Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coots Lake Killers


If cycling has done anything for me, it has provided me with endless amusing tales and stories. Forget the increased lung capacity, muscle strength and endurance, my heart has reaped the most benefit as a result of all the laughter. We may work hard on the bike, but not at the expense of happy heart.

Last summer's heat took its toll on some of my regular riding friends. I personally thrive in the heat and welcome the 95 degree days, but not everyone shares my love for hot Southern days. One ride in particular left its mark and depleted a couple of riders of vital cooling capacity! As a result, they passed out in the end in the parking lot. As the ambulance arrived, a few of our buddies rode up to see all the carnage. Relieved they chose not to join in on that ride, they dubbed them the "Coots Lake Killers". "What the heck did ya'll do on that ride," rlaz exclaimed as he saw Barry being loaded onto a stretcher!

I couldn't wait to tell Joe that story because I knew he'd get a big kick out of it. Every since then, he's been shying away from riding with the Coots Lake Killers. Secretly it must have been driving him to train extra hard, because Joe's been kicking butt so far this year. This weekend he wasn't afraid to tangle with the Killers. I was thrilled when he decided to join us for this Saturday morning's ride out of Coots. He was going to kill it, I could tell.Unlike Joe, I have not been kicking butt this year. Heck, I've hardly been on the bike at all. 3-4 hours a week is about all I've managed to pull off, but that's a choice I made. No excuses, it is what it is. I resolved myself to suffer mightily.

Rlaz, Michelle and I rode this same route just one day earlier. There are 3 good little climbs; Vinson, Hightower, and Paris Mtn and my legs were still reeling in the memory of getting up them. I could only hope that rlaz and Michelle were still tired and would keep me company in the back of the pack. Yea, right. Dream on.

Even though I knew it would be a big ole sufferfest of a ride for me, I still wanted to go. These roads are so beautiful and I enjoy riding out here immensely. Most of all I knew in between the gasps for breath, there would be lots of laughing. Sure enough, the jokester crew was in full force and I couldn't help but smile underneath my grimace. Cam, Chris, Keith, Daryl, Joe, Raja, rlaz, and Michelle formed a big enough pack on which I hung for dear life.
The pretty weeds formed a lush yellow blanket over the green fields. We passed by cows grazing in the pasture, staring at us inquisitively as if to say, "what are you looking at?" I pretend for a moment that I'm riding through the lush farmland outside of Z├╝rich. I think we're pretty spoiled to have such beautiful roads on which to ride.
As I suspected, Joe did just fine and had no problem keeping up with pack. Our last challenge for the day was the climb up Paris Mtn.The road is rough and more like a cyclocross course than a paved street. Joe was the only newbie and at a complete disadvantage since he had no knowledge of the climb. That did not phase him. I could only watch as everyone rode away from me leaving me and my triple to navigate the potholes alone.
With Damyankee as my carrot I finally made it to the top. Paris Mtn is a wild untamed climb that will work you over good whether you're strong or not. I've ridden it in great form and with no form (today) and every time I've gotten my money's worth. There isn't a climb like it so close to the 'burbs, it's a real gem.I may have waited a bit late to start my "training" for the year, but better late than never. I'm training with the Coots Lake Killers, so I'm sure to be transformed into a shredder in no time.....if they don't kill me first.

It's worked for Joe. He can officially call himself a Coots Lake Killer! Didn't kill him, no ambulances, no passing out, it was a Super Deluxe Road ride for him. Welcome to the Club!
Coots Lake

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