Van Morrison has a few songs that just seem to capture the... well, the IT of a situation sometimes. "Into the Mystic," really is a love song, and not so much about mysticism and whatnot, but Van does a good job of evoking a lot of imagery in the song, to the point where you can really "smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic..."
On Saturday, we were nowhere near the sea, but we did feel the sky, and, if you ask me, my gypsy soul got rocked like way back in the days of old...
We got the dreaded email from the Master of All Things Epic last week, naming the time and the place (6AM and the Simpsonville Sports Club parking lot) for our next P3C3 training ride. The wifey and I managed to rope Vinnie, charter member of YNHPF into joining us, so we had a nicely sized little group (somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen).
We set out in the dark, like last week, but that's where the similarities ended. We were gonna be riding rollers this week. Lots of rollers. We'd also be seeing some pretty wild patches of fog, which, as the sun rose, gave the ride a truly mystical theme. Hence the title of this post, for those of you scoring at home. We're gonna let the pics do the talking for the first half of the ride. Here we go:
Dawn set the stage
We hit more fog banks than we could remember
I. Love. This. Pic.
Random streets become eerie in the early morning fog
The sun starts coming out in my feeble attempt to get artsy
Of Backsides, and good rides...
It's always fun to ride with like minded, similarly skilled people. It's even more fun to ride behind like minded, more highly skilled, similarly sized people. Vinnie, our globetrotting friend who, when not working his tail off in a very successful career doing something that I definitely couldn't begin to understand, is also training for an Ironman. So, he's very strong on the bike. He also, like me, has a large frame for a cyclist. Unlike me however, Vinnie has a pa-donk-a-donk kiester, which makes him the perfect person to pull on the flats to help, um, break the wind in front of me (Thank you, I'll be here all weekend. Be sure to tip your waitress. Now get your mind out of the gutter.) Case in point:
It's like tail wind (pun intended), that slipstream is so big!
Anyway... Jokes aside,the first 30 miles disappeared quickly, but my tension level was on the rise. My trusty steed, Fred the Tennessee Stud, was not having a good day. The cassette and the rear derailleur were making so much noise by about mile 35, that I was seriously considering putting Fred out of his misery, tossing him into the woods and hopping into the sag wagon. At the halfway point however, Fred and I found salvation at what must be the most immaculate country convenience store on the planet.
I'm not kidding, it was a family owned place, and you could eat off the floors. I came in and asked the wonderful lady if she had some WD-40 (a MacGyver favorite right up there with duct tape) on the off chance that I could lube Fred into being quiet. She checked every where, to no avail. I thanked her for being so kind and resigned myself to creaking and squeaking my way back the last 40 miles.
To my wondrous surprise, however, she found the lost (and very rusty) canister and came and got me. I crossed my fingers and doused Fred's nether regions, swearing that I'll do better about washing and lubing the chain in the future. About three gallons of WD-40 later, and I decided that was all I could do, but then a funny thing happened...
It worked, and the mental lift I got from that had me riding super strong for the rest of the route! So strong in fact, that I was able to goof around and catch my buddy Perry in a couple of sprints and climbs. Perry, also a fellow P3C3 rider, kicks my butt on a regular basis, and, though I wouldn't say I won any of the little skirmishes that I started out on the road that day, I did make him work a couple of times...
Which brings us to...
The Perry-Flavored Suppository (almost)
At the top of one of the many quick steep climbs, I thought I had gapped Perry and was feeling feisty. So, like the good little moronic newbie bike rider that I am, I kept blasting off the front on this fun, twisty little lane that we were on, doing my own little personal time trial, and pretending like I knew what I was doing. There was a SHARP left hand bend followed almost immediately by a right turn that we needed to take, which I wasn't expecting. I grabbed the brakes, thinking I might be able to just make the turn, but, unbeknownst to me, Perry had snuck back on my wheel, probably to teach me a little lesson. If not for a quick hand on the brakes and some nifty handling on Perry's part, I might just have had an uncomfortable trip to the doctor. Rookie mistake, I guess. I need to learn to check my six more regularly. Perry was a good sport about it, which I thank him for, because I was pretty mortified.
Random Nathan update
I don't know where to put this, so I'm putting it here. Our friend Nathan joined in again, this time clad in a Slipstream kit with a white jersey, which I guess made him the best young rider in the GC or something like that. Just like last time, our view of him was decidedly one-sided.
I'll see the other side of him one day...
Anyway, the rest of the ride went off without much incident, with the sun getting higher and hotter. We were quite happy done by the time we rolled into the parking lot 85 miles and 4500 feet of climbing later.
Awards and Accolades
The Master of All Things Epic had engineered a little contest themed around the Little House on the Prairie, with the grand prize being an ice cold Fat Tire (a.k.a. God's Recovery Drink). Now I'm sure you're thinking "Wow, that sounds both creative and cool! How come you haven't talked about it until now?" The answer would be, due to my horribly deficient Little House knowledge and subsequent performance in the contest, I lost, and we don't talk about losses here at Yummy NOMs...
That being said, to the victor go the spoils. Congrats to Perry, winner of the first Little House on the Prairie Contest Thingy:
He can hardly believe it...
We even had podium girls
We at Yummy NOMs have a belated award however. Being follicly challenged, yours truly was ineligible for this contest, but were are proud and happy to bestow the first ever Arnold Poindexter Award for Awesome Helmet Hair to...
Whose resemblance to this guy inspired the creation of the award
Yeah, how many people do you know that can take it from Van Morrison to Revenge of the Nerds in less than 500 words? It takes skillz, friends. Mad skillz...
All in all, it was a great ride, capped off by a lazy afternoon of post ride football and mexican recovery NOMs, which were mystical in their own right. Anyhow, we'll be heading out on our first annual Colorado Training Camp next week, so stay tuned for pics of mountains and tales of tasty western treats.
'Till next time, stay hungry, friends.