Monday, January 7, 2008

Hot N Cold

A typical Georgia winter is hot and cold, or rather cold, colder, warm, and warmer. Saturday's ride was cold once again with even a little snow and ice! But then it warmed up Sunday to a pleasant 65 degrees, and today's high was 68. One day I'm riding in tights and gortex, and the next it's shorts and shortsleeve jersey. I'll take what I can get.

My legs were still toasted from being out all day Saturday. Raja and I started our ride at 9am and didn't get back to the car till after 3:00. Granted, we weren't riding the entire time, but just being out so long takes its toll. Sunday I spun on the road bike for an hour and a half. Felt so good in the sun.

Monday is my regular day to see Janusz, my "personal body trainer", as I call him. He has given me some new ab work to do on a fitness ball, and he had me do them for him today. "No, not like that," he said in his thick Polish accent, "you must push the muscle all the way to your back, flatten it out completely."

With his hand on my muscle, he could tell exactly what I was doing, and if I was cheating. Geez, I thought I was going to die. Finally I managed to do one the proper way, just one. He's tough, but dang he's good. As an international world class professional ballet dancer, he can't help but be good.

Janusz could barely work on my left quad without having me scream out in pain. "You've strained this muscle," he says. Ya think? Logic tells me that today's ride will be a repeat of yesterday; spin, spin.

I spun over to Kennesaw Mountain where I saw Gapchick. I asked her how she finished up for mileage in 2007. Just a mere 16,000 miles!!! Wow, she only had me by 10,000 miles. Maybe next year.

The highlight for the weekend was celebrating Robin's 19th (nice try, Robin) birthday with a mountain bike ride in the Cohuttas. What good clean fun! The birthday girl wore a fabulous tiara, while the rest of the celebratees adorned themselves with strings of beads about their necks. That's why I prefer mountain biking over road riding. We can get in a good hard workout, but still have fun and laugh while doing it.

Raja and I drove up early that morning to Ellijay in order to get some extra credit miles in before the masses appeared. It was freezing, literally. But I already had my attitude adjustment on the New Year's Day ride and was ready to face the cold temps. I've got gortex and a balaclava, bring it on!

We started up the Pinhoti 1 trail from the west side, opposite of the popular flow of traffic. Most prefer to climb Pinhoti from the north side for a good reason; there's less climbing and lots of great downhilling. So that meant we were climbing up a crapload of steep long singletrack. I was not looking forward to that part.

It turned out to be quite enjoyable. Fresh legs, first climb of the day, just the 2 of us, not so bad. The quiet still morning was refreshing, and the ascent warmed us quickly. A light sprinkling of snow still dotted the ground in various places along the trail.

The frozen ground crunched beneath the weight of our tires. In a few hours, when we would be coming back this way, the ground would be thawed, muddy, and slippery. I made a mental note to take the downhills conservatively lest I slide out in the mud later in the day.

Once again, the battery in my compact Canon died after 2 shots. I put the other battery in, thinking I had saved the day. Only, that battery died after about 8 shots. What in the Sam Hill is going on here? Guess that means I'm lugging the Nikon D40 along again today. Why do I feel so compelled to take pictures? It's what I do.

Raja and I made it back to our car at Gates Chapel after a leisurely hour of riding. The birthday girl and lots of party goers had already arrived and were ready to ride. The usual late arrivals finally appeared, and we got the show started.

The only "birthday helmet" I've ever seen was worn by Becky, and that one was pretty gaudy. Thankfully, Robin had styled a beautiful tinkerbell tiara to delicately perch atop her white helmet, thus transforming it into the official birthday party hat. I think I'd rather wear this one when my birthday rolls around (sorry Becky)! It was also a hoot to see everyone wearing party beads.

It was even funnier to see them riding with party beads dangling from their necks.

There were a number of newcomers that came because they had seen the ride posted on the sorba forum. No worries, we welcome all with open arms. I also got to see some folks I have not ridden with in a while, like James! Good to see you, James!

We took the beautiful rhododendron lined Bear Creek trail

up to the overlook.
We couldn't miss out on the upper little part of Bear Creek though, so we climbed just a bit more in order to enjoy that descent. I love that section.
Just techy enough to make it fun and enjoy your full suspension, but nothing over the top. We bombed back down the way we came to take Pinhoti 1 and 2, the pieste resistance.

Unfortunately, there was a crash at the bottom of Bear Creek, and one of us got hurt. A big ole tree had fallen across the trail and had been cut at the most ridiculous location, making it more of a hazard than if it had been left uncut.
Our friend was not so lucky and had a horrible encounter.

Bad story, good ending. He's going to be okay. A broken nose & ocular bone, concussion, and some cuts and bruises are what he can boast of on that crash. That's more than I'd ever want to acquire. You never want to see your friend get hurt. I had a hard time sleeping that night because I kept seeing his bloody face in my mind. I thank God that he's alive and well.

Once we got him and his bike off the trail, loaded up and to the ER, the majority of us continued on with the birthday celebration! We all agreed that he would have wanted it that way!

In spite of the incident, we were all light hearted and still in a celebratory mood.
Visions of zooming down Pinhoti 2 made us giddy. I've said it once and I'll say it again. That has to be the best downhill singletrack in the Southeast!

Ended up with 31 miles and 3 1/2 hrs ride time for the day. We topped off a great ride with a birthday song, and what else, but chocolate!
All birthdays and good rides end with chocolate. Doesn't matter how cold or hot the temp is outside, chocolate is always appropriate.

My bike performed flawlessly. No trouble today with pedal strikes. But then, this wasn't an overly technical trail. Pinhoti 3 section presents more opportunities for that. I tried out a new location for my hammergel holder.
Works okay. Cold hands and wearing long finger gloves makes doing anything laborious. Jury's still out.

Still not happy with my pictures from Saturday's ride. I raised the ISO to 400 since the trail is so dark. Not sure if that helped or not. Cannot seem to get the whole focus thing down. This trail seems to be my nemesis for picture taking. I will keep trying until I conquer!

But for now, the forecast shows the temperature rising each day! Whoohoo! I'm sure this won't last long. Who knows, it could be back down to 25 degrees by Saturday. Just in time for a long ride.

Hot and cold. How 'bout we skip the cold and stick to the hot? I'm a Southern girl!


Al said...

"Once we got him and his bike off the trail, loaded up and to the ER, the majority of us continued on with the birthday celebration! We all agreed that he would have wanted it that way!"

Damn straight. Thanks for getting me off the mountain.

Becky said...

You're right - That birthday helmet is a lot more stylish than mine was! Happy 19th, Robin!! :)