Chad, in our office, is a runner (so he's fit) and a former mountain biker. He brought his Gary Fisher Tuesday and we pedaled a mostly off road, mostly very difficult short ride up Lavender Mountain to the House O'Dreams at Berry College in Rome. The dirt roads are steep and freshly bathed in thick streams of small blue stone gravel, making traction a rare commodity. That and about 1,000' of climb in a 2 mile stretch. Pretty at the top though. This view is back towards town.
The paved trail from the campus has a 3' diameter +/- Sun painted at the start. The planets are painted to scale in size and distance as you move out away from it. The planets are dots, and some are MILES away. The idea that gravity holds them all together is mind boggling. It's called the Viking Trail, perhaps named for the Mars exploration spacecraft of the same name?
Once we got to the top, we rested while Chad showed me the garden and explained that students at the school built it all in the 1920s, using materials from the site area.
EVERY road around this place is hilly, unless you are riding along the riverside. Which we plan to do one of these days. The hills are bigger and steeper than I am used to, but I guess if I ride them, my legs will adjust.
Here is the garden on opposite side of the house from the picture above. With wind chimes sounding gently in the background, this is a restful and delightful place. Sadly, we needed to leave in time to find our way back during daylight. On the way, Chad suggested a "shortcut" he sort of remembered. It was less difficult to ride on, but when I heard shots fired not too far away, I began to pray in earnest for a safe trip back to the car! There is a controlled hunt in progress and the gate WAS closed on this road...
On Thursday, I took the same bike and rode up the toughest climb I've seen in many a day, if not ever. After topping Booze Mountain and descending to the traffic light on the other side, I found a bigger hill awaiting! I had to stop twice on the ascent and catch my breath, re starting each time by traversing the road when it was clear to do so. The Garmin said 36% but I doubt that. 24% maybe at max and 12 - 15% otherwise. For a full 1/2 mile. Followed by 6 miles of steady gradual up in a valley.Pretty though, and fragrant with jasmine, honeysuckle and maybe some other stuff. The very quick mountain bike steering that works wonders at avoiding roots and rocks on a woodsy path is NOT what I want when descending at 37 mph. Which is a record for that bike, no doubt.
Today's ride was my 1st regular Saturday road ride of any length or effort since the middle of April. As I noted, Russ and Max met me up by the usual rally point and we did 35 miles of hills. About 2,000' of climbing in all. We were rained on (I packed a rain jacket and helmet cover, but truthfully, the rain felt good and I never took them out), paused to meet up with the mayor and join his annual bike ride for kids down to a park where some hands on exhibits were set up, and then completed our loop. Russ provided the blog material today. A super fit triathlete, I suppose he just can't go slow and the mayor's kids were only doing about 7 mph. He slid his front wheel on a rain slicked exposed section of old train rail and did a spectacular crash. It looked for all the world like he was aiming for this:
But it was more like this:
Russ did execute the "tuck and roll" as shown here by our stunt double, perfectly and broke no bones nor bike parts. He was skinned up a little, but seemed like he would recover. We prescribed aspirin, or similar.
And watch kids, this is why we say, "Always wear a helmet!" Russ, you need to buy a new one if yours hit the pavement.
So, some good riding this week, and feeling 1/2 way normal in that regard.
I also went car shopping today. I need something economical just to get to/from work, and have a cycling friend in the business. I was surprised to find that no one takes you out and shows you CARS anymore. They show you cars on a laptop screen and say, "we can get that for you." Well, no, there is a car being readied that is of interest and will be available to look at soon. I came home and hunted online and found numerous others. Anyway, I hope to have a pleasant car buying experience and end up with a serviceable used car. If things go well, down the road we'll upgrade that as we can.
I'm filling the pulpit again next Sunday (locals are always welcome to come and listen!). I always approach that duty with deep respect and nervous apprehension. Once I get going though, it seems to all work out. When the pastor first asked if I could fill in should the need arise, I began to jot ideas down and outline my ideas. In the past, I have written out my sermons and had them to read, but my recent experience preaching at the local homeless mission with outline notes instead has emboldened me to try this same approach. The source material is impeccable after all, and the Spirit is ever present to illumine. :)
I'm back in GA next week but then take off on my first road sales swing. Figuring out how to work in exercise and cycling there will be a challenge. And one that has to take a back seat to the primary mission focus, SALES.