Friday, April 24, 2015

Two and a Half Months to Go

I'll admit it, my training has been a bit, well, spotty. I've ridden to school a few times, but that's only 5 miles round trip (almost exactly - I hit 2.50 miles on the roll up the ramp to the door of my building, but the route home is a hair longer). I've gotten in the long weekend ride and G and I have been pretty good about getting in a second weekend ride in, too. And the numbers look good. We're strong, we're not completely gassed at the end, despite our lack of mid-week rides.

But that has to stop. We (though I can't speak for G, so I) have to start getting in mid-week miles.

Finals start next Wednesday and end the following Tuesday. I'm giving two, one on each of those days (of course). I've already begun coding the Excel sheet that will do the calculations for the grades for that class, so the real heavy lifting will be getting the grades in on time. And then, the glorious summer opens up before me, with some weekend travel and obligations (a bachelorette party! AP reading! a wedding!)

Excepting that, there's no reason I can't get in at least one good ride T-R each week. The world is my oyster.

I should really take pictures while we're on the road, but I'm bad about photos anyway. I'll try, I'll try.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Less Urban Cyclist

G-man and I moved to Athens, GA in January (just before the New Year, actually, but it might as well have been January).

Things are--different--here. Different from Blacksburg, even.

It has been an adjustment and certainly some culture shock. (Getting used to UGA, getting used to living away from a major metro area again, getting used to 12-hour days, etc.)

But it hasn't all been bad: on the whole I'd say this has been a positive change. Let's start (and end) with the cycling.

In Athens (a bike friendly community), there are lots of bike lanes. There is a shared-use path and/or bike lane most of the way between home and work. On even the most unpleasant days, when I have driven in, I've seen people riding their bikes for their commute and being given room.

On approach to a narrow bridge that I must cross to and from school, the bike lane ends, but I have always been given space to enter traffic (particularly when I signal that intent). The motorists know the traffic patterns here and understand and anticipate, to an extent, the needs of cyclists.

I can go on a 30-, 50-, 80- (etc.) mile ride from my front door, on country roads, without first navigating multitudes of intown inconveniences like traffic controls, traffic, or Atlanta's ubiquitous steel plates (or potholes, really).

Of course country riding brings its own hazards (unpaved roads, loose dogs, sun-baked manure), but for the most part it is pretty idyllic, and we have ridden for miles without seeing more than a handful of cars.

The roads are well maintained, the routes are out-of-the-way, and (like Atlanta), they are not flat. There is enough going on in north Georgia to keep the rides topographically interesting without feeling completely gassed after 20 or 40 miles, though that certainly can happen. G noted that you can always tell when you've re-entered Athens-Clarke County because you immediately start seeing "Share the Road" signs and sharrows, even at the county border (which is to say, no where near civilization).

There are group rides every day of the week except Friday, with posted cue sheets and maps (and average speeds: there isn't a ride for everyone every day of the week, but there is a ride for me when I would need it). There are no membership dues and, my original assertion from 10 years ago, when I first started cycling, holds true. Cyclists are a generally friendly and welcoming bunch. I look forward to joining them.

So I'm pretty happy here. Even if it is the beginning of April, over 80 degrees, and stupid muggy. To Hell with Georgia.