I apologize for the delay in making a new entry, but there really has not been much going on over the past few days. It has been fairly routine with the exception of a full physical exam on Tuesday. It has been more years than I can remember since I had my last one, so I figured I was well overdue. I was also over due for changing doctors. In the past, my medical appointments were at an office with several doctors and unless you planned ahead for your sinus infection, strep throat or other sicknesses... you got whatever doctor was available. This wouldn't have been SO bad if the doctors stayed at the practice for more than a week. Ok, so that is an exaggeration, but if you happened to find a doctor that you actually liked, it seemed like the next time you needed an appointment and asked for that doctor, they were no longer working there. I had had enough.
I scheduled my physical with a doctor who used to be at the a fore mentioned practice, but now has his own practice. I had never been seen by him before, but Bev had and she liked him. I was surprised when I was able to make an appointment for early the following week ( I called on Wednesday) and I was happy that the Doctor had a web site that allowed me to print the Medical History form, Insurance Forms and Medical Record Release forms so that I could fill them out at my convenience, and not trying to rush to fill them out before the appointment. I was thrilled when I arrived for my appointment and there was no one in the waiting room. Could my 10:00 am appointment actually happen at 10:00 am? I was called back at 10:04. So far so good.
The appointment went well and the Doctor said that my heart, lungs, blood pressure and thyroid all looked or sounded good. He sent me on my way with a lab slip to get blood work done. I am hopeful that all those numbers will come back within acceptable ranges. The BEST part of the physical was while talking to the Doctor he asked me what type of exercise I was doing. I mentioned that I enjoyed riding my bike and that I have been riding on the weekends. I mentioned my trainer that I have set up for when the weather gets cold etc. We talked bikes for a little bit and he asked me if I belonged to a bike club. I shared with him my distaste for the Lance Armstrong wannabes that typically make up the "bike clubs" that I have seen. He gave me a card for the club that he rides with and said that they were down to earth, fun people who love to ride. I took the card and checked out their website when I got home.
The Severna Park Peloton (see the link to the right) is a bicycle club that rides for the love of riding. There are no member dues or fees. Just sign up for their email group and show up to one of their rides. I noticed that their website mentions that they have a STRICT "no drop" policy, which means that if you leave on a ride with them, unless you choose not too, you will return on the ride with them. They will not leave anybody behind because they are not fast enough or because they have a flat etc. I also noticed on their website that they do some fun rides. About twice a year they bike from Kent Island (just over the Bay Bridge) to Ocean City on a Saturday and bike back on a Sunday. That's around 230 miles in 2 days. They also have a couple of riders who have ridden the Paris - Brest - Paris ride in France, which is 750 miles. I believe one of the guys finished that ride in just under 80 hours. These same riders have ridden from LA to Boston and have competed in the Race Across America. This club contains a group of VERY accomplished riders.(Ok, accomplished in MY book. None of them have one a stage in the Tour de France. You get my drift) How down to earth could they be, and even if they ARE down to earth, how fast are they going to set the pace? Am I going to be able to keep up? I'll try one ride and see how it goes.
That one ride came this morning. Watching the emails, I saw that several people were planning to show up for the regular Monday through Friday 5:45 a.m. ride along the B & A trail. I arrived at departure point at 5:40 and was greeted by Mike. A few minutes later we were joined by 3 other riders. Clint, Doug and Carl. Clint is the guy who road LA to Boston and Paris - Brest - Paris so I figure he will be the one person in the club that should be the most pretentious. Introductions we completed, we determined that we were the only 5 riders and we set off down the trail. We went about 300 yards and realized that Carl was still not with us. We all stopped and waited. We could see his headlight in the dark, but it was not coming towards us. We figured if he had a flat tire, he would change it in a couple minutes and be headed towards us. When that wasn't happening, Clint rode back to him and after a few more minutes they made it back to where we were waiting. Turns out that Carl had a flat tire, but because he was involved in a bike accident on Sunday and fractured one of his knuckles, he was having difficulty changing the tire. Clint helped him out and away we rode. I guess they really do honor that 'no drop' policy.
Once we took off, each of the other riders took their turn riding next to me, asking me about me, what I did for work, where I worked, where I lived and they all answered those same questions for me. I thoroughly enjoyed riding with this group. We went beyond the end of the trail (where the ride was suppose to stop) and rode into Annapolis for breakfast at Chick and Ruth's (a.k.a. Jack & Irene's). It was obvious that they are regulars, because when they walked in they called the waitress by name and asked why their coffee wasn't on the table waiting for them. It was a lot of fun. Good food and good conversation. What's funny (to me it's funny) is that I have lived in Maryland for over 7 years and had never been to Chick and Ruth's until last week with Bev. Now I have been two times in one week.
The ride back to the departure point was a little slower paced. Going up and over the Naval Academy bridge and the hill immediately after it (affectionately know as "oh shit hill") did not seem nearly as difficult as they do when I ride alone. The ride overall was much more pleasant. The miles went faster and the time flew by. I typically don't ride with anyone on the weekends. Partly because I don't know a whole lot of people who would want to ride 40 miles at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but also partly because I thought if I found someone who wanted to do that, I would be unable to keep up with them. I hope that riding with the Severna Park Peloton will continue to be as enjoyable as it was this morning.
Here are the stats for this mornings ride-
Miles - 25
Time - 79 minutes
Flat tires - 1 - (but it was Carl's, not mine.)
New riding buddies - 4
Thanks for reading. Emily is here this weekend and we are going to see New Moon. I'll let you know how it is.