Saturday, June 13, 2009

Horsing Around with the Express Clydesdales

My main plan for this weekend was to get a nice bicycle ride in on Saturday morning. There will be some family events later in the weekend and I didn't want to miss out on the good weather if our schedule fills up. Shana and I met up with friends at Lake Overholser and we all went out for a ride. Sharon had to stay close because she's on call this weekend, but Diane and Shana and I went out into the country. Our goal was to ride to the Express Clydesdale barn and come back. It's not a very long ride (about 22 miles round trip) and pretty flat, but we have not done a lot of riding yet this year and it seemed like a manageable goal that would also give us a nice change of scene. I am also very interested in checking out a theory I heard that if a herd of cattle in a field are all looking the same way that will be magnetic north. This route features a representative sample of cattle. So far I'd have to say that theory is crap.

I knew that school groups often visited the Express barn, but I did not know the barn was pretty much open to the public even without making special arrangements. We stopped for a bit to take a look at the facility and the horses. The barn is beautiful and perfectly kept. Outside there are various decorations with a Clydesdale theme - the one that caught my eye was a life sized statue made of horseshoes.

We were able to go inside and visit with the (beautiful) horses through the bars of their stalls. There were a couple of young ladies there taking care of the horses who were very friendly and willing to answer questions about the animals. It was quite a treat for all of us. When we went in it was just us and a mother with two little girls. We could take our time walking around and it was quiet and pleasant. Outside they also have a zebra and a miniature horse, both of whom are apparently very likely to bite. We kept our distance, having little to no interest in being bitten! We got back on our bikes and left just as a birthday party group started to arrive, just in time to "enjoy" a shift in the wind.

In Oklahoma the wind almost always comes from the west, southwest or south in the summer and is strongest in the heat of the day. For most of the routes we like to take we can take advantage of this by planning our ride so that we are heading west early in the day or late in the evening when the wind is not at its strongest. That way we can have the wind at our backs when we are most tired. There's not a lot you can do about the south wind. We were unlucky today. When the wind picked up it was coming from the east at a tremendous speed. I though I was struggling to keep above 12 mph because I and weak and fat (both of which I hope are temporary conditions), but Diane was also struggling with it and she's a strong cyclist. It did trick us into taking on a more strenuous ride than we had intended, which was a good thing.

After lunch we went our separate ways. Our friends were planning to stop by Pro Bike to check out the possibility of scoring some Keen cycling sandals. I needed to stay away so I am not tempted to buy any more cycling stuff this year. I think I have everything I could reasonably need for the season, but there's always something tempting around. I think the cycling sandals are safe from me. While the coolness of sandals is very appealing I'm pretty sure that my tender blister prone feet would not enjoy a day of repetitive motion in sandals without socks however cute they may be.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

No comments?! That must remedied immediately! Beautiful horses, and I, too, loved the horseshoe horse. Thanks for the fun photos!!