Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weekly Beatdown and Mulberry Gap

I felt super good on the commute today. Good enough to jump in with the A group, which for some reason, took it really easy. We barely averaged 20 mph. There were some attacks, but we rolled lazily up Elmo and even more lazily over Sawnee. It was a nice ride, but not without it's own penalty. The A group rolls out last, does a longer route, and with the added slowness, got back too late to ride home. I had to call Kathryn to pick me up. She was more than happy though, rather than have me ride home on those roads, in the dark.

I sat on the curb and waited. Upon sitting, a bunch of good teenage skateboarding memories found their way to the surface... sitting on a curb, tired and thirsty, at the end of the day, in cool weather, with the sky not quite dark, hearing the sound of distant traffic, and the street lights just came on.

This may not be your idea of solitude and beauty, but it's definitely one of mine:


In real life, the street lights didn't pop so hard.

Post ride, and post shower, I headed up to Mulberry Gap. I'd been watching the last riders on the tracker, and expected to be able to pick them up from the border, but they beat my prediction by over an hour. Rob picked up Karlos himself and Mulberry had already sent a car to get Jeff and Ruth. But, still, I wanted to see them off, and uncover the mystery of Ruth's super-spotty Spot reception. I drove up, rolled through the property, but all the lights were off, so I parked out front, set the alarm in my phone for an hour and dozed off. Just as I woke up, Ginny had driven down to see who the heck was parked out front of their property. I think she was happy to find it was just me. Andrew arrived 10 minutes later with Ruth and Jeff.

 Ruth and Jeff

Jeff came in last and still crushed my finish time. EVERY finisher beat my time. Hard core. Ruth's Spot barely worked the entire time. It showed her in Ellijay for half the time, then started working well, briefly, then updated once again, and that was it. She wasn't in the car when Matt told us about needing to use Energizer Lithium Ultimates, so my theory was that it had inferior batteries in it, possibly alkalines. We opened it up and took a look. It says "Lithium Batteries Only" on the inside, and she had, in fact, put lithium batteries in it. However, they were Energizer Advanced Lithium's, not Energizer Ultimate Lithium's and apparently the tree canopy of North Georgia requires the ultimate in lithium battery technology. Mere "advanced" technology doesn't cut through. Glad we solved that mystery. Good to know for next year.

I didn't keep them up for too long, just long enough to say hi, figure out that mystery and talk a little about the ride. On the drive back home, before I got out of the woods, I saw some unidentifiable animal cross the road in front of me. It bounded, kind of like a deer, but it had shorter legs than a deer for it's length and was the only size of a large dog. I couldn't get close enough to tell what it was before it was gone. Could have been anything. The rest of the drive was uneventful. Yay, the TNGA's in the bag. All that's left is publishing the official times.

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