Tuesday, March 09, 2010

When life gives you lemons, do as the Roman's do.

Is winter over yet? After this past weekend it sure looks like it's on it's way out. We just had the most gorgeous weather for 3 full days in a row! I'm not talking like a sunny winter day, but a full on 65 degree, full sun, day where it was impossible not to stay outside. So... when the email comes to go on an overnight mountain biking trip to LBL, what do you do? Prep the bike, pack the car and kiss wife goodbye! To say this trip was exactly what I needed is a huge understatement. I've been so cooped up this winter with projects, work, and 20 degree weather that I hadn't put more than 60 miles on any of my bikes since Jan 1.

Leaving Nashville never felt so good
So Thad rolled up to my house with JD the lead trail dog, and a 13 yr old Mad Max co-pilot and the caravan left for the hills of Kentucky, only an hour behind schedule, not bad. We met up with Parker up at Land Between the Lakes and immediately changed into riding clothes, got the dog ready and hit the road to the trail entrance. We were on the bikes less than 20 min after we arrived, dodging trees and trying our best to keep up with the hammer JD as he lead us through the North South Trail. Thad is training JD to be a great trail running dog so he was hoping to test his stamina and get him more accustomed to riding next to more cyclists.

"When are you guys going to be ready to ride?"
JD did awesome! We rode an out and back 17 mile route and he didn't flench and kept a great pace for the couch surfers like myself who hadn't been out on a bike in a while. We dropped him off back at camp and headed back into the trail to get some more miles in, this time heading the opposite direction as before, towards the North Welcome station. We rode the 5 miles or so to the parking lot and I was starting to really feel it. Thad and Parker wanted to do the Canal loop so there was not way I'd make it around so Mad Max and I turned around and headed back to camp. We got a respectable 25 or so miles in and had fun walking JD around the camp site and antagonized the local marsupial while we waited for the other J5Marsupial and Parker to get back.

Thad specifically asked for the marsupial campsite

We were all feeling great after the ride but hungry as all get out so a trip to Miss Scarlet's was in order. This place never disappoints. I went for the sirloin tips and a potato this time and it was great. Parker didn't know what he was getting into with his catfish and barely finished 1 of the two huge pieces of fish. Parker had to get on the road back to Nashville so we parted ways and went back to the camp to get a fire going and settle in.

Our fire making skills were all a bit rusty as we had to stop, knock it down and start all over again to get it started. To our credit no lighter fluid of any type was used. We'd all talked about doing a night ride and all brought our lights. I purposefully skipped the Canal Loop hoping to save my legs for a night ride but when the time came, I was still feeling pretty beat. Max had never experienced riding in the woods at night so Thad took him out for a spooky 8 mile jaunt. "Be back in an hour" He said. An hour and half later they roll up, all grins with tales of attempting to recreate the Blair Witch Project and gooey, nasty tubeless tire flats.

During this time I got to sit and relax in the camp, alone but for JD, the campfire and a bit of rye whiskey. It was heaven.... until there was rustling in the woods nearby. Gotta say, it's a bit creapy being alone in a campsite at night, even with an enormous dog. JD didn't even react to one of the noises I heard... did it really happen? who knows. :) It was a nice relaxing time to myself though. We called it a night relatively early and bundled up for the cold night.

Thad treated us to a great breakfast of coffee, oatmeal and toasted english muffins with peanut butter and honey. YUM! Max masterfully made a fire in no time flat show both Thad and I up all the while joking that no, he wasn't an eagle scout, he'd quit after cup scouts. After stuffing ourselves we suited back up for another trail ride with JD, retracing our first ride the day before. This time JD apparently found some inspiration and would not allow us to ride at a reasonable pace. He ran off the front the entire time, as Thad chased him down and Max and I just held on at any pace we could. This stretch of the North South trail has few hills and has a lot of great flow. We put in another 14 miles without really working that hard.

mmm coffee on the fire

JD doing Old English Impersonation

Off the couch on my first rides in the woods since last year and we ended up with 38 miles or so in two days. It was awesome. Exactly the R&R I needed and I'm already thinking about the next one.

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