Sunday, July 28, 2013

Longer rides

I had opportunities to go on two organized bike rides this weekend. My friend Sergey organized the first one, a trip from one part of the old Chapski estate to another about 30 km away. The remote part is called Stan'kau, and the last time we were there the ancient church looked about ready to dissolve into the earth. Now it’s under restoration, and Sergey arranged a tour of the church as a key feature of our arrival at Stan'kau. Sergey and Irina are great hosts, so they started us off with hot drinks, a huge stack of hot homemade blini, and fresh berries to eat with the blini.

We worked off our blini and berries long before we reached Stan'kau, but everybody performed well and even the little kids riding sitting in kiddie seats on their dads’ bikes arrived in good spirits. Still, the overly-detailed church tour before lunch taxed my own patience and I made a quiet escape after an hour so I could lie in the sun on the grass in front of the church.

The littlest kids didn’t ride their dads’ bikes the entire way back, but Matvey managed to ride 100% of the distance, setting a new personal endurance record. We got back late and the group was small enough that our kind host and hostess served us all dinner in their yard. (Photo at right.) We had a full day of pleasure.

Today I set out for another ride after church, with a local English Club. Their goals included socializing and speaking English, so we didn’t ride so consistently. After a very pleasant hour with these people, when they showed me some interesting back roads and the far side of a lake I’d forgotten about, I split off so I could do some more serious training. I rode out a long bike road to a local ski resort and then came back on quiet trails near some of Minsk’s many waterways. The beautiful flowers at the end of the ride made up for the traffic noise along most of the path to the ski area. In any event, I enjoyed the day and the fact that I’m increasing my daily mileages. And I saw an amazing open-air market on my way to today’s bike trail. I should have taken pictures: it had a wonderfully home-grown feel about it that reminded me of Mayan markets in Mexico’s Yucutan Peninsula.
Last views coming home

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