Saturday, February 2, 2008


Discombobulate: upset, confuse.

Our plan for Saturday's ride was to join in the Cartecay Crew's Chili Dawg ride starting from the Big Creek FireStation in Ellijay.

There was a good turnout, so we thought we'd be in good company for the 50 mile option being led by Joe. I should have been highly suspicious when I saw Kevin with that smug grin on his face, like a cat ready to pounce on an unsuspecting mouse. We should have picked up on the biggest "sign" when the majority of the group opted for the shorter route. Hmmmm, usually everyone does the longer route with only a hand full going short. Oh well, let's roll out. We'll do the 50!
And the race began. Number 34 was pushing the lead pack up the Doublehead Gap climb. Wait a minute. This ain't no race. Who's #34 and what's he doing with us?
For a brief moment, I thought I was in France, climbing La Plagne. Markings on the road to cheer on Tour de Georgia riders were as fresh as the day Mike, er uh, someone painted them.
This is my favorite. Where would cycling be without him? I've had the pleasure of meeting him. He's as impressive in person as he is on camera.
Our small group of 50'rs led by Joe consisted of Ursula, Kevin, Mary, #34Mike, me and Raja. Ursula and I raced together in the early 90's, and tried to pinpoint the dates. Enough chit chat, Joe was ready to get on with the show. So we split from the group and began the gravel road climb up Springer. Still in the process of dialing in this new hammer gel flask, Raja alerted me, "you've sprung a leak." I love the concept of being able to access my gel easily. However, you have to be extra careful to make sure you close the mouthpiece completely after each use. Otherwise you get a little fondue party going on during the ride. Oops.
I was happy to take the climb at a leisurely pace with the Kellar's and #34. Knowing you have 50 miles to tackle makes the ride strategy different from a 30 miler. This is always such a beautiful climb, especially in the winter with a clear view through the trees to the mountains. Ice could be seen on a hill "across the holler" and water was dripping down the rocky bankside.

Joe and Ursula had long since disappeared ahead on the climb. I was merely enjoying the distant views. But then the view in front began to take on a new look. An ice show was slowly unvieling before us. At first it was just on the ground. Ah, isn't that neat!

The ground was muddy and sloppy from the freeze thaw effect. Mmmm, mud in my face! Isn't that neat?

Ice was in the trees.
.Ice is falling from the trees!! Aaahhhh! My head! Good thing we had on helmets as we rode through mini ice storms crashing down in bursts. Kinda cool, actually.

And so we rode along the muddy, icy, wet, cold,

beautiful winter wonderland.
However, Raja was not seeing things from my point of view. All he could see was 2 trashed drivetrains that he would have to refurbish. And all he could feel was, well, he couldn't feel his toes. It was cold. I thought it was supposed to be 60 degrees today?At the top of Winding Stair, Raja and I quickly made the executive decision to bag this 50 mile effort. We waved goodbye to the 50 Mile Macho Five, and headed down Noontoola. The insanely 7 mile long descent was even colder than it was a few weeks ago when we did it before James Bigler's ride. The beautiful creek that adds to the magic of this route also adds about negative 20 degrees. This was one time when I did not enjoy going downhill.

Not knowing the route the B Group had taken, we were hoping to hook up with them. But after descending a good ways, it was apparent we were not going to be joining in with any Cartecay riders. However, not all was in vain! Discombobulation was temporarily averted and order was restored to our universe. We came upon a hiker and his dog. It turned out to be an old racing teammate/friend that we had not seen since last summer. It was a real treat to visit with him and his beautiful dog, Merckx.We said our goodbyes to our friend and continued on to the road. My body quickly thawed out once we left the creek and hit the pavement. For once it felt good to be riding on the road with the sun shining on my back (baking the mud fast to my bike).
Mud or gel? Confusing? Just a little discombobulation.
We finished up our 29 mile, 3200' climb Tour de Bobulation just a few minutes before the B Group arrived from their fun ride. A little jealous to hear of the exciting route that Mike led them on, we were glad they had a good ride. With our discombobing behind us, we all congregated in the FireHouse for a delicious meal of Hot Vegetarian Chili (thanks to Terri). MMMmmmmm! Delicious!
No need to put the fire out. All discombobulation for today is over!
Okay, old man winter. You can go Discombobulate somewhere else. I'm ready for spring!


James Bigler said...

You should hang a copy of that truck picture on your wall. That is awesome.

Anonymous said...

Awsome Blog I want to come ride with you guys. I was slaving away on the rode bike in the cold. Springer is awsome I have not been up there sense I through hiked the GA AT in Oct looks like a grat place to ride.

Every Blessing

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures, Polly! Everything was so pretty iced up, but the road was like riding through oatmeal! But, always good riding with you guys. I see you guys visited Ned on the way home!

Til' next time,


Becky said...

Amazing pictures, as always... I especially like the one with the hiker and his dog in the car window - Wow. Sorry to hear you sprung a leak again! :)