Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It would be fitting to say that every ride we do is a celebration of sorts. Generally, we're celebrating life. The precious opportunity to enjoy each moment of life that is so fleeting. Nothing else comes as close for me as mountain biking in conveying the sense of freedom, awe, wonder, and appreciation for Life.As a child, I did not go to near the number of birthday parties that I seem to attend as an adult. Let me clarify what I mean by definition of birthday party. The delightful trend these days amongst my cycling friends is to celebrate one's birthday with a mountain bike ride. It's like a party on wheels!You do not even have to know the celebratee in order to participate. Our new groupie, RegularJoe, crashed a birthday ride in January and we have all been fast friends ever since.

Saturday was Cyclesmith's 18th birthday, so a celebration was in order!Cyclists came from all over Georgia to join in the Fun with a ride on the Pinhoti Trail.Maybe it was the intoxicating smell of flowers and honeysuckle or just the anticipation of the singletrack downhill, everyone was in a jovial mood.Even my friend, Mikey, took time away from his sexy new Wilier road bike to play in the dirt with us. Training on the road serves you well with this crowd. They were playing hard, tackling the climbs with full steam ahead.I was not running on a full tank of fuel for the day, and the pace was putting a strain on my engine. We had started the ride with Pinhoti 2, skipping the usual climb up P1. Although blasting down P2's downhill was a natural high, I could tell I needed to play my wild card. Sneaking ahead while the gang regrouped, I wanted to climb P3 alone. Pretending I was going ahead to get set up for a photo-op, I was relishing my solitude with nature.

P3 was thick with super saturated green foliage and the birds were bursting in song as if singing in chorale competition. This is what I adore about the South. Not quiet like the forests out west, the woods here are filled with nature's music. It is like riding in a Southern jungle.

Once the major portion of the suffering was over, I stopped to set up for picture taking at a tricky switchback. Here come the party-goers. Oh, that looks like fun! I think I'll join back in the par-tay.We rode through the fern covered singletrack up to Hwy 52 and across to P4. Latecomers iride and PJ found us just in time.Our summit was awaiting at The Lodge at Fort Mtn. The Clogger blazed a trail all the way up.
We had our botanical lessons along the way, thanks to Robina. We party and we learn. So that's Black Cohosh! We had to climb all the way to the top, because that makes the downhill all the more fun!The blessed Pinhoti downhills! Can you think of a better way to celebrate!?These type of parties are easy to host. The decorations are already displayed and the party favors
are in abundant supply. Clifford and iride were lovin' their downhill "treats"!
These mtn bike bashes are not for the faint hearted. We party hearty, and get down n' dirty. It's a celebration!Happy Birthday, Captain! Thanks for putting me on the invite list! Peace out, brother.The celebration continued for the long weekend, for it was Memorial Day! We have the chance to enjoy our life because of those that serve, protect, and fight for us to have this life of freedom. We honor you on this Day.

We drove north just over the line to Tennessee to the beautiful Tanasi Trail system for our celebration. More lush green beauty, and this is just the doubletrack. The singletrack is even better.Our string of luck continued, because we were joined again by some of our great friends we celebrated with on Saturday. We have not ridden with iride in months, and now we get him 2 rides in a row! He is the most entertaining cyclist with which to ride. His mad bike skillz are very impressive. I was loving it.When we come here with most groups, they always skip the best part of this trail system, Brush Creek. Mainly because it involves a bit of a climb to get there. But hey, this is a mountain bike ride! That's what we do!
Speedy, PJ, Cyclesmith and Shortie were getting a taste of Brush Creek for the first time, and I think they really enjoyed it. We all did.We had just as much fun back on the other side of the river with the Quartz Loop, River Loop, Chestnut and Thunder Rock Express. In fact, this was PJ's first time on any of these trails.
Jungle Boy had his hands full trying to keep Rajasan under control.Even after his wild birthday party, the Captain had plenty of energy for this celebration.It was one of those days where everything clicked, we were all having fun with plenty of belly aching laughs along the way.These trails are such fun, especially when you have the perfect group. We even had "fun" when PJ had an unplanned dismount. Still laughing, we patched things up to finish the celebration. There was still Thunder Rock Express to be enjoyed!PJ was a trooper and finished the ride with a smile on her face. What did she have to celebrate? She has friends that care for her, that will take her to the ER and wait with her (thanks Rusty), that she was able to ride some of the most fun and beautiful trails in the South!

Despite that blip on the radar, it was a really fun day for us all. I thoroughly enjoyed laughing with my friends, picture taking and even some videoing and had enough energy left over to catch back up to the party in progress.

That's what we celebrate. Our freedom, our health, our friends, our family, our love for each other and for our country. Celebrate your Life!

Here's a low quality version video of our Tanasi ride:

Option to see a better version is here. Just click on "watch in high quality."

1 comment:

speedy said...

What a great weekend!!! Thanks for extending it with these great photo memories.