These rides have been posted throughout the riding season, but we've been hesitant previously because we weren't so sure we could keep up -- especially on the hills. Their average speed is posted at 15-18 MPH. Closer to 15 MPH, we can handle but if the group was quicker, we could have had issues.
However, although we've been blessed with an extended Indian Summer, the weather is much cooler. That means more comfortable. Add to that the fact that Dave and I have roughly 2700 tandem miles tallied up so far this year -- AND -- that we've had a few faster-than-our-average rides on our own familiar routes in recent weeks. The hills can still be challenging, but we are handling them a lot more efficiently!
So we were pleasantly surprised that we were able to prove to ourselves that this ride was within our capabilities!
We passed through miles of scenic, mildly familiar territory. We rode by tobacco fields and dairy farms. But all along, there were piles upon piles of branches and debris along the roadside - a result of October's freak Connecticut snowstorm. Winds from that storm left many residents without power for over a week in duration and the cleanup efforts were still in the works. Heck, we even saw a man up on a ladder alone operating a chainsaw! That made for interesting conversation during the ride.
Finally, we pulled into a parking lot for a rest stop / bathroom break. I was very grateful to see there was a Dunkin Donuts in this plaza. I needed a rest room urgently! (While Dave is able to hop off the bike just about anywhere there are trees, I usually wait until we find suitable facilities.) So since I was carrying our money for the day, I asked Dave if he would get us a bite to eat, while I visited the ladies room. I pulled out a folded twenty dollar bill from my jersey pocket and rushed inside.
Inside the ladies room, I am fascinated to see the depth of instruction necessary for Dunkin Donut employees to properly wash their hands. <--
Since the technique is fresh in my mind, I most effectively wash my hands and head out to the doughnut counter. ; )
I see Dave directing the young lady to fill a bag for us. The variety of kinds he is ordering surprises me. Normally, we share an ice coffee and a single goodie that we split in half. Then I realize, he was special ordering Munchkins -- phew!
We head outside to sit with the other cyclists and Dave proceeds to peek inside our bag. Inside there is a bagel stick, two jelly sticks, AND a pile of munchkins! Then we have an ice coffee to share and a Vitamin Water to fill our empty water bottles.Wow!
I think Dave was also having a conversation with a fellow cyclist while he was placing his order. But he did admit to being hungry! We offered up the extra sweets to others who were happy to help us out with the doughnut overload.
On the way back, we did especially enjoy this speedy rolling downhill which we were encouraged to lead. Dave loves these things! I love it too, but my love for speed on unfamiliar roadways is mixed with a strong sense of trepidation. : )