Thursday, January 14, 2010

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN OR ON THE ROAD AGAIN…

Take your pick of either of these well known songs. Gene Autry blessed us with the following lyrics:

Whoopi-ty-aye-oh
Rockin' to and fro
Back in the saddle again
Whoopi-ty-aye-yay
I go my way
Back in the saddle again

 

…and Willie celebrated with:

And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again

 

Either one you pick pretty well sums up how I was feeling yesterday after getting back on my skinny tired Fuji. The anticipated warm-up got here just enough to overcome any temporary mood disorder I was suffering and I literally found myself “back on the saddle again” as I headed home from work yesterday.

I looked forward all day to getting back out on 2 wheels. The skies were partly cloudy but mostly sunny and the temps were climbing above freezing as I walked to the cafe for lunch. I ate like I was going to get to ride later and enjoyed every minute of it.

Finally, the appointed time arrived. I’m lucky enough to get to set my own schedule within reason so I headed out a little early because we’re still dealing with short days even though they are getting longer as each day passes. This was my first opportunity to try out my Pearl Izumi AmFib shoe covers. Along with my SmartWool socks, I had a feeling my feet would stay toasty warm.

In fact, as I started out the temps had settled at 42 degrees and I warmed up very quickly breaking a sweat about mile 4. In the past few days, my “best half” and I had driven a small two lane road that was near my normal route home. It had looked interesting as a cycling route so I decided to take it on the way home. After making my usual trip to the NC 209/Hospital Hill intersection, I climbed up Paragon Parkway and rode to the junction with Jones Cove Road.

It was here that I picked up Lee Road and had a delightful short ride of about a mile over to the Pigeon River just outside of Clyde. There was virtually no traffic on the road. It had two small climbs that warmed me up nicely and then a slightly longer descent to river grade. I felt the coolness of the brisk air on the descent but quickly warmed back up as I pedaled into Clyde. I enjoyed seeing the remaining snow banks in the yards and noting the icicles clinging to vines near the river.

I had to make a decision whether to take a 4 mile or so longer more picturesque route home or join back up with Business 19 into Canton. The picturesque ride would have been nice and it would have included a substantial climb near the end but I realized the sun was dropping and I didn’t particularly want to be out on these two lane, still icy roads after dark. I chose the quicker, more heavily travelled route to Canton.

Radio Hill climbing into Canton is almost always in the shade this time of the year and the temperatures drop substantially. Fortunately, I was still climbing so my body heat was being maintained nicely. The drop into Canton however cooled me down pretty quickly and I began to feel the cold seeping into my hands. My feet though were still toasty warm.

The sun dropped below the mountains as I was making the 5 mile run to the intersection of NC 110 and US 276 where I would turn west for the final 2 mile ride home. I was beginning to think it might be a good idea to stop and pull on my silk gloves under my Pearl Izumi winter weight gloves. Before I could make a decision to stop, I had made the final turn home and realized my hands were just cold – not freezing. I decided to ride on amongst the heavier traffic of the folks getting home.

Just as I approached the Bethel Baptist Church, I noticed a vehicle that looked amazingly like my “best half’s” Escape. Sure enough, it was her. Rather than waiting on me at the bottom of our gravel road that climbs to our house on the mountain, she had ridden down a mile to see if I might like to finish up in the vehicle. Given that the sun was now set, the temperature had dropped to 37,  and it was getting dark, it seemed like a fine idea to me. I loaded up and rode on home thoroughly enjoying the warmth of the heated seat! (I know, I know – disgusting isn’t it…)

I’ll have to give the Pearl Izumi AmFib shoe covers a grade of “A” as my toes maintained constant “warm” contact with my brain throughout. I was dressed almost perfectly for the ride yesterday. I was perhaps a little warm initially with the balaclava and just a touch cool on the hands near the end. Otherwise, I was dialed in for the ride.

I know I was one happy dude as I climbed the stairs to bed last night. The heavy legs served only to remind me that I had been “on the road again.” Thanks Willie and Gene for the inspiration!

Until later,

- Zeke

 

**Willie Nelson - On The Road Again lyrics are the property and copyright of their owners.

**Gene Autry – Back in the Saddle Again lyrics are the property and copyright of their owners.
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