Saturday, June 26, 2010

A RIDE WITH A GATOR…

Rides/Tours I am following:

 

Riding with a Gator…

I’ve never ridden with a Gator before today. It was a very pleasurable experience! This particular Gator is coming off of a significant bike injury that required surgery, which was then followed up with a blood clot. No fun! Everyone knows Gator skin is tough and this particular Gator is no exception!

Gator John Bryan (Gator John Bryan following our spin up to Sunburst!)

Yep, John is a University of Florida Gator and has sent two of his children to that esteemed institution of higher learning. John and his spouse are here enjoying a couple of weeks at their home in the Bethel Community. We’ve corresponded via email from time to time through this blog and have agreed in the past to get together for a ride when John was in the area. Unfortunately, his bike accident resulting in injury requiring surgery slowed that ride opportunity down. John has jumped back on his back after getting physician clearance and has been putting on some miles at home.

Today was our day to connect. We met at Bethel Middle School and spun our way up to Sunburst, which is a NC Forest campground/picnic area about 8 or 9 miles up the Pigeon River from Bethel Grocery Store.  After some initial greetings and getting acquainted, we started up the mostly river grade road running along the West Fork of the Pigeon. Road traffic was heavier than usual today but everyone had apparently taken a “nice pill” as folks waiting patiently behind us until safe to pass and then waved as they went by us. We crossed the West Fork twice before getting to the bottom of the only real climb we would face today.

Just past the Lake Logan Volunteer Fired Department, the road takes a significant increase in grade as you climb above Lake Logan. The climb can be deceiving because just as you think you’re through, you come upon a little reprieve in grade only to find that the grade increases again to the top of the climb. John’s Garmin was reporting a 13% grade and my VDO-Z1 showed 11%. Somewhere between the two is actual grade we were climbing.

Following a very pleasant, cool descent under heavy pine canopy, we come out of a right hand turn and cross over the bridge at the upper end of Lake Logan. A big peal of thunder occurred just as we hit this straight stretch and you could see the day’s late afternoon thunderstorm beginning to roll in over the mountain. It didn’t look like imminent rain though so we kept the cranks moving.

We passed a number of folks enjoying some swimming in the watering holes of the Pigeon and went by an open house for today’s Family Farm Tour sponsored by the Bethel Community Action Group. I recognized George Ivey, a friend, fellow Rotarian, and serious cyclist, sitting on the porch. George is also a published author in addition to his other many talents.

We made our way to Sunburst and pulled into the picnic area just as the first rain drops began to fall. We didn’t tarry long as neither of us wanted to get caught in a thunderstorm without jackets. The rain turned out to be just enough to be cool and pleasant. We had run out of it by the time we reached Lake Logan on the return loop.

From there, we had one more climb and then pleasant pedaling back to Bethel Middle School and sunshine. This was a very pleasant interlude in a hot day and I’ll look forward to riding with this Gator again!

The Tour Divide

Mountain Turtle LogoKent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson had a mechanical that has brought his participation in the 2010 edition of the Great Divide Ride to a halt. The freehub on his Monocog bit the dirt and being in the Great Basin moving at bike/hiking speed isn’t a good plan. Kent had supplies to last at biking pace but not walking pace so he has made the correct decision and withdrawn. I would imagine he is hastening somewhat more swiftly back to the arms of the lovely Christine! It was an outstanding effort that included one heck of a prologue just to get to the start. Thanks Kent for supplying us all with some great inspiration! I know that there will be stories to come with lots of images! Enjoy your embrace with Christine, recharge the batteries, and then give us some great stories that we all know you absorbed on the trail! Well done, my friend!

My cycling experiences on tour, with Fargo.

Fargo logoGearing issues seem to be the tale of the day as Jim Artis finds himself in a “no go” condition in Ashford, CT. He has written recently of difficulties with getting over climbs due to slippage and the reason has become much clearer in the last 36 hours. He has posted clear images of the problem gearing on his blog.  It currently appears that Jim and Fargo will be at the Ashford Motel in Ashford CT until at least Tuesday morning as he consults with Ashley on repairs and receives a needed replacement part. The Lithium Ion batteries required to power his SPOT died yesterday and there was no where on his route to find any replacements. I am in the process of shipping some to him by Tuesday morning in the hopes that he will be on the road again. We’ll see how Staples and UPS keep their promises of overnight delivery. I’ve been assured that the batteries will make it to Ashford by the Tuesday 8:00 or 10:00 a.m. delivery. Jim told me this morning that the only place to get food is by delivery from a Sports Bar!

Jim had another interesting encounter with local Law Enforcement, who once again took his safety to heart and assisted him in getting to his lodging. Jim remains in good spirits and is doing well. As he so clearly points out himself, he enjoys the design and evaluation phases of building new cycles. This is certainly one heck of a shake down cruise! Check it all out by visiting Cycling Experiences! 

Until later… I gotta go put another shrimp on the barbie…

- Zeke

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