Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Shower: MIA on the Sheltowee Trace


It’s Monday.  Early this morning I hit the last snooze signifying the end of the holidays.  Coming off a four day weekend I felt the full weight of a solid five day work week.  I don’t know if I have the stamina for it.
The New Year’s break was bookended with recreation but full in the middle with volumes of home improvement.
Jeaph recruited Mitchum and I to head down to Laurel Lake for the annual KyMBA-folk New Year’s Day ride.  We were both reluctant and Jeaph was relentless. 
I had conceded jokingly that I would ride on New Year’s Day if Jeaph would remodel my bathroom.  Well, not exactly.  Monday he texted me:
Jeaph: Any word on London MTB on nyday?

Me: I don't think I'm going.

Jeaph: C'mon 'ring!

Me: You got much going on thurs-sun? I can go if I fix the shower afterward.  That...is nagging me to fix the shower.

Instead of a text response I got a phone call:
 
"So for one mountain bike ride I end up getting to work for you for three days?"

"If you’re offering," I replied.

He just wore Mitchum down with daily texts and phone calls begging him to go.

We headed south catching up on and talking about the silly nonsense of life that means so much when it’s traded in the company of friends.  So the three of us found ourselves headed south on I-75 at a sinful hour on New Year’s morn oblivious to the catastrophe that awaited us on Laurel Lake Dam.

We pulled into the trailhead at the dam just as Troy was framing another of his famous selfies-slash-group pictures and hit the ground running from the warmth of the truck cab to the cold lineup with a group of kooky Kentucky mountain bikers.  As the other mountain bikers streamed away toward the Sheltowee Trace Jeff, Mitchum, and I scrambled to get our bikes and ourselves ready and rolling. 
As Mike and I finished up Jeff took off across the parking lot on a collision course with a rocky ledge.  If it had been anyone else I would have cried: “Lookout, you’re going to hit that wall!” but knowing Jeff I kept tugging my warm socks over pale feet and didn't even flinch as he hit the ledge full speed.  He turned skyward and we all heard a sound like a chain crossing gears under high tension; a loud ‘ping!’  Except Jeff was riding a single speed.  And then he coasted back across the parking lot toward us trailing a cloud of expletives.  He’d destroyed his rear cog.

 
Two hour drive for a thirty second ride...
Mitchum and I completely understood the gravity of the situation.  As much as it would have been a disappointment to the both of us we didn’t want to ride off and leave Jeff with his broken bike at the trailhead.  After all, he had coerced…I mean, convinced the two of us to come out on a frigid New Year’s to ride our mountain bikes.  The least we could do was show support.
He insisted we go ride.  I began to suspect some sinister plot to make Mitchum and me suffer for some previous slight.  Jeff wouldn’t even entertain the notion that he was punishing me for the remodel to come.
The two of us rolled away in a missing man formation toward the Sheltowee and chasing after the strong pelexoton.  We were the laterne rouges.  We were the weaksauce interlopers. 
It turned out to be a great ride.  Neither of us felt inadequate.  We were well-matched in ability and pace.  After the ride I didn’t feel like I needed to lose fifty pounds and do a gazillion leg presses before the next ride.  I couldn’t figure out the curious feelings.  And then I remembered that Jeff was stuck in the parking lot with a three piece freewheel.  I grinned and charged on.
 
We rode all the way up to KY 192 and turned around.  By then we’d passed almost everyone else headed back toward the dam.  We fell in with a small group on the return, but quickly sorted ourselves just slightly ahead of them.
I had forgotten how enjoyable the drop in to the lake from the ridge is.  We were bombing in at a blistering pace.  The trail flowed and we took full advantage of the gravity of the situation.  Miles and miles passed and we kept a pretty high average speed.  I had finally warmed up and found my inner mountain biking strength.  It ebbed quickly, and with a couple of miles to go my quads became a hollow fire.  I lost the power to push the pedals and finally slowed to a more human pace.
A Jeffless ride...


 
Once back in the truck we began a long, long ride home.  I won’t go into the details, but after a drive back up to Richmond we snagged heaps of Qdoba before depositing Mitchum at his car.  Then Jeff and I went on a quest for bathroom remodel materials and second hand deals on clothes, DVDs, and CDs.  Man, while Jeaphre is a yard sale hound, he really comes into his own while perusing discount clothing stores and second hand entertainment emporiums!
The bathroom turned into about twenty hours of demo, reco, and cleanup.  I owe Jeff too much.  He said in repayment I can help him move a lot of earth so he can do another concrete pour.  Somehow I think he may end up being the death of me.
I managed a recoup Saturday afternoon and evening and was facing a prospective ten mile trail run on Sunday.  But we’ll get to that in the next post.
 

It was pretty bad.

Now its pretty good.
Have to do the finish work, but it's already 100% better.
 
 

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