Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas!

2008 is quickly coming to an end, but that only means new biking adventures are about to begin. So I shan't get too upset at the lack of exciting cycling events taking place in my life. Climbing Haleakala must have taken the last of my yearly energy quota, because once we got back home my gas tank has been running on empty.

I took a whole 12 days off the bike, and now it feels like I'm starting all over. Fortunately, last week the temperatures took an unexpected turn, and we were blessed with balmy 60 degree days. My old spark was reignited and I dusted off the bike to hit the road. Never mind it was raining. In fact, I rode in the rain 3 days in a row, and I loved every minute of it.

Raja and I were looking forward to Saturday's Chili Dawg ride in Ellijay. Everyone was going to be there, and we'd get to put in some long hours on the bikes. As fate would have it, the rains continued and scared most of us off. But we had a backup plan, because I had a sneaky suspicion that this would happen.

RegularJoe and Ony were the only 2 we could rally around us for Saturday's ride in the misty rain. Raja had built up my Litespeed and he had his Trek hardtail. We were ready to ride the dirt roads of Paulding County. Crockett had introduced us to a nice 40 mile route that combined the best of dirt and paved roads in the area with minimal traffic and maximum scenery.

My rainy ride up Haleakala had toughened me up for riding in the rain, and I hardly noticed it was raining at all. We saw Michael and Eric out on their road bikes, and said our hellos. I was glad we weren't riding our skinnies as they were, and was quite content to be riding a mtn bike. I'd gone from my 28lb MotoLite to a 23lb Litespeed, so I figured it would feel like a feather.

These roads are the best kept secret out in these parts. More and more cyclists are catching on, but I imagine it will be a while before the streets are clogged with fellow roadies. I knew Joe would love this route because it has lots of old homesteads and things of note just bursting with character. I could hardly wait for him to see this neat bridge we crossed.

Being a photographer, he loves old houses and such. So his head was on a swivel most of the ride as I was constantly saying, "you'll like this up here, Joe, look at that!"

I'm enjoying this season of my riding life where I actually notice the things around me instead of just hammering with head down oblivious to my surroundings. Sharing that view with cyclists of the same mindset makes my rides all the more enjoyable. Not to mention, they usually point things out to me that I've missed. There is, afterall, so much to see!

I was so proud of Ony for coming on our 3 hour tour. In just a year, he has made leaps and strides in his progress, and can now handle a 40 miler without any problem. He didn't complain when we reached the inevitable sea of mud that the rains had provided for us.

We just laughed our way through and tried to walk as gently as possible. Ony's wheel would lock up from all the mud in his brakes, but he didn't pitch a fit and we finally made it with a few more pounds of added weight on the bikes.

I'll never forget the first time Crockett led us here. The mud puddles were everywhere and a few riders even dove in for a swim. They were not amused. The mud wasn't as bad this time as it was that first ride, thank goodness.

We survived and carried on with the route, the rain coming and going. It felt so good just to be riding.

I could not have been happier with my choice of riding partners. It turned out to be a really great ride. Nothing special in particular, we rode in the rain and mud for goodness sake! Like I've said before, the people make the ride.

I know for a fact that Joe was happy. He loves trains, and he got to see a train. It's the simple things in life!

Sunday's ride was not so warm and fuzzy. It's not that my choice of riders was bad. In fact, I got to see some faces I haven't seen in a while. Damyankee, Rich, Cam, Jeff, and Debra were excited to be riding and did not seem to notice the drop in temperature. I could barely hold a conversation with anyone because my mouth was almost frozen shut.

We rode to Hulseytown, and I hoped the climbing would help to warm me up. It did not. I was freezing and I could not breathe. Does the cold affect anyone else that way? I feel like I'm getting in 50% of the oxygen available when it's 40 or below. Even my super duper Sidi winter shoes were not enough to keep my feet warm. There was not one part of my body that was warm. To make matters worse, the wind was blowing with 25 mph gusts. The conditions were not pleasant for a little Southern Belle.

The group turned off to add bonus miles, but I declined. No extra credit for me today. Raja and I headed on to Yorkville to put this torture to an end. I was exhausted. All I wanted was to curl up in somebody's lap and take a nap.

Now I remember, I don't ride on the road if it's below 48 degrees. It has been over a year since I've done something that stupid. The memory is not working so well, so I'll chalk that up to an honest mistake. After seeing the wretched conditions in the rest of the country, I should not be complaining. It could be worse, we could have ice and snow.

I wanted to do a nice recap of pics from this year for my Sorba friends, but the task turned out to be too much for me. I hastily put together this little post that gives a tiny glimpse of our fabulous year in review.

Raja and I send out our warmest wishes to you all for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!


regularjoe said...

That was a fun day for sure. It's just nice to be out enjoying the world around us...

O. said...

Thank you and raja for such a wonderful year. Any day riding around with you guys is a great day and I hope to have many more days like that. Merry Christmas!!