Sunday, January 18, 2009

weekend trip to Nashville

Things have finally settled down a tiny bit for me wife and I and this was my first weekend to stay town and not have real plans in months. I was real excited to get back on the mountain bike and put in some miles. Since the rush of the holiday season was over, there was some time to get back to the things I love.

There was a lot of discussion on possible rides but as usual for this time of year, the weather played a big part in the final decisions. The idea of a mountain bike ride for Saturday got canceled due to threats of freeze/thaw trail conditions so Johnny5 and I opted for a late morning road ride around his new block. We had some setbacks as my flat-tire-luck is still in the dumpster with my road bike. I did however learn that you can pinch flat a tire when installing it. The ride was a tough one for me. Having it be the first time back on the bike since before Xmas, my body had some funk to work through. I should of seen the foreshadowing on my drive to Thad's. I was passed in a no-pass zone, while going 7 mph over the speed limit, by a white haired old grannie. Yep, that's a confidence boost! hah The super dry, cold air wreaked havoc on my lungs during the ride and the wind tried it's best to blow us both off the road. Thad took us on a great route through the wooded areas in Mt Juliet but unfortunately we had to cut the ride a bit short due to the cold and my lack of fitness. I still drove home thinking how great it felt to have gotten outside and exercised.

The plan for Sunday involved a trip to Land Between the Lakes to ride the North/South trail. We again worried about the freeze/thaw with the warmer temperature but got feedback from Keith that the trail should be in ok shape. Dan, Keith, Doug, Thad and I drove up and set out to brave the cold again, but this time on the trail. The temperature was noticeably warmer than the day before so I already had high hopes. This was also my first trip to ride the North/South trail so I was excited about that as well, not to mention another opportunity to ride my new bike. (just the 3rd opportunity)

We dropped right into the trail and it was awesome from the get go. I can't really describe the feeling I had other than just pure happiness. I had the conscious thought of "wow, I'm really having fun." Good friends together riding bikes in the woods, in good (enough) weather with no injuries. A very successful day in the woods.

The ride turned into quite a different ride than I'm sure we all expected. Doug was having frustrating issues with his chain dropping off over and over again. It made him very apprehensive to attack any of the climbs and almost really hurt him when it dropped as he was climbing a hill and through his body forward into his stem. After about 8 miles he decided to call it a day and make his way back to the cars. Thad had the tools and equipment needed to possibly fix his issues so we all decided to head back to the cars and fix his bike and then head back into the woods. This is where the ride totally changed. We hit the gravel road and tried to follow our intuition back to the main road. There were many intersections for us to guess our route, and guess wrong. Our trail ride had turned into a very cool gravel grinder on roads that varied from very rough gravel with water drainage ditches to hop over to very steep paved roads.

After another 8 miles of gravel grinding we finally made it to the road, much more north than we had expected. So this started our trek back to the parking lot on the main road. We guesstimated a 10 mile ride based on where we popped out on the road, but thankfully it ended up being more like 6-7 miles. The road was rolling without any big climbs which meant we could have some fun since we couldn't actually ride that fast, all being on singlespeeds with our trail gearing. I was quite ready to be done by the time we rolled back to the parking lot. No riding for almost a month and then a 50 mile weekend was catching up.

I really felt great on the ride which was a bit of a surprise after my road ride Saturday. I'm learning more about the new bike and am really really enjoying riding it. Beth and I will continue to be in town for the next couple weekends so I'm hoping to continue to put more miles on the Quiring and get my body ready for the Feb Snake Creek Gap.

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