To hell and back in ’07

14 01 2007

img_0047.jpgWe ride for many reasons: health, therapy, companionship, pride, challenge, punishment. And on any given group ride, the individuals are likely to be motivated by any one of these.  Today’s ride was equal parts camaraderie, celebration, group therapy, and flagellation.  The weather couldn’t have been better, 40-50 degrees and misting rain all day.

I had to wake up Joe and Rich on the way to the shop, so I knew we’d be rolling out a bit late.   But the leisurely start left plenty of time to drink coffee and catch up before we got started; which, after a late night of social anesthetic at Zeno’s, I found very welcome.  Despite the miserable weather, we had 7 leaving from the shop at 9:30 and stopped to pick up Chip on the way out of town.   The turtle ride is so-named because of a tiny bit of overgrown jeep trail halfway through, betwee Lake Perez and Whipple Dam, that is usually so water-logged that it is not uncommon to have to dodge turtles.  The ride was nostalgic for me as it is the first winter adventure ride that I did after getting my cross bike in similar conditions two years ago.  Today did not disappoint: grime, mud, puddles, ice, two dam crossings, poaching a bit of private land.   We were out just under 4 hours overall.  The hours, two significant climbs, and the weather made it exhausting and we pulled back into town feeling like we’d accomplished something, even if all we’d done was end up back where we started . . . a little dirtier and a little smellier.

The afternoon, after a bowl of soup, a nap with the dog, and an espresso, presented its own minor triumph.  Nita and I rolled into town for the inaugural ride on her new, old bike.  Over Christmas she had her childhood Peugot sent to State College so that she could have a bike for riding around town.  Right now, its still got the original build, including stem mounted, friction shifters and Shimano Tourney components (nothing but the best!).  But we’ve got plans in the works to pimp it out a bit with an internal 3-speed and  orange velocity rims.  The boys at FreezeThaw should have fun with this one.

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