By JERRY PHELPS
Finally—a Saturday above freezing and no rain in the forecast. That’s what we’ve all been waiting for right? Well nine of us anyway—the number that arrived for the 0700 start of the Lake Loop on Saturday, Jan. 16th. Mike, Branson, Mary, Tom, Maria, John, Gary, Bob, and me.
A little brisk at the start, but the weathermen were promising that the mercury would top out at about 55, making me wonder what I would do with my extra clothes as I was hoping to shed at least a couple of layers.
The 22 miles to Oxford flew by with all of us seeing each other at the control, but at the dam (mile 55) we had become separated.
Tom, Mary and I made it there first, only to see the flag pointed due north (no wonder we’d had such an easy time of it). Branson and Mike soon joined us both riding fixies.
Mike launched a ten mile attack on Boydton, claiming he had no speedo on his bike and didn’t know how fast we were going. As we rolled into town with Mike still on the front, I thought I saw a twinkle in the eye of the Confederate soldier as a native son led us into town.
While dining we kept a close eye out for the others and were informed by some locals that they were on the other side of the courthouse. Gary had a lost a cleat bolt, and couldn’t get his shoe out of the egg beater. After searching high and low, mostly low, and not finding the escaped hardware, he rolled on reciting his mantra for the rest of the day—Unclip on the right, unclip on the right.
Skipwith beckoned and we were there in a hurry, although the slight wind was a little less favorable.
[Editor's note: Kudzu out of Kontrol on the Skipwith Road.]
And then onto Clarksville, but since we’d dined in Boydton there was no need for a stop. The llamas were hanging out in their usual spot—even they looked happy with the warmth. The five of us regrouped in Stovall so Mike could lead us up the “Mountain.” He’s found a new route out of town that avoids some traffic, adds a big hill, but no distance. The hill comes precisely at mile 100 and it’s the biggest hill of the ride without a doubt. It definitely gets your attention, and the dogs at top saw us as easy pickins.
Oxford came into view again and Bob caught us at the control as we were about to pull out. A high speed run with us all taking our turns in the lead brought us to the end of Cannady Mills Road where we spotted this guy. Kinda stiff—but at least he smelled nice.
Had to look twice to made sure I hadn’t been transported into John Irving’s latest novel.
And the final 12 miles back to the firehouse were a real pleasure as we again took turns pulling. Even though the pace seemed brisk all day, our time was just over 10 hours. Must be something to that air density thing Dean blogged about earlier. No frozen sweat in the jacket Saturday—no jacket either.