My first ride of 2010 was great and surprisingly on the road, something I saw very little of in 2009. Earlier that day I was resetting all of my computers on my bikes for the year and I'm embarrassed to say that my road bike saw only a bit over 200 miles for the year. That's waaay down from the previous years. I didn't bother adding up the numbers from the rest of my bikes to see where I stood mileage wise for the year or on the trail as 2009 was not good for me in the way of functioning cycle computers. I think I had 2 bite the dust and I accidentally reset one during a lap @ the 12 Hours of Tsali, so there was really no point. Maybe it's time to quit buying the cheapest ones out there or just give up on trying to keep track at all.
Back to the first ride of 2010, Alan had scheduled an ETSU training ride for the team and invited a couple of us along so I said what the heck. The weather had done a complete 180 and the trails were too wet from all the snow to ride. I showed up @ Knight's figuring a groups of kids would be there waiting ready to ride but I only saw the Hillbilly Hotel with my future bike attached to it. After a bit of chatting a few others showed but not a single ETSU rider, so much for the first team ride of the year. I have a feeling Alan's gonna have a rough time trying to turn a buch of young gravity kids into part-time roadies.
The plan was to ride at a leisurely pace on the TNR route but skip Buffalo mountain due to the threat of ice & snow on the road. I had no problem with this I didn't think my legs were up for the climb anyway.
I strapped on the Hero cam for some much needed road footage and off we went. As we cruised out of town I was surprised at the amount of snow still lingering in the farmlands. The sun was out so staying warm was not really an issue. I felt pretty good for my first ride but could tell that my time off the bike has taken a toll on my endurance and legs. At one point I went to downshift only to realize I was already in granny, Ouch.
As we made our way around the route we crossed the Nolochucky river and I noticed a good portion of it was frozen over. That's a pretty rare sight here in East TN. A few more turns and we were cruising along side of the river and we found several large areas that had completely frozen over.
As the ride looped around the base of Buffalo I overheard some chatter back and forth amongst our crew about whether or not to go ahead and cross Buffalo. I heard nothing but a few folks say "I don't care either way" and I immediately knew we were gonna climb it. I really didn't want to do the climb but I wasn't about to speak up against it because I knew deep down inside I would be glad I did once I reached the top. I was just feeling lazy and needed to be pushed. Sure enough, without a vote we all turned right at the base as if some giant magnet inside the mountain pulled us to it. Buffalo is not a huge climb by any means and I've climbed alot worse but mentally I wasn't prepared for it and I didn't really think I was physically either.
I decided to just ride easy take my time and cruise up trying to stay comfortable and surprisingly I felt better than some of the previous times I had climbed it during the summer months.
On the way up as my blood really got pumping all the layers I was wearing really started to get me sweating. I had a feeling descending down the other side was gonna be cold especially if I was covered in sweat. I unzipped my jacket and opened up my jerseys and that seemed to help but I still froze coming down the other side. As we descended Alan decided he was better off sitting straight up on his saddle and crossing his arms around his core to keep it warm taking on the frigid wind. I couldn't have agreed with him more, I hit the brakes, ducked in behind him and made myself as small as possible. I swear it felt 2 or 3 degrees warmer behind my human windbreaker. AC tried the mean face approach as we sped downhill. He mumbled something about getting angry at the cold might scare it away but I don't think it worked out too well for him. I'm not sure if he really thought it would work or if he was just trying to be funny but he stuck with his game plan the whole way down. Maybe I should get Moonshine to show him how a mean face is really supposed to look.
As we cruised into town and back to Knight's I realized that my Hero cam had frozen up and the batteries were shot once again. I knew I had gotten some footage but I wasn't sure how long the batteries actually lasted. Once I got home and reviewed the footage I realized that a road bike video just doesn't have the excitement level as trail footage. There is just something about being in a paceline with a bunch of guys that just ruins a good bike video. No one wants to watch another man's ass as he pedals in front of you. You see, the camera was mounted to my handle bar, alot lower than eye level. I'll probably try it again later in the summer maybe when things get more dicey as the pace picks up and folks start getting racier.