I sit here slightly sick and thinking that the heat affected more than previously thought. Or it could have been the nasty Mickey D's I had post-ride when I was famished. I won't let my present condition, though, color my thoughts of a great day in the saddle with my uncle, whom I'll call Lt.Dan. He's 7-years older than I am and I have to give him some credit for getting me into cycling. In my formative years in the early-80s, Lt.Dan was in college at WKU in Bowling Green, Ky. I remember his discussions of wanting to ride from school back to the 'Ville, which is a solid 120m. I don't think he ever quite pulled that off (sounds like a lot of us), but his talks of bike modifications and route plans planted the idea in my head of the open road and liberation via cycling. Now we come full circle. I ride whenever I can and consider myself a "cyclist" of varied terrain; he is now single wanting to get the body back into physical shape, and has the time to do so.
Where we diverge is our tools. As my many readers know, I am the fortunate owner of the nicest bike on earth, my custom Ti IF, aside some fiddling with shoes/pedals and the saddle. He has fixed up a Schwinn Sprint, a red, lugged 10-speed which is serving him well but labors him on hills with its lack of gearing. I could write a novella at least of Lt. Dan's tendency of paralysis of analysis, but he is equally satisfied- at the moment- that this rig will get the job done for him. And I think it will as long as the gearing doesn't blow his knees out. It pained me some today to see myself spinning way and staying in my comfort zone while poor Lt.Dan was about to herniate himself grinding up. He got the job done, though.
With me having left from school where I was doing some morning work, we met in Iroquois Pk. and left from there to do the Bearcamp/Blevins Gap loop. He doesn't live too far from Blevins, but he was happy to come and meet me. I'm a little afraid that I was a little rough on him. He made several self-deprecating comments about pace and whatnot, but he's a big boy. I was sure to wait for him and adjust my tempo as much as possible so we were riding together. And every time we yo-yo'd back together he wasn't breathing so hard that he couldn't talk, and Lt.Dan can always talk.
In the latter portions of the ride he was running out of gas and I took my foot off the pedal even more so he could feel comfortable, or at least not miserable. He had a tough time on the golf course hill, but from there it's all downhill. After we stopped we chatted a bit about bike stuff and I encouraged him to consider commuting, whether on his road or his mtbike. Now that he's developing a bit more legs I think he's a bit more interested in that concept. Dan finished with 28m with me, but I wasn't quite finished. I wanted to finish the day above 40m, so I took another loop around the bottom and then shot to the top. We had finished with an avg around 13.5 so I rode to see if I could inch it back above 14mph. I bombed down the hill and wound it up on Southern Pkwy, doing a steady 19-20mph but getting hotter and hotter. I topped 14.1 not far from the parking lot and after finishing, immediately stopped in Mikey D's for the nasty food and jug-sized Coke that is ailing me at the moment. Great ride (43m). Bad food decisions.