Monday, July 06, 2009

Silver Comet to Chief Ladiga Trail

Rode the Silver Comet Trail on Saturday. Not my normal rides on the trail - rode the whole trail. The family was out for a short hike and a movie. (Ice Age 3 - something I really didn't have to be there for.) They were available for me to call in case of equipment failure - either bicycle or rider - but were planning to meet me at the Georgia-Alabama state line.

The first 20 miles of the trail are pretty well populated, but farther out, it gets to where you might go 10 - 20 minutes without seeing anyone. Didn't pull out the phone until I hit the point on the trail which had been my farthest point until Saturday.

Weather hot-ish, but not oppressive. Not very humid, and there was a nice breeze for most of the afternoon. Lots of stops along the way.

Picked up honey roasted peanuts and chamois butter at the Silver Comet Depot. (4.3 miles) So glad I did, as I'm not sure I'd be able to be sitting at my desk today - two days later - if not for the chamois butter.

Hopped off at The Chain Station in Hiram (14 miles?) for a break, and to grab more water. The breeze kept me from being drenched in sweat, but I'd gone through most of my first bottle. Had a talk with the bike shop owner about rentals while I was there. He has a city tricycle (think that's what it's called - upright, not the low to ground model) which he thinks he should be able to adjust from adult size to accomodate a 10 year old. Might be just the thing to get B2 back on the trail. He's refused to ride since the big wipeout last fall. If we can get him out on three wheels, maybe he'll get over thinking about which bones can be broken in a tumble.

Was extremely happy to roll past the 25 mile marker, between the Pumpkintown Trestle and Brushy Mtn Tunnel. At that point, it went from feeling like just another long ride out-and-back to exploring.

Coots Lake was the next stopping point, at 33-34 miles. Bought a big water to refill one bottle and top off the other, then enjoyed honey roasted peanuts and banana chips before heading back out. Am very glad I installed rear rack. Would have been a tougher trip without it.

Paused in Rockmart, to snap a few photos for sending to the family for my promised updates. (Supposedly to let kids in on the journey, but actually to reassure dad I was still alive & rolling.) They have a beautiful park along the creek (may be a river, but it's a small one), with shops and restaurants just off the trail. I can see this being a good turnaround point after stopping for lunch on future long rides.

Between Rockmart (39-ish) and Cedartown (51) there were remote sections and rolling hills. The trail zig zagged a bit when crossing roads, and this played a part in my "walk of shame" up a hill. Had to go up and over to follow the trail and didn't build up enough speed for the one and only big climb on the trip. Switched to granny gears, stood up in the saddle, and... lost my balance. Had to unclip FAST to get my feet on the ground. No way to get moving fast enough to clip in again, at least not for my clumsy riding style, so had to walk the last half of climb. Made the most of it by pulling out the vitamin water and the rest of the peanuts. (Ugh.) From that point on, it was rolling, so could build up momentum for each climb. Cedartown Train Depot was closed when I got to town, so sent a photo to the family, and kept pedaling west.

The section from Cedartown to Alabama was lovely, but definitely qualified as remote. I think I saw only five people during the last nine miles, and four of them were together. Rode through Gateway Park at the AL-GA state line a little after 4:00. Had gone about a mile down the Chief Ladiga Trail when I got a call from the family. They were back at the last Georgia trailhead. Was a nice lazy ride back to Esom though. Had a chance to snap a photo of Bloo at the Silver Comet Trail side of the gate, in addition to the Chief Ladiga.

62.77 miles in just under 4.5 hours, including breaks. Glad I did it, as it's good to know my legs can take it. If not for my sore seat, thunderstorms, and kids who wanted to play Monopoly, I'd have been out riding again on Sunday.

*Had a chance to listen to several podcasts I'd fallen behind on over vacation. Listened to Gardner Goldsmith's three part series on rights from Liberty Conspiracy (early June), and to the FreeTalkLive episode from June 20th with an hour of Walter Block. They were discussing Block's great book Defending the Undefendable, and it kept my mind quite busy, which probably helped distract me during the tougher part of the ride. Great discussion on "slumlords", in addition to a discussion with a caller about the self-ownership / ethical arguments for voluntary cannibalism. Yes, that's right. Voluntary Cannibalism. (Only something you'd ever hear from diehard libertarians.)

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