Margaret and Dick   

     

    
Atlanta to Austin - Day two: Alexander City - Demopolis AL

Distance:  137 miles

Rolling speed:  15.2 mph

Total time:  11:00

Calories burned:  5931

Weather: sun, clouds, thunderstorm, rain, clouds, sun

Close encounters of the dog kind:  7 (poodle to Rotweiler)

Trucker irate at sharing empty 4-lane highway with cyclist:  1 (and I have a severe case of airhorn envy)

Other cyclists seen:  1

Roadkill report:  four cats (a conspiracy!), four armadillos, two squirrels

Sore muscles:  all

 

Pray:

We learned this morning that friend Bill is having surgery for pancreatic cancer.  Usually this cancer is already inoperable when diagnosed, so he's optimistic about his imminent surgery.  I rediscovered the meditative value of the rosary as I headed out on my ride.  It's been 35 years or so, but I found it goes well with the mood on country roads at crack of dawn.  We asking all our praying friends to say one for Bill.

 

The kindness of strangers

While sitting out a thunderstorm in Clanton, I dropped my goggles.  As one of the prescription lenses skittered across the asphalt, I feared the ride to Austin was over.  Fortunately, I was only a half mile from Cecil Pavey and his Chilton County Optical shop.  I rode there carefully with half-corrected and really confused vision and told my tale of woe.  "My guess is you'd like to wait?" he asked.  Dick was in the vicinity and we took it as a good occasion for a tailgate lunch.  A half hour later my goggles and lenses were good as new and we had a new hero.  He wanted a picture of us with my bike, and we took one of him too.  One of his clients, a cancer survivor who appears to know every country road from Clanton to Austin, overheard us telling our story.  He put together a shortcut that avoided log trucks and Selma traffic, substituting a long bucolic road with quaint old farmhouses. 

 

Reserves:

Today I developed a new appreciation for the ultradistance exercises I did in the brevet series last spring.  In addition to building your cardiovascular capabilities, they also teach you how far you can still go when you feel beyond-tired.  A trained ultradistance cyclist can probably continue for 100-200 miles past the point where your brain is ready to call it quits.  That's a handy piece of information and one I put to good use today.  On the other hand, a charging Rotweiler can also an effective reminder of what you have (or had) in reserves.

 

Day three:  140 miles to Brandon, MS