|Hog Pen Gap, Helen, Georgia|
We all gathered around staring at him as he checked the tire pressure, shaking our heads in disbelief. Odds were not being taken on if he would make it. We were betting he would be in the car with his eliptobike on the rack within 3 miles of the 7 mile climb. But Wojtek was full of energy and so happy to be there. I like him a lot.
|Curt and Me|
We left Wojtek before the climb ever started. As we rode past him he was stepping away at his machine and declaring his will was unbreakable. I thought to myself, yeah I can want to run a marathon but it's not all up to my brain. My body has to agree.
I climbed with Curt for a while and gave him some advice he didn't ask for. Then I moved up to David Shabat and rode with him for awhile.
Trace and Stephen were always just around the corner and soon David and I tried to catch them before they reached the first plateau
|David Shabat, Stephen Sisk, Trace Nabors|
We reached the top and took some quick pics for good measure. Curt decided to get in the car at some point so he was there and ready to try and survive the decent. When David Latty arrived we asked Gary to drive back down and rescue Wojtek. He was probably lying in a ditch at mile 3.
|Three Amigos at the top of Hog Pen Gap|
If our layers and covers don't convince you about how stinking cold it was I snapped this pic of Trace climbing past some frozen evidence. A nice reminder of our insanity. And yet we were having a blast!?
|Trace Nabors and the ice.|
|Ice Climbing on Hog Pen|
When we started our decent of Hog Pen there were about 6 guys with ice picks climbing the ice on the back side rocks. They looked at us...we looked at them...and we just smiled at each other. No doubt an exchange of some sort of screwed up understanding.
Our shivering journey to the bottom of the earth was interrupted by some vehicles taking it easy. It was so cold I didn't worry one bit about heating up my rims and popping a tire. We rode together all the way to Hwy 180 and made the turn toward Brasstown Bald before Gary and Wojtek caught us. By then the climbing had begun again and Curt was suffering. He climbed as long as he could before finally pulling the plug and getting in the car. I was really proud for him for being brave enough to come out there.
|Wojtek Wysocki, our European Connection.|
He spent the rest of the trip filming our ride and talking about all the cool stuff he was allowed to demo. He also let us know he would be heading to the Cross Worlds and hanging out with Sven Nys. I seemed to be the only guy who's up on CycloCross news so I was probably the only one who knew how cool that was.
|Trace Nabors, David Latty, Stephen Sisk|
We all enjoyed the ride down and came back together for the final miles. By that time the temperature was a sunny 35 degrees.
|The Brave Ones return.|
I tried out a bike that required snow skiing muscles I have never developed. It took some instruction to get it figured out but once I did it was fun. David pulled a groin muscle when he tried it. Again...very funny stuff. Thanks Wjotek for adding something fresh to our ride!
|Me and Gary McCarthy|
Wjotek's Wild Ride
Riding with Friends
Ice Climbing Video (The actual guys that day)
And so ended another adventure in the GAPS. 2013 could now officially start. It's time for new plans, new goals, and new adventures. I've signed up for my first one. I'll be doing the Gran Fondo New York in May.
Rest assured I'll be taking a ton of pictures and video. It's not Europe but it's a start.
Check back on my home page here for the listings of rides and races as they become available.
Thanks for reading!