Friday, February 8, 2013

All's Well That Ends

I heard that somewhere. I don't remember where or who said it. And it's not missing another "Well" on the end, that's the entire quote. I've thought long and hard about it over the years and I guess it really means two things. Nothing should last forever, but also that independent of the manner in which something ended, the thing itself was worthwhile. I'm not sure which the original author meant. Maybe both. Maybe I missed the point altogether. That's what it means to me though and I've been keeping it in mind for as long as I can remember.

I've been many things: a skateboarder, a freestyle bike rider, a guitarist, a student, a Texan, a Louisianan and probably other things that don't come right to mind. At the time, I thought of myself as being those things. They were who I was, not just what I did or where I lived, but now they're just old chapters in a big dusty book, each with it's own end, each worthwhile.

More recently I've been a Georgian, husband, father, computer nerd, general outdoor adventurer and volunteer. I'm not sure how many of those things I'll be in a year but I think it's safe to say fewer. That dusty old book will probably be a few chapters longer.

However it goes, for the time being, adventure is no longer imminent.

I don't think I'll have much to write about for a while.

On the upside, with all this journalling, I'll be able to live vicariously through my former self. My teachers always told me to keep a journal growing up. I'm glad they did. I guess this is why.

Maybe someday Dave 2.0 will have something to write about, or maybe slightly refactored Dave 1.1 will. For now though, all's well that ends.

The End.

Silver Comet

Well, I'm hanging out in Cobb County these days and I might be for a while, so this past Sunday I figured I'd hit the Silver Comet. Might as well, it's right here. I've long wanted to ride it all the way to Anniston, stay the night and ride back. I didn't have time for that, but I figured I'd at least try to get in 6 hours or so.

Not 5 minutes into the ride I jumped in with some guys heading west as well and we flew through Cobb and Paulding Counties.


They were training for a triathlon or something and turned around near the Tara Drummond lot. I still had a long way to go though. Paulding Forest is a lonely stretch on your own. I was passed by the occasional random rider in the other direction but I don't think I saw anyone heading west at all.

Through Paulding Forest, the old railbed cuts deep into the surrounding rock and between the perpetual shade and general ability of rock to suck every last degree of warmth out of the air, it was a might chilly for a while.

I passed through the Brushy Mountain Tunnel...

 Brushy Mountain Tunnel

...and into Polk County. From there it wasn't far to Rockmart where the trail diverges back and forth from the original railbed. Entering the city proper, it dives down and runs along a beautiful little creek.

 Some Creek in Rockmart

But it also floods sometimes and with all the ran we'd been having, there was a ton of mud under one of the bridges. I guess it was appropriate though, as the Cyclocross Worlds had been going on that same day. Yay, I got some cross in.

In Rockmart, I figured I'd headed west long enough and I milled around the little square. There was an impressive Armed Forced Memorial.

 Armed Forces Memorial

There was also some gnarly old building that Kathryn would love.

 Old Building of Some Kind

Some day soon a sculpture from Ed Baltes, a former team mate of mine from the Bicycle Outfitters days, will grace that same square, right by the trail. Maybe I'll get to take a picture of it too.

In the distance, some flashing letters caught my attention. O... P... E... N... Open! Somebody's open. A restaurant! An Italian Restaurant!

I was a little hungry. All right!


Frankie's is great. If you ride out to Rockmart, you should eat there before riding back. I had a 10 inch pizza and it was delicious. There's also a big painting of the trail at the Brushy Mountain tunnel on the wall, BRAG jerseys hanging everywhere, hundreds of photos of recreational cyclists who'd apparently stopped in for a bite, just like me, and thousands, literally thousands of signatures of cyclists who'd come through at one point or another. Frankie herself sat down and chatted me up for a few minutes about a ride they have going on in March 23rd. "More Butts on Bikes" I think. It's $6 and you get food, beer and an organized ride to the Alabama border and back, or something like that. Sounds fun.

I kind of wanted to sit there all day but I had a long way to go and eventually I made my way out.

On the way back I got a little more cross in.


The trail was desolate through Paulding County again. I mean, I literally didn't see a single rider until I was within a few miles of Cobb. Somewhere soon after I started seeing people again I jumped in with two guys heading east. They didn't seem to understand the concept of drafting but also didn't seem to mind if I did.

I eventually made it home and sat around for the rest of the evening watching the Superbowl with my folks. Great game. Great day. Who'd have thought the Silver Comet would have been so much fun?

Jones Creek Ridge

Last Saturday was the monthly Bull/Jake work party and this time, oddly enough, we got to work on the Bull Mountain side. Jones Creek Ridge to be exact.

It seems like an eternity ago now that the Jake trails were realigned, rerouted and generally re-awesomed. Bull proper got some attention last year but sadly I've only ridden it once or twice since then. Jones Creek and the general Booger Holler area are next on the list. Taylor, Isabel and I flagged the reroutes last year but the plan is to still use a good bit of the existing trail. This past Saturday while Debbie was out flagging some small realignments, I took a crew up to Jones Creek to slang some actual dirt around.

For whatever reason, I ended up with a tireless, highly capable and relatively experienced crew. We did heavy deberming, cleaned out a dozen old turnouts and established several new ones in problem spots.

 Work on Jones Creek  More Work on Jones Creek  Even More Work on Jones Creek  Still More Work on Jones Creek

I was shocked how much work we got done. I kept having to run up the trail to rough out new spots. The crew just kept catching up to me. It was amazing!

There was this one guy from the Bent Tree Saddle Club named Bobby DeLay, I think. He was great. He had this long, white beard and he must have been in his 60's at least, but he probably did the work of 3 younger men. I watched him. He didn't seem to be working harder, he just did it really efficiently. It was like he did more, but smaller shovel-fulls or something. I wish I could have watched him longer to get a good idea of the differences between how he worked and how I did. It would have been a valuable lesson.

There's a big food plot and a road leading up to it from FS77. We worked from that road south to within an 8th of a mile of the reroute, and that entire 8th of a mile is really flat and didn't need any specific improvement. I wish I could take that same crew to Jake proper and Beaver Pond, we'd probably finish them up in 3 days.

At around 12:30 we knocked off and started hiking out and at an intersection I noticed an odd side effect of the prescribed burns they do up that way. One of the trees we'd nailed markers into was totally burned up and the markers were warped and twisted.

 Prescribed Burn

Ha! Wild.

Back at the trailhead, lunch was served.


The weather had been great all morning; sunny and not terribly cold. Many of us had remarked about what a nice day it would have been to ride. We hadn't seen anyone riding but we did see a lady walking 4 dogs and when I got back to the lot, I ran into the same lady with her small dog that I've seen hiking up there 3 or 4 times before. So, indeed, it had been a nice day to get out in the woods. Unfortunately all of that was about to change.

Clouds moved in first, then the temperature dropped precipitously. At first I thought I was just getting cold from standing around, but no, it was just getting COLD. Then it started snowing. A little at first, but then eventually big fat flakes that stuck to the gravel in the lot. We were all enjoying it but I was in my mom's truck, had to go back through Ellijay and I figured I'd better get home before the roads got bad.

Unfortunately I didn't quite make it out in time.

 Snow on 52

Not far west of that the roads had become icy and there was a long traffic jam on a steep hill. I expected to make it through but the car ahead of me started sliding and stayed on the road more as a result of good fortune than of skill on the part of the driver. In the other direction people were driving too slowly and losing traction over and over. No one got hurt but the whole situation was sketchy. I parked on a flat spot, jumped out and tried to dig up leaves to cover the road with but there was nothing under the snow but dirt. It was time to turn around.

It took forever but I made it home by going the other way. It hadn't even rained at my place, much less snowed, but later in the day, it poured. Ha ha! We got our work done just in time.

Man, I love a good work day.

Oh, Bull and Jake Mountain, may your trails some day stand, a glorious monument to cooperation and to the trail building technology of the late 2000's. Long may you live.

Long may you live.