Ranch riding

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Friday started off cloudy and rainy. (Oh boy!) Most of us had been planning a bike ride, so there was some degree of grumbling and hoping the weather would get better. In the meantime, there was eating to be done. Jenn & Bryan were on pancake detail and made delicious blueberry-flax & gingerbread pancakes:

Behold the pancake master in action:

Tyr was very sad not to get her fair share of pancakes (i.e. all of them)

The clouds looked like they might be burning off, so we decided to head out for a ride. We wanted J to get in on the cycling action, so we brought my old mountain bike for him to ride. After a trip down the muddy dirt road on the bike rack, it looks particularly bad ass:

And I must say, J is way braver than me. If I were getting on a bike for the first time since I was twelve, I don’t think I’d opt to do it around a bunch of tri geeks. Especially when one of them will take your picture and put it on her blog:

There were a couple of different groups, but I really wanted to take T on the ride David and I did last year. We rode by ourselves for the most part and T didn’t believe it was uphill any more than I had the first time I’d ridden it. (In fact, I was still doubting my memory of last years ride… ) But it was still gorgeous. And with the exception of one downpour, it was pretty decent weather wise. David caught up with us about five miles from the turnaround and he and T rode together in front of me for a while. (Damn roadie-boys!) The three climbs right before the turnaround were just as horrible as I remembered, but we finally made it:

The water was much higher than last year:

Boys at the turnaround:

Girl at the turnaround:

Both boys immediately dropped me on the descent. (I tell myself it’s because they’re heavier than me, but the fact is that I’m a chicken descender, especially on the new bike.) T stopped and waited for me to catch up a few times. I finally made us pull over at a campground to refill my water bottles because I was out and we still had ten miles to ride. At first I wasn’t sure the campground had water, but then I saw this:

If I didn’t know I was in the middle of nowhere before, it was certainly confirmed now. T manned the pump:

With bottles refilled, we headed out to finish the ride. Both of us were definitely feeling the climbing of the way out, but we managed to finish strong. It was so nice to be able to share that ride with T. It’s really one of the prettiest rides I’ve done. This year there were even fewer cars than last year. And best of all, I dropped ten minutes from last years time – five of them on the climbing portion alone, which was pretty awesome.

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