Thursday, January 31, 2013

Reality Group Loop

What is it about winter that makes a cyclist lazy? It's not even all that cold but I just can't make myself work hard. I'm content to spin up over Sawnee Mountain and all but fall on the pedals all the way up Elmo Road.

I guess there is something to it though. I remember having this same feeling last year. There's something deeply emotionally satisfying about a long easy climb. "I've got this." And hearing the tiny heart drum in your head. I wish I could describe the sense better. Everyone should feel that good sometimes. I want to remember it.

I've probably said it before but I'll say it again, optimistically. "Of all things, I think that will be one of the last I shall forget."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cumming, GA

A week or so ago I fell down some stairs while carrying some boxes. At first I thought I just got my ribs, but it turned out they weren't so bad. The broken blood vessel in my arm though, that was a mess. Cold, pressure and heat resolved the golf-ball sized hematoma the first night, but whenever I'd get my heart rate up it would blow the vein out and the golf ball would come right back.

Ugh. Nothing worse than sitting around nursing an incredibly fragile wound that doesn't hurt.

Finally, today, I felt like I could probably ride without blowing it out again.

I needed a floor pump though. Mine's at my Dad's place. My front tire was flat. Thanks Tim.

I spun a lap around the Reality group ride loop. It was bitter cold. I didn't care. The wind was punishing. I didn't care about that either. I probably didn't exceed 15 mph. Again, I didn't care.

The road is freedom. Tolerance of weather is freedom. Health and fitness are freedom. Being the engine is freedom. It's all I cared about.


I savored it.

May I savor it again soon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jake Mountain

Yesterday we had our monthly work party at Jake Mountain and it was a good one. I think it was 21 degrees when we started but it warmed up quickly.

Debbie and Nancy and Jess took their horses down Jake to the switchbacks to transplant some young pines in an attempt to discourage crosscutting. Cindy and Val drove over to Bull to fix some signage and do some general cleanup.

Me and my kids, Kathleen, Emil and Neal had a couple of jobs to do.

First up, gravel patching.

Where the trails tee into FS 28 and 83, the last 10 feet of trail require regular patching. We have less to do each time, but there's always a little. Maybe 5 years from now it'll be totally solid.

 Gravel Patch

We also restored the drainage at the top.

 Restoring the Drainage

It had been getting filled in and channelling water down onto the gravel. We worked the turnouts all the way up the hill too until the soccer ball approved.

Oh, soccer ball! We love you so.

We had a pretty decent crew. Neal is a certified crew leader with RAMBO, Kathleen, of course knows what she's doing. The kids couldn't take the cold though and their contribution was less material than usual.

Cold children notwithstanding we made quick work of the gravel patching and, with two hours left before lunch, headed over to Beaver Pond to continue the finishing work over there.

For some reason there were a pair of port-a-potties across from 28A. No idea why. Who put them there? The rangers? Everybody but me used them. Iz joked about whether the contents would be frozen or not. This made Sophie run away with her hands over her ears yelling: "Disgusting thoughts! Disgusting thoughts!"

Crazy kids.

We hiked in forever. Like a mile or more. When we got to where we'd left off last time I did some rough deberming, Kathleen and Emil cleaned it up behind be and the kids sort of helped, a little, maybe, sometimes.


 Exposing the Backslope

It was beautiful.

Everybody in the world was up there for one reason or other. A bunch of riders passed us including a group with Terry Palmeri.


Once again, it proved impossible to do anything in the mountains without running into someone I know.

I haven't ridden my mountain bike since the CFiTT. I love trail work but oh, how I long to shred....



The lot was full of mountain bikers and equestrians alike. The campground was packed. There was a line of cars parked at the church. The little turnouts along 28 were full. I even saw the lady with the blue truck and the cute little white dog that hikes up there all the time.

Bull/Jake was the place to be, for everything. As it should be.

Cindy provided her usual glorious lunch spread and we all sat around for an hour eating and talking, mainly about the status of the move to address the parking situation.

While discussing this, we watched a lady drive up pulling a horse trailer, contemplate whether she could get it into the day use lot, decide that she couldn't, continue on and park in the campground.

Ha! Firsthand. It does happen. We seriously need a pull-through horse trailer lot.


It was great to see everybody, great to work with them, great to have Neal and Emil join us. Thanks everyone. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chattahoochee Pointe

The past few weeks have been a lot like the past few weeks of college. Too much work to do in too little time. Too much cramming, too many all-nighters, too little sunlight. It's been raining and raining too. I barely remember what it looks like outside.

I did ride my road bike, like once, and I did go walking around for about an hour a few days back.

 Chattahoochee Pointe Sign

On that road ride, I took a left instead of the right I usually take and found that park up there. The cursory inspection revealed a small trail system and a couple of points of interest. It was just enough to make me want to come back on foot.

It looks like somebody had a farm back there, way back, and then, more recently like the locals used the old farm road to access the river. Its a park now though, along the same lines as Haw Creek and Caney Creek.

There was an old chimney on the way in.

 Chattahoochee Pointe Chimney

The sign at the kiosk made the trail look like a bunch of loops off of other loops. It was sort of like that in real life. There was a main trail, but most of the loops were really just mowed areas around the perimeters of old pastures.

The weather was cool and my hands were freezing but for some reason, fading daylight in winter always gives me a cozy feeling.

 Chattahoochee Pointe Pasture

The whole park was hemmed in by farms and houses and the northern border was fenced off with really old fences.

One old roadbed led down to the river and apparently, some number of floods ago, you used to be able to get into a field or something down there.

 Old Gate at The River

Not any more though.

I recognized the rock formations across the river. Last year or maybe the year before I followed a "trail" up there for a while searching for a route from Settles Bridge to McGinnis Ferry.

 Chattahoochee River

Some dude was hanging out in a hammock near the river too. It was getting dark but he didn't look like he was planning on leaving any time soon.


I meandered around the old pastures. It looked like there had been at least 3 ponds back there at some point too.

 Old Pond

They'd been drained a long time ago though and aside from the old dams were indistinguishable from the surrounding woods.

There were a few more interesting things out there too. Somebody shored up the banks of one of the little feeder creeks.

 Erosion Control Barrier

At the south end of the park there was a canoe launch and what appeared to be more old ponds and the remains of old houses or something. It was getting really dark though and I didn't have time to explore.

Probably the most interesting thing out there was a model air field. I'd hoped to see some planes but no luck. When I was out there on my road bike some folks were flying helicopters around but I guess it was too cold that day.

As the sun went down for real it got cold for real too and my fingers barely worked any more. Every winter I forget to buy a pair of gloves. Maybe I'll remember this time.