I rode in the morning. 90 minutes to get in some miles before the sun got too high in the sky. I had nothing better to do on a day off. Afterwards, I walked around, took naps, and debated with my wife via text about getting a German Shepherd puppy. For the record, I was against it, as we have a wonderful Lab already, plus two cats and a toddler. I love German Shepherds, but this was impulsive and I'm not one to take on the awesome responsibility of a new dog on a whim. She won the argument, but realized in time that the ad was a puppy mill scam and didn't go through with it. I was proud and relieved. The last thing I want to do is for myself and the rest of the family to get attached to a dog and then find it has a gazillion breeding-related problems. Better to wait for the right dog.
Crisis averted, I slept, ate and generally goofed off. Late in the afternoon, I suited up and rode into the wind for a group ride. Going over the bridge into Ocean Springs, buffeted by winds, I knew my legs were cooked from a 300 mile week. Perhaps a two-a-day was not the best idea. Then again, this ride is usually pretty chill, so I thought I could ride relatively easy.
When I pulled up to the shop, I recognized a couple of the faces and realized I wasn't going to get to spin easy. We pulled off and within a half mile the pace ramped up as we crossed back over the bridge I had just crossed to get there, except instead of using the bike/pedestrian path we took the wide shoulder. That would have been great, except it hadn't been swept since the bridge was buit, and was littered with broken bottles and whatever else flies out of passing cars. 

As we crested the local KOM, my rear tire flatted. I knew I was riding a little too far into the shoulder, thus increasing my chances of picking up some glass, but the alternative was riding the ghost line around drivers both surprised and somewhat outraged by your presence. While the rest of the group rode ahead to get off the bridge of death and debris, I quickly fixed the flat and tried to meet up with them.
Once reunited, the hostilities began anew. I had no problem keeping up as we "climbed", but I realized my legs were more than a little flat. I needed rest more than I needed intensity. I backed off and rode with slower riders, guiding them around the route that I discovered only a month before. Funny how quickly you become the pathfinder in group ride situations.
The rest of the ride was a pleasant spin, and the persistent ache in my legs faded. Short of a day or two off the bike, it was just what I needed.
When I got home, it was obvious that the tire was toast. 2000 miles on this sort of pavement and a couple flats was all it had in it. The center of the tread was thin and a couple slits and a healthy gouge convinced me to replace it before it failed out in the middle of nowhere. I had a couple brand new spares along with me, as I had anticipated this sort of thing. I just didn't expect it to happen as quickly as it did.
The goal is to wear my legs into nothing before I leave. By all indications, I'm on track for that sort of outcome.


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