Day 3 dawned, and as I looked at myself in the mirror, I confirmed that I was making the right decision. I ate breakfast, drank some more crappy hotel coffee, and got dressed and loaded. But, I couldn't do it. I couldn't throw in the towel just yet. I called the wife back and set a cut off time with her so that we could touch base in a couple of hours and reassess. By the time that cut off rolled around, I was still cold, and not having a great time, but I decided to go for it and attempt to make it to Asheville.
3 hours later I arrived at Christa's in Pineola. This awesome little deli on 181 and the Parkway is a must. The pulled pork was tempting but I went for a bacon, egg and cheese with tomato on a homemade yeast roll. The ladies tempted me with coconut cake, but I don't ride well when stuffed, so I passed.
I mailed a post card to the kid and headed out. Instead of attempting the parkway, I took 181 to 183 to 221 all the way to Marion. As I dropped down into the valley, I was greeted by warmer temps and sunshine. My body started to warm and my spirits lifted. Only 50 miles to go. Once into the valley, I stopped and shed my layers down to knee warmers, arm warmers and short sleeve jersey. I swapped the insulated gloves for some lightweight gloves and took of the toe warmers and toe covers. Then I cruised. It was not all easy the rest of the way, and I was definitely beat, but I knew that I had stood up to the challenge and succeeded.
It was my first long ride on the Siren John Henry and I am pleased with the piece of art that I get to ride. The steel frame provided a smooth and stable ride, and I will soon need to go for a Wobblenaught fit to perfect the comfort level! I swapped the fat tires out for a set of 700c x 35 semi slicks and they worked well. The night before leaving, I considered taking the Foundry road bike but did not want to risk the slick tires on snowy/icy conditions. That turned out to be a good choice.
Leaving the camping gear behind was a good choice too. It was great to be able to eat well and rest well, not having to deal with trying to stay warm for 12 hrs of darkness.
I look forward to the next trip, but will be spending my time until then, cherishing the here and now, loving my family and growing with them.