Friday, August 22, 2008

Big Rides

Life can come at you in a hurry, and the next thing you know, several weeks have passed you by, and you're not entirely sure where they went. While the riding front has not been as consistent this past month, we've definitely had couple of noteworthy big rides.

Big Jim Slade, Wrecking Ball, and myself set out on one of those Tour de Tallahassee rides a couple of weeks ago. It started innocently enough, with Pete from Joe's, and Ricky Silk, tagging along for the first chapter of the ride. Pete bowed out when responsibility called him back to open the shop by 10. Silk dipped so he could go pee in his bucket. He swears it's for fertilizing the lawn, though I'm not so sure. And then there were three.

We did fine until WB's bike developed a skipping issue, in the middle chainring. I assured him it was a bent tooth, and that it could be remedied later, but he'd need to avoid that ring for the remainder of the ride. He proceeded to be sure that I was extremely informed that the tooth was in fact cracked, not just bent. I wasn't too keen on being extremely informed of anything, so I simply growled that the rules and directions previously provided, still applied. Sounds testy, huh? Yeah, I suppose that was the beginning of the hate fatigue.

Big Jim Slade thought all of this to be quite amusing, so the cycling Gods set the stage to strike him down for his unrepentant mirth. I was quite gassed returning through the Cadillac Trail. WB and BJS stopped to refill bottles, and I continued on alone, albeit slowly, so they could catch up easily. BJS refused my offers to let him by, as he "wanted to watch my lines". I told him that at the snail's pace I was rolling, "the lines" no longer mattered. He remained insistent. WB had no qualms going to the front as soon as the opportunity presented itself. I took off in chase, and soon noticed, no BJS. I slowed up and asked how he intended to see somebody's lines, from 100 yards off the back. At which point, I was the victim of several expletives. I bumped the pace again, and at the end, no BJS. I actually backtracked this time, to find our lost puppy, walking his bike with the rear derailleur(rear mech for Fat Lad) dragging in the dirt behind him. Funny, he wasn't laughing anymore. I asked if he had a chain tool, and after more expletives, I went in search of one. After cruising all of the parking lots of TB Park, in a fruitless search for a chain tool, I return to find I had been lied to. BJS had found his in his jersey pocket. How the hell do you not know you have a chain tool in your jersey pocket? It's not like the damn thing is featherweight! Tool in hand, we convert his rig to a singlespeed, and continue towards home.

It's now 1pm. This 4 hour ride has topped 5 hours, and we're still not home. 2 miles from the end, BJS flats. Are you fecking kidding me?! I told him I was leaving him for dead, but he looked so dejected, sitting there in the ditch, with a tire lever in one hand, his wheel in front of him, and no apparent idea of what to do next. WB and I sat with him until somehow his fumbling ended up with a tube inside the tire, and we were good to go. 6 hours to do a 4.5 hour ride. What the hell? After 46 miles on mountain bikes, a trip to San Miguel's, for way too much Mexican food, was in order. Nothing like chicken fajita quesadillas to quench the hate fatigue.

This past weekend, Silk, Micro, and Uncle Fester(formerly known as Mingo), and I, hit the Fool's Gold 50/100. Well, actually Silk hit the 50, the rest of us got our festival on. This is the 2nd year for this event, and Eddy and Namrita Odea put on a fine event.

The race is the general overtone, but it's different than the vibe at a cross country race. There are only 2 starts, the 100, and 15 minutes later, the 50. The festivus bunch got up and ate breakfast with Silk(team support and all) at 5:30am. We watched the start at 7am, and promptly returned to the cabin, to go back to sleep. How's that for a relaxed atmosphere? We rolled out on our bikes around about the crack of 9:30. Here's where I made an error in judgement. I let myself be sold on doing the longest climb of the race loop, as a way to get to the trails on Bull Mountain. This climb was 8 miles long, and all fire road! Silk claims it to be 1.5 hours to Bull Mtn.. Maybe in Silk world, but at 5:30am, when I was sold on this idea, I was not awake enough to calculate the Bigworm/Ricky Silk time space continuum. It took us about 2.5 hours, with two flat repairs, to reach Bull Mtn.! By then I was too gassed to commit to the 5 mile technical climb that starts the Bull Mtn. trail system. So we opted to take a fireroad shortcut back, and that still took almost an hour! 24 miles, and 80% was fireroads.

Oh well, back at the cabin, it was time to put our feet up, listen to the two bands playing, and enjoy the beer that is included in your registration. $100 for the festival, includes your cabin for 2 nights, 5 meals, and free beer from Sweetwater and Terrapin. Aside from the race, there were several guided rides on Friday night, all day Saturday and on Sunday morning. I missed it, but apparently they were showing the bike flick, Klunkers, on a big screen in one of the main buildings. Not bad for a C-note.

The trails of North GA are beautiful, and now I can't stop thinking about getting back up there, and this time riding more singletrack. In my obsession, I've tripped over another cycling blog, from a North GA native. Reading her stories and seeing the pics, sets the hook deeper. I think this fall that I'll make the trip solo, if my crew can't get their acts together.


Human Wrecking Ball said...

I'll go if I can have gears. Nice wrap up BW. It seems like those rides are a thousand years old as I languish in my declining fitness.

Anonymous said...

Hey There,
Sounds like a cool event. I hope people liked my film. I'm doing a little tribute film for the MTB Hall of Fame induction of John Finley Scott, who appears in the film, at InterBike. If you don't know who he is, Google him for all the amazing and tragic details. It happens on Wed. the 25th at 6:00pm at the Sands Expo Center in the Casanova room. I hope to see some of you there.
Ride on,
Billy Savage
P.S. It's KLUNKERZ with a "Z".

BIG JIM S. said...

Ah, good times. Can't wait until the next epic ride. Road trip, road trip, road trip.

juancho said...

Solo? I have people watching your every move. Check your rearview on 319. I'll be there.

Missed you this morning, how were the waffles?

BIGWORM said...

Mmmmm waffles...

Breakfast was good. Having an IHOP back in town, is like reuniting wth an old friend. Now, if we can just get Dunkin Donuts to return...

How was the trail, Swamp Star? I trust you didn't fall down, go splash?

juancho said...

I wore my water wings. Video to follow. Trail was fast- at least the shallow end was fast.