Monday, January 25, 2010

I Pity the Students, and the Pig

People that climb well can be cruel. This fact was driven home to me Saturday when my "friend" -- who earned quote status by her cruelty -- Vida Greer showed me Pigg Schoolhouse Road.

This is the view from the top. It's not really all that much to see, and I sort of wish that I had taken a picture of the road from the bottom. It would have impressed you. It's one of those roads that, when you come up on it, you think "Wow. That must be some poor bastard's driveway." You know that it cannot be a real road, because that would mean that some government agency would be willing to maintain it, and get trucks and stuff up it, and most vehicles that have wheels -- as opposed to treads, like earth-movers and tanks -- could never climb that road.

But it was not a driveway, and by the time I realized this I was climbing it and did not dare stop.

Some roads, on a bicycle, you have to scoot way forward on the saddle to climb. This is not so much for comfort as it is for weighting, since it's the only way to keep the front wheel from coming up off the pavement. It takes mad skillz to steer a bicycle that way -- Floyd Landis was legendary when he was with U.S. Postal for doing wheelies for a mile, and that's probably what it would be like.

I don't have mad skillz, so my butt was as far forward on that saddle as it would go without me sitting, really, on the top tube.

Obviously, we made it. We then went on to ride just over 100 miles, including a stretch down Carter's Creek Road that actually goes along Carter's Creek.

Every cyclist in middle Tennessee has ridden Carter's Creek Road, but not many of us have seen the creek. Most of us, instead, just ride the portion between Leiper's Fork and Thompson's Station that the county recently ruined by putting rumble strips on the shoulder. The cars now come up behind you and get irritated that you aren't on the shoulder. It's a war of wills -- I recently updated mine so that everything goes to RandoGirl.

Yeah, that was bad.

We rolled north with a tailwind, then beat into the wind to have lunch at Henpeck. You really have to like the food from somewhere if you're willing to fight at 20+ mph headwind for about file miles just to get a bowl of soup.

After Henpeck we went up towards downtown Franklin, and stopped at the Carnton Plantation, mostly because we had decided to become tourists and see the sights. I'd never been there before, and it was pretty neat. It's amazing the stuff that you bike past all the time and never know is there, because you're too busy to stop and take a look.

By the way, that's the new Gran Fondo kit. It probably should not be worn with sandals, since that takes the racing panache out of the equation, but c'est la guerre.

Despite the strong winds, the weather was warm and it never rained on us. I managed to get in over 102 miles, so now I can officially say that I've done my "ride my age on my birthday, or the weekend just before or just after my birthday" thing. And now I know what Pigg Schoolhouse Road looks like. I never saw any pigs, or the schoolhouse, by the way.


  1. Actually, your rule of thumb is ride DOUBLE your age on or around your birthday. (Just didn't want folks thinking you were 102 years old.)

  2. I was wondering about the age thing.

    You guys could be Swamp Thing and Zombie from the photos!!!!

  3. The rumble strips are so you will stay off that stretch of road. Not a smart road to travel on. Very irritating for drivers with you in the way. Have nearly run over many a biker on that road.

  4. Sorry to inconvenience you, Mr. Mous.