Saturday, March 29, 2008

Georgia: Day 5 & 6

Sorry I haven't posted sooner.. I've been too busy crying for the last 12 hours having just returned to Chicago, and sub 40 degree temps... :(

Day 5 was Wednesday. The guys were headed off to do the 6 gaps ride, and I was off to Gainsville to meet up with Eddie and Namrita ride some more trail. Eddie promised a less intense day than the Fools Gold course.

We met up at the Chicopee Woods Park. The plan was to ride the trails until we got bored. Unfortunately about 10 minutes in, Eddie had a mechanical that took his bike out of commission. Namrita and I finished out the short loop while Eddie headed back to the car. He attempted a field repair, but to no avail. Namrita, trooper that she is, offered up her Jaberwocky so that Eddie and I could ride on. A quick parts swap and we were off again. And, yes, guys can ride pink bikes!

The trails were pretty sweet. Nothing terribly technical, lots of up and down. Great riding for my 3rd trail day of the year. Boy do my handling skills need some work. Chicago is making me soft!

We rode for about 2 hours. We swung back to the parking lot, and Namrita was back from her run. Perfect timing. We said our goodbyes, and parted ways.

I can't thank those guys enough for showing us around this week. Without them, I'd have seen a lot less trail time. Thanks again you too. If you're ever in Chicago, drinks are on me!

Day 6

There was no avoiding it. It finally came. We barred the doors, turned up the TV and hid our heads under the covers, but it would not go away. Our last day in Georgia.

Dan and Tim hid their pain by driving back to Kentucky to get another day of riding in with a buddy there. For Scott and I, there was only one thing to do. We'd done just about all we came down to GA to do, except ride to the top of it. Brasstown Bald. The highest point in the state of Georgia.

We parked at the base of the climb, a steep 3 mile climb. We met up with some of Scott's friends from Northwestern. We started of with a ride down and then back up Jack's Gap to warm up. I was behind from the start having to pump up my tires at the last second. At the bottom of Jack's I latched on to a group of 3 that was just behind Scott. We were riding at a real good pace for the 5 mile gradual climb. But with Scott just in sight, I decided to gap up to him. Just as I reached his wheel, a little out of breath, I began to wonder if that was such a great idea with Brasstown looming ahead. We continued on, eventually reaching that hard, steep right turn onto the road up to the top. Ugh!

I'd heard that the beginning was aweful, and if you keep going it gets better... Until you hit "The Wall". Sure enough, after a few minutes of pain, the road leveled out (and by leveled out I mean got slightly less steep). Onfortunately I started the day with arm warmers on, and now I was paying the price. I'd alread pulled them down, but they had to go. I feared if I stopped, though, I might now get started again! I stopped at the best point I could and lost the arm warmers. I pushed mt bike back onto the road and, closing my eyes, pretended it was September and did my best 'cross mount to get as much forward momentum as possible. Surprisingly, I was able to keep up the speed.. for a while.

Eventually (Inevitably?) I was passed by one of the kids in our group. Her name was Michelle? (yeah, yeah... This girl was STRONG!) She didn't exactly fly by, but she was riding with purpose. We eventually came to the base of "The Wall". I think the grade at this point is about 20%. When my speed fell below 4mph, I figured I'd go just as fast on foot, so I hoofed it. I watched Michelle? as she fought tooth and nail to climb that wall. It was inspiring! She pulled out every trick in the book, but she maid it to the top without dismounting. My hat is off to her! While I was off the bike, I grabbed this pic of our destination.

As soon as I crested the wall, I hopped back on and resumed the suffering. One of the Northwestern guys who couldn't ride that day was driving up and down the road shouting encouragement as he went. Much appreciated! If nothing else it was a good distrcaction from the pain! One more pass and they were telling me I was near the top.. SPRINT!! So I sprinted! Ok, by this time my sprinting was pretty relative, but I gave it all I got, and soon was up at the top admiring the view from the top of Georgia!

The Northwestern guys offered us a ride down in their car. Are you kidding me? I only suffer up these climbs so that I can ride down! And the ride down was SCREAMIN' fast. I wish I could've done shuttle runs all day! But alas...

Scott and I decided to call it a day to get a jump on packing and rest up for the long drive home. A good meal, bad nights sleep, and 12 hour drive later, we arrived back in Chi-town.

It was a great trip. I had a great time hanging out with Dan, Tim, and Scott! Got some great riding in, including finally getting some good dirt miles in! I can't thank Scott enough for sharing his time share with us! I can't wait to do it again next year!


Blogger Namrita O'Dea said...

glad you had fun, and got to ride brasstown. it was great to meet you, not sure we will see you in the windy city..but defintely at 24-9 this summer!! we can eat cheese curds and drink beer ;)

30/3/08 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Paolo said...

Nice - Chicago doesn't make you soft - whining makes you soft.


You'll be just fine Soupy - just you wait til the trails dry up - Ft. Custer, Kettle, Blue Mound, Palos - it'll all be your super duper non soft ass making summer.

30/3/08 8:47 PM  
Blogger Soupy said...

Namrita - It's a deal!

Paolo - OK, no more whining, but the trails better be ready to ride SOON!

30/3/08 11:18 PM  

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