Monday, October 12, 2015


A few weeks ago I went with Kathryn for a short ride on the Silver Comet to test my ribs out, and they seemed to be more-or-less up to a short bike ride. I figured in a week or so they'd be up to something longer.

On that same ride, as we were heading out, we passed Billy riding the other way. He didn't seem to recognize us though, so I called him. Our conversation was something like:

"Yo... Dave-alicious, what's up?"

"What are you doing right now?"

"I'm actually on the bike right now."

"I know! We just passed you!"

"Aw, no way! Well, I'll spin back and see you guys in a second.

And he did, and we rode back together, and he invited me on a ride that he and some buddies of his were going to do out to Rockmart, on the 3rd. That sounded like a great idea. My ribs felt fragile at the time, but I was sure that by the 3rd they'd be feeling pretty solid.

Indeed they were, but on the night of the 2nd, it rained, all night, the forecast showed a 60% chance for the rest of the day, and on the morning of the 3rd everybody cancelled and pushed the ride to the next day. Ironically, it stopped raining at about 8AM, dried up, and never rained again all day.

That night though, it rained again, all night. The next morning it was still sprinkling...


...but the weather forecast called for somewhere between a 15 and 25% chance of rain for the rest of the day, so Billy and I showed up. The other guys knew better.

The Army gets more done by 9AM than most people do all day, and they were out getting something done that morning.

Army Reservists

They appeared to be reservists, doing a training run or something. There were dozens of them, and the last few were finishing up when I got there. Some of them were off at the other end of the lot doing push up and sit ups. Others were driving home. Done before 9AM. Just like that old commercial said.

Billy met me right at 9 and we got going quickly.

Conditions were miserable, by any reasonable standard.

Rainy Comet

We were dressed appropriately though - arm and knee warmers and a rain shell. I was soaked to the bone, but at least I wasn't cold. The most uncomfortable things were actually my eyes. The goggles do nothing and I had to ride without them. The wind does something though, to my eyes. I don't think I'd ever ridden that far, on the road, without glasses. It gets uncomfortable after a while.

We passed way more people than I expected to for the conditions. Mostly joggers, but several serious-looking riders too.

The Brushy Mountain Tunnel looked inviting.

Rainy Brushy Mountain Tunnel

I fantasized about stopping inside, curling up in one of those little notches built into the walls, and getting a little fire going.

Aside from that, I don't remember all that much about the ride out. Billy almost ate it twice because he couldn't tell where the edge of the trail was, but he saved it both times. Other than that though, it was pretty uneventful.

Pulling into Rockmart, I expected to see a bike-themed sculpture that Ed Baltes made, years ago. I'd seen photos of it being installed somewhere along the trail, way back. It was either long gone though, or just further down. Either way, it made me a little sad because I was hoping to get a good look at it.

The rain let up slightly as we rolled into the square, but it never stopped entirely.

Rainy Rockmart

The last time I'd done that ride, I ate lunch at Frankie's. Frankie's appeared to be closed though.

Frankies Is Closed

Billy knew Rockmart pretty well from having worked there for a few years, and told me a bit about the history of the place as we investigated other lunch options. Goodyear apparently built a tire plant there at some point. The plant was gone, but the houses that the workers lived in were still there, and that part of town was still called The Goodyear Village. We rolled through the Goodyear Village to Pizza Depot, which was also closed. Not permanently, but sufficiently as to prohibit us having lunch there.

The Rock Cafe (and Ice Cream Shop) was open though, and its bike-themed accoutrement made me suspect that we might be welcome, despite the likelyhood of our tracking water all over, inside.

We were. And, sadly, we did.

But we also had some delicious pizza.

The Rock Cafe

Mmmm, hmmmm. Delicious pizza.

I got cold sitting there though. It's always a toss-up: take off the wet layers, dry off, and warm up, or keep the wet layers on because those fabrics do provide a good bit of insulation, you're not going to dry off, and you'll just get colder if you take them off? Which route to go depends on so many subtle factors, and I usually have to try both to figure out which is correct. Turned out, taking them off was the right way to go, but I never really got satisfyingly warm. I have yet to discover the secret to "stopping for lunch" in cold conditions without getting so much more uncomfortably cold as to make the experience overall dissatisfying. It's different if there's a fire to warm up by, or a heater going full-on, or something. But we had neither of those. It was just in the low 70's inside, slightly warmer than outside. Something like that always seems to be the case when I want to stop somewhere too. There's always some bit of shelter, but it's never the glorious ski-lodge conditions that I want it to be.

That said... Hurricane Joaquin was on the TV, devastating Colombia, South Carolina with floods. Watching the coverage made me feel guilty about being uncomfortable in the comparatively mild conditions we'd had all morning. I mean, it was bad. Bridges were getting knocked out. Homes were getting damaged and destroyed. The people there really had it rough. We'd had it easy with our delicious warm lunch and "should I take my damp clothes off" dilemma.


The ride back was about like the ride out. Kind-of long. Uneventful. More people out than I expected. Rainy. Not all that bad though, overall.

Rainy Return Journey

My knees were getting pretty tired. That "why are you making me do this after letting me sit around idle for weeks" pain was setting in. I don't think we made as good time on the way back as we had on the way out.

We enjoyed it though. Aside from my tail light getting water logged, shorting out (which turned it on), becoming impossible to turn off, and wearing out the battery, all went well. I did have to wash my bike the next day. And now that I think about it, my clothes had collected so much dirt and grit that the mattress cover we ended up washing with them had to be dried, shaken out, and washed again. So, there was that too.

My ribs were good. As I'd noticed hiking with the girls the week before though, the muscles in my back were super stiff and tired. Way more than usual after a ride like that.

It seemed I wasn't all better yet, but definitely getting there.

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