Friday, September 3, 2010

A RETURN FROM COMPUTER HELL!

Well, it has been awhile. I won’t mark it in calendar time, clock time, or even dog time. I’ll mark it in “computer hell” time! That should be much more accurate in terms of my downtime. Let’s see where to start… In “computer hell”, NEXT DAY ON-SITE SERVICE doesn’t really mean next day on-site service. It really means “well, o.k. that’s next business day but that really means on whichever business day the tech support gets around to putting in the order. In calendar days, this particular time equivalent was 3 days to first contact. Let’s see, what’s next: so this used to work but now doesn’t and now two hours later, nothing has changed, so I (tech support) can pretty much go out on a limb and say, “This isn’t working. I’m going to kick it up to the next tier of tech support.” Too make a looooong story short, 2 hard drive wipes, 2 full reinstallations of all programs, a new motherboard, and a new WAAN card, and I’m back to having an almost fully functional computer again. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 isn’t one big ball of fun!

At least the riding has continued…

On Tuesday evening, I enjoyed a solo commute home by way of Poison Cove and Stamey Cove. I wanted to revisit my recent ride over Stamey Cove and I wanted to avoid end of day work traffic. So, it was an easy decision to get out of town via Sunnyside, site of my recent flat, and take Raccoon Road and Ratcliffe Cove Road through Poison Cove Gap. The ascent to Poison Cove gap is moderate and about 2 miles in length. It is typically warm to hot at the end of the day as this part of the road is open to the western sky. Once passing through the gap, you are presented with some picturesque views to the east.

Poision Cove looking east(Imagine it without the power line poles!) 

A long descent with serpentine curves leads to a long straightaway that lets you just ease on out before intersecting with Stamey Cove Road. A Clif Bar Shot Block was in order before turning my attention to the first climb that precedes the long climb of Stamey Cove. There was more traffic than I expected as folks were heading home from work but everyone was courteous and passed me with sufficient space. I came to the hairpin turn where a participant in the recent Blue Ridge Breakaway crashed out and suffered significant injuries including brain trauma. I stopped to peruse the site again and try to imagine what must have happened to him.

Stamey Cove Hairpin

(One view of crash site)

Stamey Cove Hairpin View2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Slightly different take on same curve)

You can’t see the curve that precedes this one in these images. I imagine that the cyclist had made the long downhill descent from the gap, swept through the left hand turn just preceding this hairpin, got into the hairpin “too hot” and grabbed a bunch of front brake throwing himself over the handlebars and resulting in a “face plant”. We know that his injuries included broken pelvis, broken ribs, collapsed lung, broken nose, and broken eye socket – all on his left side while his bike had some minimal scuffing on the right side. The bike, I understand, was essentially unharmed. By all reports, this was an experienced cyclist. Only he knows what happened. I hope he recovers sufficiently to let us know. Of course, in serious trauma like this, memories of the event are often lost. (Note: the cyclist was brought out of his coma this week and taken off the ventilator. His family was in hopes of getting him transferred this weekend to a Charlotte, NC hospital closer to his home in Belmont, NC.)

After resuming my ride and topping the crest of Stamey Cove, I followed the route of the Blue Ridge Breakaway to Lake Logan. I discovered that taking the Stamey Cove route had significantly shortened my ride home and I wasn’t ready to stop. My effort at getting to Lake Logan was rewarded with some most excellent views of the lake and surrounding area. I arrived just as the sun was beginning to drop behind the mountain leaving part of the lake in shadow.

Lake Logan at Sunset(A touch of fall in the air and crystal clear skies made for a nice presentation!) 

It was hard to even start back on the bike but I knew I had to head on home to meet the Navigator after she completed her water aerobics class. I had an enjoyable ride back to Bethel Grocery as I tried to push myself by keeping my pace above 22 mph. I passed one cyclist and saw another off on a side road on my way home.

Thursday’s group ride…

We planned to move our BicycleHaywoodNC sponsored “new and newly returning” riders group ride to Canton, NC this Thursday. In order to add some mileage, I left my office and made my way to the Canton Recreation area by 5:20 p.m. Canton was preparing for their annual Labor Day Celebration with rides and vendors setting up in the fields of the recreation area. Additionally, Pisgah High JV’s had a home football game so the area was full of people. I had a very enjoyable conversation with a grandmother while waiting on the rest of my group and waiting on her granddaughter to get tired swinging. My group arrived – her granddaughter never did get tired!

We had a nice group of 6 riders which included one new member to our group. He is an experienced rider and fit in nicely with the group. We made our way up NC 110 riding “in the gutter” and staying single file. On the way up NC 110, we passed some ornamental grasses that had their plumes in full bloom. The late afternoon sun was touching their tops and turning them into this beautiful bronze and gold finery. I wish I could have stopped for a picture but couldn’t.

At the intersection of US 276 and Love Joy Road, we jumped over US 276 and made our way over a moderate climb before dropping back along the eastern edge of the valley. As on Tuesday, we were greeted with some great views of the valley as the sun began to slip behind the mountain.

After coming to the end of Love Joy, we turned back north on Lake Logan Road and took a moment to grab a group photo at the Riverside Baptist Church. We enjoyed the saying on the church’s sign…

Riverside Baptist Church sign(The Thursday group takes a break…) 

While at the church, the Navigator reached me via cell phone and inquired how much longer I would be on the ride. She needed to stop work and connect with me before going up the mountain to the house. I assessed the situation and calmly reported 30 minutes or so. We made plans to meet back at Bethel Grocery.

The group saddled back up and we headed back to Canton via Lake Logan Road and NC 215 going down what is often referred to as the “front side” of the river. We made our way safely to the park and said our good-byes. Kathy (left in image above) and I struck out and headed back up NC 110 as we both live in that direction. Just before we arrived at Max Thompson Road where Kathy was to leave me and head to her home, I saw the Navigator coming toward us on NC 110. Seems my estimate of 30 minutes or so was a little off… It had been an hour and 10 minutes since we had spoken on the phone. When you hear the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun”, know that is truth!

Tomorrow (Saturday, 09/04) brings the opportunity for a small group ride of the Cold Mountain Loop as it is known to local cyclists. We’ll be starting at the Bethel Middle School and climbing 20 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway where we will turn north and ride to the intersection of US 276 and the BRP. We’ll return to the BMS and will have covered about 44.5 miles. I’ve not ridden this loop before and riding from Bethel to the BRP is one of my goals for this riding season. Who knows, maybe by tomorrow, I’ll have checked off another goal for 2010. I bet you’ll read about it here…

Until later,

Zeke

Post a Comment