I got to the parking lot, parked and got out of the truck. I started shivering, a little bit. I had flashbacks of Wednesday's way too cold ride. Nolan and Greg pulled up soon after and we were ready to roll. I was thankful to have the company on my first mtn bike ride since.....November 8th. That is a long time to be off the mtn bike!
I was pleasantly surprised when Nolan and Greg showed up on time and were ready to go shortly after. I come to ride, and when I'm done, I go home to see my family, that's how I roll.
I met Greg at a trail work day and got his phone number. Earlier Thursday I sent him a text that told him the time and location to meet. Since I'm not a stellar texter, I didn't give him my name, assuming he would know. He didn't know, but showed up anyway!!
We rolled out of the parking lot after discussing the best route due to there still being lots of snow and ice. We headed up Rice Pinnacle rd, to Wolf Branch, up to the road where we stopped momentarily. The choice was up the road or up Ingles Field, they let me choose.....up Ingles Field.
We headed up and they commented that I was looking good for just getting back on the bike. I was feeling good too. This was my 12th ride this year, and the 12th since surgery weeks ago. I was feeling, not 100%, but pretty good. In fact, my legs have felt good all week, for that I am happy.
We kept a steady pace up to 5 points, and took a left on Hickory Top. Greg warned us that there were some icy spots farther on down. They sent me in the lead, saying that they would go slow because they had rigid forks, lame excuse to send a friend to find the ice patches! Don't think I didn't know your plan. Next time I'm going to bring some excuses of my own!!
At the road, we flew down, gliding over the ice like skaters, and convened at the intersection of Sidehill. Instead of climbing Sidehill, which I usually do, we headed over to Explorer Loop. I was glad for that because my legs were feeling a bit fatigued.
As we rode along, I thought about how great it was to be outside, to be alive, to see the darkness and ride through the sleeping frozen forest. I thought about bikes and what a cool invention they are. I pondered racing this year and took a deep breathe thinking about my more laid back approach, and reminding myself to enjoy the scenery. I envisioned myself at the Cohutta 100 tooling along, at a steady pace, sweat running down my face, eating and drinking sufficiently. I envisioned myself, possibly, maybe riding parts of the Cohutta with a group, rather than trying to rip the legs off of everyone around me.
We took Explorer Loop, to Pine Tree to the lake and then the road back around the lake. We talked about riding on the lake but opted not to. (I think Greg and Nolan said something about rigid forks again, but I can't remember).
We got back to the parking after 1h45min of riding. The longest ride of the year, and many more, longer rides to come!!!!
Have a great day.