So why did we do it? Why, knowing that a winter blast was going to blow in on top of us, did we go ahead and meet in Helen, Georgia at 8:30AM for a 40 mile ride over the toughest climbs North Georgia? Well there's only one reason...because I wouldn't cancel the it. That and the fact that the riders who showed up are as crazy as I am.
|The Gaps, Saturday February 11th, 2012 - Snowing!|
As we climbed I made comments to justify our journey. "The mountains will block the wind." "It will stay 38 degrees all day because of the front coming in." "This is great training." Things like that.
The first curve ball God decided to send our way was the wind. I've climbed Hog Pen many times. It's really hard. But it's even harder with a HEAD WIND! I couldn't believe I was climbing against a head wind. And neither could Joe Elam who, after reaching the top, decided to let me know that when he calls the day before to say the weather looks bad for the ride I should consider his wisdom. Bah...wisdom, common sense, caution... these words don't make sense to guys with unrelenting enthusiasm for riding. Bad weather is easily ignored when you have the right apparel. Right?
So we left Helen without a care in the world and without the knowledge that mother nature doesn't care about our world.
It took us the entire climb to catch David Latty. He was giving a fantastic effort.
Then it began to snow. Nothing sticky. Just flakes of snow blowing all around us. It was really great! Unfortunatly it was just about the only thing great about the climb. We pushed through the wind until we could finally see David in the distance. We caught him just as he made the top. As we gathered around the van there was a look on everyone's face that seemed to say...What the crap are we doing up here?
|David Shabat tries everything to stay warm.|
Stephen Sisk and I braced for the unknown and headed down the mountain toward Helen, GA. David Latty hadn't made the top yet but we considered his massive decending prowess would catch him up in no time. We sliced through the corners and cut through the cold knowing that a warm house and warm spouse were waiting. The van arrived soon after we dismounted and the "fish stories" began to formulate. This ride was another great one. Epic in its physical demands as well as it's struggle over natures frosty blast.
To celebrate, David Shabat suggested we stop at Common Grounds coffee shop in Helen and have the most common cycling recovery drink... JAVA! Oh...it was good. Walking back to the car I couldn't help but feel a connection with Helen. The fresh mountain air, the warm inviting buildings, even the signs seemed to reflect the way I was feeling there with my friends...
|Nuts: Stephen Sisk and David Shabat|