It’s been a while since I posted. Several squeaky wheels have had my attention and, unfortunately, cycling wasn’t one of the louder ones. We’ve finally experienced winter again here in Western North Carolina after several years of only hearing about snow.
(The storm beginning as I was enjoying an echo stress test at WNC Cardiology)
This year we had a return to the snow of old. You know, the ones where we walked to school every day in knee deep snow just like our forefathers did. Of course, we’ve had nothing like the mid-west and north east have endured and I don’t count Atlanta’s little ice skating party as anything other than poor planning. I’m ready for spring to finally get sprung or whatever spring does. Yesterday’s 60 degree weather was a cruel joke leading up to today’s return to freezing temps with possible snow flurries.
The last little two day storm dropped a meager (in relation to New England standards) snowfall of 8.5” at our house in Buzzard’s Roost. It was a pretty snow that stayed around a few days. The Navigator and I were invited for a long weekend respite at Hilton Head Island so we dropped the truck in 4 wheel drive and hit the road headed south. It was on this trip that the enormity of the storm really registered with me. We saw piles of remaining snow as far south as Orangeburg, SC as we traveled down I-26. There were chunks of forests along the route that were just flat knocked down or, I guess you could say, knocked down flat with the tops of the trees extending into the emergency lanes of the interstate. We passed a couple of crews working to get the trees cleared.
Fortunately, once we arrived at Hilton Head, the Woodman and I were able to get out for a couple of days of riding and at least lubricate the joints somewhat. I was surprised that my cardio fitness had not dropped off more than it had although I did have a pretty good measure of it at said echo stress test, which I errantly thought I had passed with flying colors.
Upon returning home, I was greeted with a phone call from my physician and an appointment with another cardiologist in nearby Asheville, which led to a heart catheterization two Fridays ago. Along with this fun little adventure, I was on restricted duty, i.e., no lifting, no riding, no driving, no splitting wood for a few days. Interestingly, it is a bad thing if the puncture site in the femoral artery should bust open. Should that happen, the directions were very easy and very specific: Press like hell on the artery and call 911. That’s it – simple and straight forward.
Other squeaky wheels…
The Navigator and I lost our two Labrador Retrievers (Zeke and Orla) of 13 and 15 years of age in 2013. We are both “dog people” and have always had the company of dogs and, as time healed the hurt of our losses, the desire to rejoin the dog world took over. So, to that end, we have been joined by Beauregard at Buzzards Roost and Ramahills Cordelia at Buzzards Roost of RW as of this past Saturday. Beau, a Border Collie mix placed his hook in the Navigators heart and reeled her in Saturday a week ago when we visited Sarge’s Animal Rescue. Dilly, our Giant Schnauzer, was ready for pick-up this past Saturday in Cincinnati. Beau was born December 17th and Dilly was born December 21st so they will be kennel mates in both age and maturity one hopes. They have already become fast friends and are reminding us of the energy of puppies, which we had somehow forgotten in the last 13 years.
(Beau and Dilly snoozing and recharging for another adventure!)
Not totally quiet on the cycling front:
It hasn’t been a totally non-cycling time although the riding time has certainly been limited. Last Friday we had our latest meeting of the Blue Ridge Breakaway planning committee. Registration for the 2014 event opened two days ago. Returning and new riders will find some changes to two of the routes this year. The 45 mile Panther has been extended to a 50 mile course and the Trout (metric century) route has been increased to 75 miles and will include approximately 35 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This year’s jersey promises to be another sellout and will again be produced by Hincapie. If you’ve never ridden the Blue Ridge Breakaway, get it on your schedule now and come enjoy some great mountain riding. With over 10,000’ of climb in the Century route, this is a challenging course and significant fitness and ability to handle your bike is required.
What if you gave a party and no one came?
Well, that is somewhat the questions for us as BicycleHaywoodNC offered to provide bicycle safety instruction classes this spring for adults and older teens followed by safe riding skills training on a closed course. We had only one registrant for the two courses to be held around the county so we’re going back to the drawing board on this one. We’ll try again later.
I hear the Beau and Dilly show starting up in the other room so I’ll end for now and go see what mischief awaits us.
So the National Weather Service is forecasting the coldest temperatures in decades for the mountains of Western North Carolina. So the temperatures have been on a downward trajectory since before we got up this morning. It’s my birthday and I really, really wanted to be able to say I rode on my birthday…
(Note new GoPro Hero 3+ camera – gift from the Navigator)
Well, let me tell you…
It was COLD out there! I waffled back and forth about going to the trouble of getting dressed to go riding in subfreezing weather. Around noon with the temps hovering around 21 degrees and knowing that they were only going down from that point, I quit my waffling and dressed to ride. The Navigator merely shook her head, although she did agree to document my foolishness.
I dug out the Pearl Izumi winter bibs (Hint #1 that I’ve not been riding.), my Under Armour base layer, a Pearl Izumi winter weight full length jersey, and my Smartwool socks. I planted my new GoPro firmly on my head and walked directly into the heating duct in our basement on my way to dig out the Salsa Fargo. I figured I didn’t need any skinny tires on such a cold day, you know, just in case the much promised snowfall arrived during my sojourn about.
Just as I noticed cool air in a place where there shouldn’t be any cool air, the Navigator inquired if there was a tear in my bibs. Looking down, I discovered that no, there wasn’t a tear but the resident mouse/mice had made a meal of the crotch area of my bibs! Grrrr! Just yesterday I found that my Fat Cyclist jersey had become nesting material for an overfed (no doubt) household of mice. (Hint #2 that I’ve not been riding. When mice eat the crotch of your bibs, you aren’t riding enough…)
To Be or Not to Be …
… cold that is, which quickly became the decision to be made. With cold crotch wrapped around my Brooks B17 saddle and my foolishness sufficiently documented on both video and still imagery, I returned to the relative warmth of the garage knowing that I could claim that I rode on my birthday. It wasn’t the longest of rides but it wasn’t the shortest of rides either. It certainly wasn’t the warmest and probably wasn’t the coldest of rides. But, it was my ride on this day at this time so I’ll take it!
(Doing my Flying Nun impression on a cold January day!)
Now that I’m comfortably ensconced once again in our den with the wood stove perking, it is time to look at what I’m sure is probably really, really poor GoPro video. I’ll bet you can hardly wait for it to be posted…