Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Too Early

For most people, February is too early for the first century of the year. This past weekend, RandoGirl did her first century of 2011, stoking our tandem on the Silver Comet Trail.

Most cyclists in Atlanta, GA, know about the Silver Comet. Like all rails-to-trails, it is a multi-use trail built on an abandoned railroad bed. If you've never ridden one of these, they are nice and flat (since trains did not do a good job "revving up" to get over hills back in the good old days). They are also fairly straight, pass through a lot of open country, and then come into the center of quaint old towns.

For example, here's the view from the trail as you enter downtown Cedartown.

Cedartown, however, gives you a mixed message.

"Welcome, cyclists. You are being watched." Like George Orwell is running the Department of Tourism there.

Anyway, RandoGirl and I drove down to Hiram, GA, Friday night. We were there with a dozen other cyclists from the Nashville area -- all Harpeth Bicycle Club members. We only rode with a few of them, and that for somewhat short stretches, but that's another of the beauties of a rails-to-trails -- we didn't need to stay together to avoid getting lost or fix one another's flat tires. Everybody is free to just get on the trail, head either east or west, go as far as they felt like, and then turn around and come back.

Of course, RandoGirl and I had a goal. We wanted to go all the way to Alabama.

The trail continues in Alabama, although there it is the Chief Ladiga Trail. This trail then goes all the way to Anniston, AL, making it almost possible to ride back-to-back centuries using the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails all the way one day, and then biking back on the next day.

We didn't have the time to go to Anniston, however, so we stopped at mile marker 4 in Alabama.

Some Eagle Scouts were out working on their "50 Mile Biking" badge, and the scoutmaster took our picture. Then, we turned the bike around, mounted back up, and went back to the state line for a picnic.

Yes, that is wine. We had two bottles -- a white and a red. We had sourdough bread, two kinds of meat, two kinds of cheese, crackers, and grapes. I had cups and napkins, too, and a nice Mickey Mouse beach blanket to use as a tablecloth.

We were swanky!

I'd originally packed all of this knowing that it was possible -- albeit unlikely -- that we would end up doing this picnic with a bunch of our Harpeth friends. Since we got separated from them during the course of the trip, RandoGirl and I ended up eating a really big picnic.

You may also notice that RandoGirl and I are just wearing shorts and jerseys in these pictures. This is because it got up to about 70 Saturday afternoon. I had to hide my legs, though, because they have not been shaved since October, and I am hideously hairy.

We enjoyed a light tailwind on the way back. We ripped through Cedartown, but stopped in Rockmart. RandoGirl and I were in the mood for ice cream, but decided to instead have cheesecake and a cannoli, respectively, at Frankie's there.

Yeah, we were hungry and couldn't wait long enough to take a picture.

Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli.

The trail was pretty busy as we continued on towards Atlanta, with people out walking, running, biking, and generally enjoying nature. We slowed down as we approached our hotel, hitting an even 100 miles as we got off the trail for the road back to the hotel.

This was the earliest in the year that RandoGirl had ever done a century, and we had exceptional weather for it. I told her that, by doing one this early, she had laid the base for dozens more just like it in the coming months. If I had said that as we finished some of the first centuries of the year, she would have hit me in the head -- this time, she just agreed.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy the 300K Saturday. I do not think I will jinx it, but the weather will be near perfect.

    Give George a hard time for me. Tell George some stories of your writing days in the mistake by the lake. I bet George will give you a few stories from his adventures.