Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Recovery Permanent

Having had a full day off the bike Saturday -- when RandoGirl, Jeff Bauer, and I drove back from Natchez -- I thought that I was fully recovered and ready to ride a permanent Sunday. We did the Music City 200K.

I was wrong -- I was tired. Fortunately, the weather was so good that it didn't matter, and we had a great time.

This route is part of the Music City Double Century, which the ultra-distance group of the Harpeth Bike Club ... well, mostly Jeff Sammons ... ran for a few years. Jeff would put this on in March, and every time the weather would turn terrible for it. Once, it snowed. Another time, it just rained cats and dogs. The best weather that this ride had, the wind was blowing a blue gale. Finally, last year, Jeff decided to stop hosting the double century and turn this part of the route into a permanent. The old double century route is also available as a permanent, if 126 miles is not enough.

Of course, we now have 14 permanents here in Tennessee, not to mention six more that Kevin Warren manages out of Hopkinsville, KY, just over the state line. Suffice to say that we got it pretty good here, permanent-wise.

Another Starbuck's Start

The Music City permanent starts at the Starbuck's in Pasquo -- just like the Natchez Trace Northern Terminus. Dog Meat also starts at a Starbuck's, but over in Brentwood.

A Starbuck's start is great when it's cold. You get to hang out somewhere warm and drink espresso before the ride begins, while you fill out any paperwork, and then you get to drink a hot chocolate when you finish and sign brevet cards.

Jeff Sammons, Jeff Bauer (no relation), Peter Lee, and I were riding the permanent. We were joined at the start by Bill Glass and David Collings, who rode up to Ashland City with us.

It was cold when we rolled out, and the fog over the Cumberland River was heavy enough to cause a couple of us to switch on our rear lights as we went up River Road. Since it was so early, the traffic was light -- always a consideration on this busy stretch. A few months back, a state official who lived on this road had tried to get cyclists banned from it. That didn't work out too well for him.

As we got going, it struck me how weird my Lynskey felt. After wresting with the Co-Motion tandem and all of our gear for 560 miles the previous week, a nice light single felt twitchy.

Not Quite a Furnace Out There

By Ashland City we had warmed up enough to take off some layers. By the time we went past the Cumberland Furnace Railroad Depot, it was over 60 degrees.

The rivers were up from all the recent rain, and the foliage was just about peak.

Here we are heading towards the Pinewood Store. It was in this stretch that Jeff Bauer had three flats.

Jeff Sammons was on his new Salsa Casseroll triple, by the way. He had ridden it at the Watertown 200K the previous Saturday, and has been enjoying it a lot, although he may add another spacer to the headset.

After going thru Lyles, we were bucking the north wind on a number of roads, although we continued to make good time.

Finally, we passed thru the Kingston Springs control and hit familiar roads for the last 10 miles.

We had one last adventure on Poplar Creek when a fellow on a motorcycle with his wife mis-judged the angle of the turn from South Harpeth and fell over. They were going very slow and were not hurt, but needed help getting the bike back up. We all pitched in and got him upright and on his way. I told him that we are all two-wheeled brothers out here.

In spite of the good samaritanism and flats, we still finished in just under nine hours. I was tired and sore, but the Lynskey didn't feel twitchy any more.

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