time. I felt fortunate to get this picture because this old paper manufacturing area is usually restricted behind chain link fencing. But when we passed by I noticed that the fence was open because they were mowing in the area and so I took advantage of the situation and took the pictures.

At about 13 miles into the ride we hit one of our favorite towns in the area and in that town is one of our favorite places to eat so naturally we had to stop and have some of this
Oh I love this "white bread pizza" with garlic and herbs and olive oil. And we added extra cheese because, you know, there can never be too much cheese on a pizza and we were taking a long bike ride and needed the energy.

Yeah, it didn't last long I can tell you. And it was delicious. And I hope to eat some again soon.

Me: I want to take your picture
Me: Stop that! I am serious!
Me: I MEAN IT! Now stop that so that I can take your picture.
Me: Thank you.

After lunch we walked over to the home of some friends, but they weren't there. So we got their dogs all riled up by ringing the doorbell and knocking on the door and then walked back to the bikes. Along the way we encountered this sign.
Only in small town America would you find this. Heck, if you were riding your bike on the sidewalk you would be past this sign before you even realized that the sign pertained to you!

Umm Deb, why are you taking a picture of the branches of a tree? I mean, we all know that you like those artsy fartsy (oops said fart again, sorry) pictures and all but this one is just boring as heck (is heck boring? are you sure?).

Well, you see, at about 16 miles into the ride, after lunch and walking to Lori and Joseph's house in our abortive attempt to visit, my thighs tried to put a hit on me. Yes, the quads decided to revolt against this aggressive attempt at exercise and I had to take a little "break" lying down on a bench and sucking down luke warm water. Normally, water that is the temperature of tepid bath water is sort of gaggy but I wasn't complaining at the time.

Right about the time my thighs were getting back to their normal fleshy appearance rather than looking like Gordian knots I looked to the right, where my trusty steed was parked, waiting for me to remount and I noticed......a slug at the top of my derailleur. So of course because he was there (are slugs a he a she or just an it?) and I was there I decided to take his portrait. Then I realized that yes, he was there alright, but he was dried out and stuck to the metal. Lovely.

Yeah buddy, I know just how you feel.

Finally! I made it through the 22 miles. Of course for HHBL it was a stroll in the park and if he tells me that one more time there is going to be an unfortunate accident. I am smiling and that is a good thing. You see, I can see my salvation just down the track.

Oh yes! Here comes the train that is going to transport me back to the area where the car is located. The Cuyahoga Valley Railroad has this awesome program that will allow you to take your bike on the train for just $2/rider. You read that right, $2/rider. That way you can ride as far as you want to go one way and then ride in the lovely air-conditioned train car on the way back. You see, that was the "carrot" that HHBL used to gear me up for the ride. It was a lovely, tasty carrot.

Look, there's a gnome on the train! I have no clue who this rather strangely shaved fellow was but when I went to take one of those artsy fartsy (oops, there is that fart word again, sorry) pictures he stuck his head out of the train door and into my picture. Thank you sir for adding such an interesting development to my picture. It seemed like a fitting ending to the day.

We enjoyed the ride so much that we are going to do it again in a few weeks and definitely in the fall. If my hiney recovers before then and I haven't succumbed to the hit that my thighs have put out on me that is.


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