Monday, February 18, 2008
Siler City Express / Feb. 16, 2008
I've been waiting for my buddy Jerry to post about this ride. I guess he's too tired from pulling my ass around on Saturday. So I'll take over from the back.
Here's what happened. Me, Jerry and JD did a leisurely cruise from Siler City to the turnaround in the heart of the Uwharries. It was a day that beat expectations on the weather front. What was supposed to be temps in the mid 30s was actually closer to the mid 40s -- and it kept getting warmer until finally I was riding without a wind vest and without the long-fingered gloves.
Man! Life was good. We were the stuff. After we talked through every twist and turn of PBP, Jerry told us a great story about his first 10-speed. How he'd borrowed his dad's bike to run down to the grocery store for his mom. He was home so quick, his dad couldn't believe it and insisted on clocking him later that day in the car. In the next couple of weeks, Jerry's own bike showed up, a very early birthday present.
JD told about coming of age as a cyclist at the age of 13 on a tour of Holland, Belgium and Germany with his aunt. I think that's when the travel bug bit him. He also told us about the clash of egos in the thin air of 8,000-meter mountain climbing, and of the tea houses of Tibet. And of drinking vodka and Red Bull out of a monstrous trophy. And his morning question from the early morning formations of his Army days: "Staff sergeant, how do they get the cream in the Twinkies?"
Friends, the fun dried up on the return trip through the steep hills of the Uwharries. We had the wind in our teeth, the temperatures were up and my legs turned to stone. Jerry kept up his pace and rode off the front. Me and JD got a refresher course in lowland hypoxia. The world was doing the whirlygig by the time I climbed the last long grade to the Seagrove control. Thankfully, JD did one of the best stalls I've ever seen. He bought about 10 different kinds of snack foods, and took his sweet time diving into each one. It gave me the break I needed.
We put Jerry on the front of the wagon train for the 33 miles back to the barn and finished up at 4:30 or so, for a 9:30 total time. Thanks, Jerry, we owe ya.
JD said it best at the finish: "I always forget how hard that section is."
Another fun and exhausting day on the bikes. Speaking of bikes, I forgot to mention that JD was on his Landshark single speed. The color scheme he requested: "Inner Earth to Outer Earth." Check it out.