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swim, ride, sunflowers … (and a turtle)

riding Mason's bike (thanks, M!)

I am ready for summer to be over with.  The heat has been unbearable.  Dangerous enough for repeated “heat warnings” from the weather service.  It feels kind of ironic that it’s actually more difficult for me to be cycling in the summer than the entire rest of the year.  Lately, it’s been early morning rides – lasting only as long as the morning cool and shadows last.

And lots and lots of time spent underwater.  😉

underwater-cam

Earlier in the week I had a derailleur cable mishap, so I ended up riding Mason’s bike for a few days until I could have mine repaired.  It was kind of a nice change – I didn’t realize how super-light and responsive his bike was compared to my own.  At least it briefly made me feel fast, even though I probably wasn’t … I am truly more like the couple of box turtles that I “rescued” from the road this week.  😉

I can't help stopping and moving them off the road

There is a wonderful field of sunflowers in the neighboring county that I wanted to ride out to and photograph.  How could I not be thinking of images of the Tour and the famous sunflower-and-bicycle shots?  It’s about a 40-mile, two+ hour ride, and I’d been putting it off because of the heat – having no desire to be out that long in triple digit temperatures.  Unfortunately, I waited about a week too long; the heat is still intense, and the sunflower heads are heavy with seeds and drooping.

Dillon and I finally ventured out there, leaving early this morning.  By the time we got to the fields, I attempted a few lame-o shots … but heat index was climbing, we were both dripping in sweat, I couldn’t find the right vantage point, and neither of us felt like spending any more time in the hot sun, which was getting higher and hotter by the minute.  Oh, timing.  Maybe next year?

sunflower fields - Hamilton Co.

It's too hot out here to be messing with more photos, ok?

Next week will bring a change of scenery, a change of bikes … and some different water.  No sunflowers, and probably no turtles.  It will be a surprise.  Meanwhile, stay cool and be safe.

Cadel Skywalker: may the Force be with you (?)

So my youngest is of the unwavering opinion that Cadel Evans is actually Luke Skywalker’s twin …

Hmmmm??  While I remain faithful to the Schlecklet camp, it is worth pondering … ?   😉

“Stopped they must be; on this all depends.  Only a fully-trained Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, will conquer Vader (and the Alpe-d’Huez).”  ~Yoda

look-alike or not?

dog days

seeking shade

Despite the fact that I keep listening to Florence + The Machine sing “…the dog days are over, the dog days are done”, the reality of venturing out into the great outdoors is more like stepping into the blowing heat of a convection oven.  Near-record high temperatures combined with high humidity have prompted the posting of “heat warnings” throughout the region.  As daily heat indexes climb toward 110’F, there are only brief windows of opportunity to be out riding – early morning or evening.  Ugghhh.

lately, I prefer to be submerged 😉

If I could manage to swim faster, I’d probably be getting more mileage in the pool than by bicycle.  😉

The rhythm of July hums along … early morning swimming, early morning or dusk/evening rides, and retreating into air conditioning during the heat of the day to our annual “dog days” television-watching addiction: the Tour de France.

While I confess that I’m not a devoted follower of professional bicycle racing, there is so much about the Tour that simply fascinates me.  I’m probably drawn to the visual beauty more than anything else – the undulating movement of the peloton, synchronized like a school of fish.  The winding narrow roads through French villages.  The mountains, the sunflowers, the fields of lavender … and the mind-boggling speed, endurance and athleticism of the riders (which I can only hope is not drug-enhanced), as well as the fascinating tactics of the racing.   And yes – the drama of the crashes – of which there have sadly been too many of this year.   It’s impossible to watch without wanting to hop on your bicycle and ride (although not as far, or as fast … for me, anyway).

the Tour de Bradley County

Dillon has been riding with me recently – and he is ten times the cyclist that I will ever be.  He is built (and rides) like a “climber” – that stick-insect-like build; all legs, virtually no body fat, light and fast.  Up and out of the saddle, scaling hills almost effortlessly.  Quite unlike his mother.  Sigh.

I guess it’s a “parent thing”, but I enjoy just watching him ride ahead of me … and I’m glad he always waits for me to catch up.

Dillon 🙂

bicycles and fireworks

Best way ever to celebrate Independence Day … family, friends, and Xtracycles packed for a picnic, concert and fireworks along the river.  😀

Happy July fourth!

Coolidge Park & the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, Chattanooga ... at dusk

let the fireworks begin!