Four of us -- Jeff Sammons, Alan Gosart, Barry Meade, and I -- left Brentwood, TN, just after 6:30 am. It was just below freezing and we had an "almost-following" light breeze as we headed down to the first control in College Grove. Jeff said he was having "a slow day," so after a quick snack, Alan, Barry, and I headed on towards Bell Buckle, leaving Jeff to ride by himself.
Yeah, I know -- never leave a man behind. Well, we ain't Navy SEALs.
We kept the Bell Buckle stop brief, too, but stayed a little longer at the turnaround control. This was the George Dickel Distillery, in Normandy, TN, and we all needed to shuck a few layers after the fast metric down. It was not yet 11 am when we got there, so we were on track to finish in nine hours.
We saw Jeff as we were starting back, and offered to wait for him. But he seemed to be enjoying his solo ride (which wrapped up his sixth R-12 award), so we went on. I was now freezing, thanks to riding in wet clothes with less of a wind-break over them, so hammered the 15 miles back to Bell Buckle in an attempt to generate heat. There, I grabbed a hot cheeseburger and french fries, while we sat inside the cafe and tried to dry out and warm up.
The burger was great, but getting back on the road was hard. It wasn't that I was tired, but more that I was freezing again. Of course, my teeth were chattering just sitting there, so the only fix was to get back out there and begin hammering again. We made really good time on the next leg -- probably due to the tailwind we now had -- and moved quickly through the College Grove control. Unfortunately, we left the store just as a train came along.
Barry realized by then that he might make it home in time to watch the Kentucky game, so he sent a text to his wife.
Alan and I just waited. Looking at this photo now, I see that Alan did not have his Camelback on (see the picture above). Five miles later, he realized this and had to go back, leaving Barry and I to finish up.
We didn't quite make it in nine hours, but hadn't really expected to after stopping for a hot meal. It was nice to get in a February 200K, and once again proved the importance of being able to move quickly in and out of controls. In some ways, it's harder since you never get a break. But, if you pace your effort properly, you can avoid those freezing times when you try to get the inner furnace going again.