Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sewanee Snow

Got an email on Monday from Kevin "the Freak" Freeman recruiting me for a little mid-week mountain bike ride. He suggested some trails I hadn't ridden and he further enticed me by dropping the word "single" followed immediately by "speed." Now, I've had a lot of racing success this season coming into the weekends rested and initially I didn't think that a mid-week 3 hour mountain bike ride was exactly what my final 'cross weekend needed, but I'm not some livin'-for-the-race-weekend wanker, so I re-arranged my schedule and committed to showing up at the Blue Chair coffee house in Suwannee at 8:30 this morning. Last night, after a perfect steak dinner with my perfect wife, I went to the trouble of doing the math and realized I'd have to leave at 6:50, meaning I'd have to get up at 6. Fortunately, in addition to not being a wanker of any type, I'm a morning person and WPLN 1430 AM comes in clear almost all the way to Suwanee, which was especially nice this morning after. NPR had cut up the inaugural address into little soundbytes that made me tear up all over again.

Today was a true blue-bird day, and as soon as I started gaining elevation, I noticed snow on the ground. By the time I got to Sewanee there was nearly an inch of white fluff that effectively took the edges off everything. It reminded me of those trips up to the mountain back in my ski-bum days. I was a little skeptical, as I pulled into the coffee shop parking lot, I wasn't sure what condition the trail would be in. Freeman had arranged to ride with a local, and not just any local, but Woody from Woody's Bicycles. Woody, it turns out, is the man. Single speed, 29er, bike shop... He didn't seem phased by the conditions and Freeman seemed fired up as always.

The ride starts right from the shop and the first half mile or so it was just the three of us, slipping silently through the snow on the sidewalk. Between single speeds, large tires and snowcover, there was hardly a sound. With little warning we left the road and hit the trail. Everything was covered in a little less than an inch of dry snow and no one else had ridden it since the snow had fallen. I immediately started to warm up and settle into the comfortable pace. The snow made for great conditions without any distractions as all the terrain looked the same. No way to distinguish between rock, dirt and leaf, all was white. We kept a leisurely pace, which was a nice change for me. I usually find it hard to restrain myself but it was such a beautiful day and the company was so good, I just pedaled and smiled and tried not to push too hard on the pedals.

Forgot the camera again. Fortunately we stopped for a lot of pictures and Kevin shot these over to me while I was eating dinner with the family tonight. At one point he did a ride-by shot, seen here to the left. He also showed up with a used Felt X1 that I'm probably going to get. I need a geared bike for riding the road and this was at the top of my list for a geared cross bike before I realized how fast a single speed was. The hard part will be finding the money, but more than that, I'm worried that I might start using it to race the CX3 race instead of my SS and that's not what I want...

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