Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stop Pedaling and Die

Yeah, that pretty much sums up today’s ride. I was off to a great start by forgetting my sandwich for lunch at the office, so I had to settle for an Ensure that had been rolling around in the back of my car for the last three months. As I’m driving up to Pine Log, the temperature on my car’s thermometer keeps dropping…37…36…..34……..30!!!! Apparently the predicted high of 45 was at 7 am this morning…a small detail that I didn’t pay attention to. When I got up there, the wind was blowing pretty hard and it was well, I guess I’d call it snowing. I had brought a serious arsenal of clothing for just about any conditions, with the exception of my gloves. Oh well, we’ll just have to keep moving. Funny..that didn’t work out so well for us because in the first 20 minutes of the ride, Kim and I both ran over roofing nails and flatted. Luckily I had STAN’s in my tires and the huge hole sealed eventually…I just needed to pump it back up. Kim on the other hand had to deal with a full on tire change in the blistering wind with frozen fingers. Off to a lovely start aren’t we? Once we finally got rolling again, it was a big technical climb up from Hwy 140 to Pine Log Mtn. As we were winding our way up, I began to see trees flocked in ice. It was really pretty, yet eerie at the same time. The wind was howling away, making the tree limbs creak and bump each other…more eeriness that reminded us we were very, very alone in an ephemeral winter wonderland. We climbed a bit more, then started our descent via an old fireroad that is littered with rocks. I took it easy, as I wasn’t convinced that my tire would hold, and the thought of taking a header into a cold, wet pile of rocks just wasn’t giving me the warm fuzzies. Any injury or mechanical that hindered forward movement at that point would surely have resulted in hypothermia and frozen extremities. NO THANKS!

We continued on and after about two hours, I started to get a bit cold from all the downhills and the fact that my clothing was starting to get wet and sweaty. On the way down I noticed a new and very large sign at the WMA boundary saying “No Bikes, No Horses, Private Property, BLAH BLAH BLAH. “ I think I’m going to buy one of those Lake Arrowhead lots up there so I can tell the developer to bugger off.

By the time we hit the main fireroad and descended the big hill, my hands were painfully cold. I have such poor circulation in my right pinky that it is very susceptible to cold. I thought briefly that it would be nice if it just froze and fell off, but then I’d be even more freakish. Thankfully I had tossed a bag of hand warmers in my pack. I broke them out and after about 15 minutes, I was happy again. At this point I was having to chew on my camelbak hose to break up the ice chunks that were forming so I could drink my water…Are we having fun yet?

We were done with the fun, technical riding and just had about 15 miles of gravel road left. We were able to stay pretty warm and keep our effort consistent. The abundance of bumpy “lava rock” on the roads would have been excruciatingly annoying on a warmer day, but today the added effort kept us toasty.

Once we arrived back at the cars, we decided to go for a run and check out the trails at Pine Log Creek Park. The trails were nice, but after a 3.5 hour ride, a hilly run was about the last thing my legs wanted to do. There was a nice mile long climb near the end of the run that didn’t have me smiling, but at least I didn’t have any issues staying warm. I was starving after the run, and had to turn my seat heater on and sit on my Clif bar to thaw it out before I could actually take a bite. Lovely…

Despite the crappy weather (by Georgia Standards anyways..), we still got in a good bit of riding time and made use of a day where most other folks were probably spinning aimlessly on their trainers. Tomorrow is definitely a recovery ride and hopefully I can get a Valentine’s Day Massage from the hubby, because my legs are toast!

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