Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happiest Girl in the Whole USA

Yes, I am the happiest girl in the whole USA! You name it, I got it. The perfect husband that can downhill on a bike like nobody's business, drive a car like Mario Andretti, and fix a flat tire in under 3 minutes. A list of friends a mile long that love to ride bikes as much as we do and are always at the ready to join in the fun. Janusz Mazon, the world's best masseuse/chiropractor that keeps me up and running. And to top it all off, we're getting ready to head out west for a week of fun and mountain biking with some of our fat tire friends!Yes siree, life is good. Good, now that I'm the Happiest Girl in the Whole USA. Lately I had started acting old and cranky, but there was no reason for me to be that way. Guess I was getting tired of this eternal winter from which we are suffering.

Lest all my friends begin to tire of me, I decided to hire a marketing firm to freshen up my image. Get me back on the fast track. With a slim budget, my choices were limited. This was all I could afford.Some poor old hill man, lives in a shack in Hanging Dog in the Carolinas. Since I could not afford to pay him, we struck up a deal. I'd change his image if he'd change mine. I did the best I could. Have you ever seen such a before and after?That good ole Hillbilly held up his end of the bargain. I am now the darn tootenist happiest girl you will find in these here parts.

I imagine his business will be booming now that the word is out!

I know someone else that's probably the happiest guy in, uh, Switzerland.I've been enjoying reading Jeff's blog since his arrival safely back in Zurich from Morocco. His pictures from the Marathon are up and they are amazing!! I cannot fathom what he did. This picture of them climbing the dunes says it all to me!

Back here in the USA with a new found happiness, we were finally able to get in a long road ride in the mountains.Even though we began with about 50 other riders out of Ellijay, it wasn't long before I found myself in no man's land. Finally I bridged up to a small group that had some nice high horsepower engines present. Kevin and Mary Kellar, the energizer bunny couple, and Larry Crook did plenty to keep the train rolling at a nice clip. The most impressive engine was Sarah.She is like a female version of my friend, The Caminator. Goodness me! What a powerhouse.I was ready to blow a gasket by the time we approached the real climb of the day, Fort Mountain.My goal was to stay aboard this train till the bottom of the climb. It's tough keeping up in the paceline, but it helps to shave valuable time off an otherwise long day in the saddle.It did not take long for all the cars to come uncoupled as we started the 8 mile ascent. Sarah and Larry were gone in a flash. Kevin hung back for a while, but quickly grew tired of me and motored on ahead passing Mary as she dangled in front of me like a carrot. The carrot I could not catch, she rode just far enough ahead to taunt me. Knowing Ken was creeping up behind me made me keep up the effort. This climb is perplexing to me in its difficulty. It does not seem that steep and yet I was unable to power up like I can on steeper climbs such as Neals or Wolfpen. It took a grueling 50+ minutes to make the 8 miles, and then you're greeted with these nasty rollers. Not the usual, "Ah I'm at the top so now all I have to do is go down." No mam. My legs were screaming in protest and had to yield to the 30x23 every time. I do love my triple.At least we were greeted with lovely views. By now 60 miles have rolled by over the course of 3 1/2 hours. About to enter the unknown portion of the route, I have no idea what to expect. Kevin had warned me that the part after the climb would be the kicker. I wondered if I would survive.It turned out not to be so bad. If you go slow, you don't notice the hills. Instead I was enthralled with the beautiful country roads.I knew I was on the right course because I had caught a glimpse of Mary at the turn off the descent down Fort Mountain. She was long gone now, and it was just me and the cows, the flowers, and lovely countryside.By now it was though I were walking. Any moment Raja should be coming up on me, but he never did. No one did. Great, I've missed a turn. The white arrows on the road must be leading me to a Spa or a Pot of Gold. Ha ha, I'd be rolling in nuggets of gold while everyone else was pedaling away. Yep, I was on an adventure all by myself. Another look over my shoulder and not a soul in sight but the chickens.What I did not know is that Raja had followed Ken past the turnoff down to the bottom of Ft Mountain. When he learned that Ken was going back via Hwy 52, he had to climb back up to the road to get back on course. Ouch.I was enjoying my little game, finding amusing signs and taking pictures of horses and flowers. My other favorite sign was of Lillipat Lane.

I asked a fella on the side of the road if I was headed towards Ellijay. Yup, he said. That's all I needed to know. On, on. The route came down into town on the coolest road; like the kind we ride in Italy. Tiny, twisty, and narrow, it literally dropped you down from high in the sky right down to the middle of town. Shew. I'm done!

Yea! 72 miles, over 6,000', and a long 4 1/2 hrs. I wonder if the girl with the funky bike had as much fun as I did?
Raja and I had enough fuel in our tanks to pull out 2 hours of fun the next day at Blankets trail with Sweetwater and rlaz. We have to get used to riding day after day, because that's what we'll be doing next week.Did I mention we're going to Moab and Fruita?! Hehe, I'm the Happiest Girl in the whole USA!


Robb Sutton said...

Fruita is going to be incredible. I wish I could get out there and ride with you guys!

Take some great pictures like you always do and don't have too much fun without me!

Jeff Grant said...

I'm voting this posting the best blog post of the year. Excellent writing, photography, video, and attitude! Did I mention that the video, which captured your consistent and warm smile through the years, was fantastic? Thanks for sharing and for the great positive energy! THis post really brightened my day. Enjoy your upcoming mountain biking in one of the best MTB spots in the world! Can't wait to see your photos! Jeff

Mark D. said...

best post EVER