Monday, June 07, 2010

(Between the) Silk Sheets

One of the nice things about being a part of such a great community is that there is always somebody somewhere doing something exciting. Somebody is working towards their first marathon. Another friend is doing their first Ironman. A while back, I made the decision to quit adding people to my blog roll. For those of you who were persistent, I added you anyways :-) Now, I realize that this is just the wrong decision. Adding new peeps and making new friends keeps things fresh, ya know? I will clean up my blog roll soon, as some of you have moved to Facebook, and some of you do both.

Late late week, Sarah put out a call for riders. She had her last long bike of her training plan, and she was riding 125 miles. Just to put things into perspective, I rode 117 miles for my longest ride for Ironman Florida. I was excited about the opportunity to ride with Sarah again, but I was also excited to finally get to ride Silk Sheets. Sarah had spoken highly of the route several times, and I was looking forward to giving it a try!

Sarah wanted to be wheels on pavement at 7 AM, and I didn't want to be late. I packed my bike and bag Friday night and put them into the car. I set my bottles and food out on the counter and set the coffee maker to go off at 5:15 AM. I actually woke at 5:08 AM, before the alarm went off and had a pretty good nights sleep. I was able to take my time getting ready, and I was out the door around 5:35 or so. I made my way south and west. The sky lightened considerably by the time I pulled into Cochrane Mill Park. It was small park, and I wondered if I was in the right place. A few minutes after I got there, Sarah's friend, Wendy, pulled in, and the bike on the back of her SUV reassured me.

You know Sarah has arrived when her cute little VW bug pulls into the parking lot. We wasted no time getting suited up. I even put on sun screen again! I so smart... We had time to snap a pic before hitting the road.

Shortly there after, we took off on what was to be the first of two loops for me, four for Sarah!  The route started off with a nice little downhill before hitting the first of many rollers.  We headed north for four miles before making a left onto Cedar Grove Road.   That's one of the things that is so attractive about Silk Sheets. It has some nice rollers.  Nothing drastic, but plenty to challenge you.

We followed Cedar Grove Road for 13 miles before making a left at the bottom of the loop.  This being the weekend before my big race, I was just taking it easy, keeping Sarah company.  We rode past a little country store (in Rico, GA of all places), and also a fire station that was rumored to be biker friendly.  The bottom of the loop was by far the hilliest, but once we passed through the little town of Palmetto, GA, it was all basically down hill back to the park.

The group spent a little time there refueling.  While they were swapping out their bike bottles, I headed to the bathrooms.  At the back of the park, a gentleman was getting ready to go for a horseback ride.  He had his horses tied up to the trailers, but I didn't see the humans, just the horses.  As I approached the trailers, I heard this voice.

Say something...

I noticed that the horses were getting skittish...  As I thought to myself, hmmmm, what should I say?  I heard the voice again, this time louder and more demanding.


In my kindest, gentlest voice, I said, "Good morning, worsies!"  As I walked past the second horse, I said, "Are you going to take the rude humans for a ride?"  :-)

The rider came out from behind the trailer and thanked me, and we laughed.  The horses settled down the minute I started talking to them, and I have filed this experience away for future reference.

On the second loop, I experimented with the course feature of the Garmin 310XT.  I had downloaded it the night before.  I pressed start as we began our second loop.  The 310XT told me how far it was to each turn AND our estimated time of arrival, even as it record all of my HR data and mile splits.  That was a pretty cool feature!

On the first loop, it had been overcast and muggy, but for the second loop, the sun came out, and things started to warm up a bit.  At least the humidity died down.  The traffic also picked up.  Sarah felt like the drivers around Silk Sheets were pretty courteous, but I was not impressed.  A few times we were buzzed pretty closely, even if there was no one coming from the other direction.  At one particular point in the ride, Sarah was leading the group when a guy in a BMW decided to pass us with another car coming from the other direction.  I was deathly afraid that Sarah was going to get clocked.  Fortunately for all of us, the car coming from the other direction slowed down so the idjet in the BMW could complete his risky maneuver.  Then, there was the guy in the pick up truck coming in the opposite direction that took exception to me riding side by side with Sarah.  He laid on his horn and gestured emphatically for me to get to the side of the road.  I don't know what his problem was.  I was safely in my lane, so I just gave him the eat sh@# look and kept on riding.  I know the cycling laws in the State of Georgia.

We completed both loops in slightly over two hours each.  I said my good byes to Sarah and headed home.  She had to do that same series of loops all over again, and it was definitely warming up!  That night, I got home and downloaded my data into Sports Tracks, and my TRIMP score registered a 9 for the first loop, and a 43 for the second, LOL...  I get no credit for staying in Zone 1, which, evidently, I did for most of loop 1, then spent a little more time in Zone 2 on the second loop.

Overall, it was the perfect workout for me leading up to this week's race.  Certainly, it was little more time in the saddle than was necessary, but the intensity and overall quality of the ride was perfect, and what a better way to spend the day than helping a friend on her path to Iron?



Lisa said...

How awesome of you to accompany Sarah on the first half of her ride. Very cool.

And now you're the horse whisperer too?!?

Sarah said...

So so so grateful for your company. Am surprised you were in Zone 1, I'd have figured 0.5 ;). And yah, the drivers on Saturday were worse than normal..I suppose you encounter more of them when riding for 9 hours. You rock, my friend :)

Stef said...

Great post Wes! So fun reading about two of my favorite bloggers training together.

You are awesome!

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

Very nice ride! It is always good to have company.

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said... are the best to help Sarah out. That is just what we do!!

Thaks for sharing the feature with the 310XT.... I will be checking that one out for sure.

Jess said...

Great job on the ride Wes and it was so nice of you to help a friend out. I'm sure she appreciated your support!

Julie said...

Oh Wes, you are one big softy! I think that it is great that you helped Sarah out! You are awesome!

Thanks for adding me to your blog roll:) What would I do without my southern blogger friend? Take care and have a great week!

JV said...

OK! I have to learn that feature on the Garmin 310! I did not know it could plot out a course for you? Sounds like a great bike ride!

Jon Gilchrist said...

you're a good man Wes...

Michelle said...

Sounds like an awesome ride : )

Makita said...

Cute picture of the 2 of you! Fun post ... I can just picture you talking with the horses! :)

challenges2010 said...

The horse story was hilarious. Way to be a good friend.

I tried your swim tips. They worked but not in the way you might think. It wasn't helping me either so I said screw it if I'm not liking the tips either let's do the whole thing till I get it or die. I need to work on a couple things but think I got it now for the most part.

Thanks Wes!