Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winter has arrived

This weekend was the next cyclocross races at Chickasaw Trace. A few guys from the Yazoo crew decided to ride down to the races and do some heckling and beer drinking. Being short on cash right now, I opted out of racing. No extra money for my UCI license so it would of been $30 for a 30 minute race. I decided to just ride down with the boys and enjoy the day and hopefully ride back. I didn't know the mileage we were looking at to get down there, so I was slightly apprehensive about being able to ride back. I generally do better if I don't know what I'm in for, so I kept my mouth shut and went with the flow.

Thad decided we should depart from Leipers Fork and not the farm to cut out a long, boring 8 mile stretch. We met up early and got our last minute bike adjustments and warm clothes situated and packed up the trucks. I was borrowing a setback seatpost from Grant to try on my crosscheck. Thad helped me do a quick plumb bob check of saddle position and hoped in the truck and headed out. It was already cold, real cold, and the latest forecast said it was just going to get colder. Highs of 31 in the morning (when we were leaving) with the temps dropping to the mid 20s later in the day.

We parked in an elementary school lot and quickly got on the road. I forgot to adjust my leg warmers and within a mile I was fighting to keep them up. Ok, this sucks, I'm already off the back of the ride and I can't stop fiddling with my clothes. We take a quick pit stop where I can get adjusted and take a few things off as it's getting hot as we get warmed up. Now I'm just trying to settle in and keep up. You'd think riding with some singlespeeders on the road would be easy, well not with the Yazoo guys, especially when two of them are rocking road/commuting gearing. Then we hit Theta hill, not that I knew what it was when I was on it. I quickly gear up and end up in my easiest gear and the hill keeps getting steeper. I make it over the first hip and it levels a bit, enough to give me a break. Oh, but then it just gets steeper again. I start thinking, I can get off and walk.... nauh that would suck..... why? I do it all the time in the woods on my SS..... nope I can make it..... man this is hard. I check out my computer and I'm actually not going all that slow, (less than walking speed) so I stick with it and muster the strength. Finally, I make it to the top without wussing out and walking.... yea that feels good. I pedal back up and get back in the group. We ride for a bit together and chat before stopping to decide on the route. We decide to take the fastest way to make sure Mike gets to Chickasaw in time for the SS race.

We arrived at the race with plenty of time for registration and a preride. I did a slow preride of the course with my chrome bag still on. It was cool to get the feel of it all on my crosscheck. I'll admit that I was glad to not be racing though as the course looked hard, and long. I followed the group down to the starting line to get some pictures. There was a good turnout but they still lumped the SSers with the CX4 class. After the racers started, Grant and I found a place for our bikes and bags and commenced with the beer drinking and cheering. We had a prime spot to see the racers go by three times before heading out into the air field.

30 minutes later they were done and back to the cabin. Thad did great and finished 1st in the SS class and Mike finished 4th. We passed out beers and talked with the racers for a while. There ended up being a big scoring snafu which was worked out after a lot of deliberation. After a lot of fun chats, it was time to get back on the road if we wanted to beat the sunset.

I realized after riding a few miles that I still had my camera in my front pocket. I pulled it out and snapped some fun 'on the bike' shots. Mike had his chain derail during a sprint with Thad and barely dismounted without crashing. I missed the action as I was off the back but I rode up to offer support, not that Mike needed it. I took this time to pack my camera away and rest my legs. Thad decided to take us on the gravel road that we skipped on the way down. Supposedly we rode it the easy direction though it was still a long, winding climb and muddy in spots. No where near as bad as Theta hill, but I still felt accomplished when I made it to the top.

I rode off the back for a while after the gravel road. I generally could see the guys all the time and they stopped for all the turns. We took a right turn at the same gas station we had stopped at the beginning of the day for me to fix my leg warmers. At this point I knew I only had about 2 miles left. I lost sight of the guys after a bit and kept on truckin. I saw a small football stadium in the distance on the left and started getting excited that I was almost done. When I rode up closer, it didn't look familiar and I didn't see Thad's truck or any of the guys. I decided to just keep on riding. I start riding into the townish part of Leipers Fork and think, "Did we ride through here before?" As I'm riding through I convince myself that we did ride through here and I'm going the right way. After about a mile I ride by this dead skunk on the side of the road. Ok, now I remember passing this skunk on the way to the school, while riding with Thad, in his truck. Now I know I've obviously ridden too far so I stop at the next big street and call Thad. He of course answers "Where are you?" It took a few minutes, but they pulled up and picked me up. Cell phones are nice.... very nice.

When we got back to the farm the temperature was 23. The guys decided to go hit up Sportsman's Lodge and I cruised back home to have some dinner and coffee with Beth. What a fun day of riding and a new experience for me. I'm never excited to ride my mountain bikes on the road so I've haven't done long road rides in decades. You get a feeling of empowerment when you ride your bike a long distance, especially a distance that you would normally drive. It's especially satisfying when you have a destination. When you ride somewhere to actually get somewhere and not just to enjoy spinning the wheels.
If you want to view all my pics from the day click HERE.


freshie beth said...

not to mention especially in the freezing cold!!!

cornfed said...

Great ride Greg, thanks for playing. How are the legs feeling today?

Anonymous said...

Good times. Thanks for the pix. I can tell you that for my first SS road ride of any significant distance I had a blast. Beer is a great antifreeze agent as are sprints up uber steep hills.


Chewieez said...

legs actually felt pretty good. Actually today (monday) they felt great. They were a bit sore yesterday.

my crotch is a different story, stupid saddle. :)

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