Audubon Park – it was still fairly dark, hence the blurriness It was supposed to be a rainy weekend, but as sometimes happens around here, the rain fell mainly elsewhere leaving us with mostly dry weather, at least down here on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. I got up Saturday morning, looked out the window, and thought, “It sure is dark out there!” I guess there were a few lingering clouds around, and together with the slow creep of shorter days it is starting to get noticeable. Lea Audubon Park – it was still fairly dark, hence the blurriness It was supposed to be a rainy weekend, but as sometimes happens around here, the rain fell mainly elsewhere leaving us with mostly dry weather, at least down here on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. I got up Saturday morning, looked out the window, and thought, “It sure is dark out there!” I guess there were a few lingering clouds around, and together with the slow creep of shorter days it is starting to get noticeable. Leaving home at 6:04 am, it was a tough call whether to wear my regular sunglasses or opt of the clear lenses. Since I had my contacts in, I wanted my regular glasses because they have the stick-on reading lenses in them which make it easier to read the computer. I ended up wearing them, although I guess that in another couple of weeks that won’t really be an option and they’ll ride out to Starbucks adorning my helmet. Anyway, the turnout for the Giro was good and the pace on the way out remained fast. We averaged around 25 mph, excluding the warm-up and cool-down along Lakeshore Drive, even though the return trip was considerably slower. The whole way out along Chef Highway we were pretty much strung out in a long single file going 26-28 mph for the most part. It was such a long way to the front that I don’t even know who was up there driving the train, and there was little chance I was going to ride up there to find out. Later that day I considered trying to put together a northshore ride but never quite got around to it. I found out from Kenny that evening that Woody, Ed, VJ and I guess a few others were doing a northshore ride but by then it was late enough that I didn’t want to track them down to find out when and where. In the back of my mind I was already thinking of putting in a few extra miles after the Sunday Giro anyway. The Sunday Giro always seems just a little bit easier than the Saturday Giro. In this case it worked out to about 1 mph slower overall, but similar to Saturday’s ride the pace was fast on the way out to Venetian Isles. This time, though, we had a nice smooth paceline going for a few miles until a couple of guys started to surge at the front which caused the whole lovely thing to collapse back into chaos. The ride back, however, was relatively tame aside from a fast stretch from Highway 11 to the Goodyear sign. When we got back to Lakeshore Drive I found that Steve and Pat had parked down at the end of Williams Blvd and would be riding back there along the Lake Trail, so I decided to join them and a few other riders who were also going that way. We stopped at the gas station on Harrison Avenue to refuel since it was getting pretty hot by then. I bought a huge bottle of Powerade and still had quite a bit left to drink after filling my big water bottle.There was a light tailwind that made the ride along the water feel easy, but I knew it would be a long ride back once everyone else went home and I turned around into the headwind. By then I had around 70 miles on the odometer so I just settled into a nice long 18 mph pace for most of the way back along the lake, arriving back home with 80.7 miles. In a rather bizarre coincidence, that was exactly the same mileage that Steve ended up with that day. Back at home I spent a couple of hours refueling before venturing out into the heat again to trim hedges. We have had a fairly consistent pattern of rain showers around here for the past couple of weeks, so everything green is growing at full speed, as are the insects. It is feeling pretty subtropical, as it should. Of course with that comes the annual hurricane season so we’re all starting to pay a little more attention to the tropical weather. Somehow I carried my camera around all weekend but never once took it out to take a photo, so I made a point of taking a few pictures as I rode around the park this morning. It was darker than it looks in the photos, so the little camera was using too slow of shutter speed to accommodate my blazing speed of 15 mph. This morning I felt like I needed a nice easy recovery spin. I’ve been pretty close to 300 miles per week for the past three weeks, and although it’s been mostly group rides and has included a fair share of easy miles, it’s a lot of saddle time nonetheless. I rode up St. Charles Avenue early in the morning, returning down Prytania and Magazine to do a few easy laps around Audubon Park before heading home through Tulane’s campus. Yesterday I broke down and signed up for the new AT&T internet and phone bundle since my current setup at home dates back to late 2005. Although I kind of hate giving up that direct phone line, the cost of the home phone was getting way out of line with how much we use it, and the internet connection was getting more and more flaky. The downside is that I guess I’ll be spending Wednesday morning with some service person at home getting it all switched over which will likely involve moving furniture around to uncover long-hidden phone outlets. I’m still stuck with basic cable from Cox, but perhaps once the new AT&T becomes available, which will probably be pretty soon, they will offer another deal to get me to switch over. We’ll see. I would probably be just as happy with an antenna and Hulu.