God I suck at this blogging thing; I often mean to post but often forget or get busy or just don’t care.
Anyway, for the 4th year in a row I made a pilgrimage to Greenleaf during Christmas vacation. Knock on wood I haven’t been sick in a long time and am able to take my sick leave during this week. In years past my goal was to ride everyday and actually accomplished this goal for 3 running years but the last 2 haven’t been able to, but I’ve at least kept the tradition of a Greenleaf ride, and it’s getting tougher every year.
As usual I rode the lollipop in a counter clockwise rotation to minimize the amount of hill climbs (hike-a-bike’s for me) and to maximize the amount of killer downhills. However this year’s most smiles for the miles route wasn’t too hot. While Greenleaf wasn’t hit by the recent ice storms that destroyed Turkey and Keystone they were devastated by last years ice storms that crushed Muskogee; meaning there were still LOTS of trees down. Seemingly every opportunity to open it up and let ‘er rip on the downhills was interrupted by a downed tree, often every 200 yards or so. The dismount/remount tally between getting off to hike-a-bike and dismounting to get over or around the downed trees easily added up to over 100 and it fucking sucked! But compared to my riding partner Stacy I fared really well. At the 40% completion point he realized his knees were giving up on him and by the time we finished they were swollen and killing him; I actually felt sorry for the poor bastard. (I’ll get over that I’m sure.) The only problem I had was cramping in an odd spot; just above my knees on both sides. They got so bad at one point; about 400 yards from the finish, that I had to dismount and just stand. The pain had got so bad that I couldn’t pedal or walk, just stand there looking like an idiot; not that there was anyone around to see me but humiliating just the same.
As is typical of Greenleaf outings, when you first leave you think “screw this place, I ain’t ever coming back”; but after a few days the memory fades and you think “hell yeah, I can’t wait to get back there!” My passion to return is stoked by the memory of the final downhill section, it’s about a 3 minutes downhill that’s super rocky/technical white knuckle steep in one section and what Greenleaf is all about for me. I just need to buy one new replacement part for the Heckler and I’ll be good to go.
Try climbing hills with that pedal! I think this was part of the reason I cramped; while the often lauded great mud shedding capabilities of the eggbeaters was improved by 25% it made the clipping in possiblities decrease by 25% too; and it ALWAYS was in the wrong position when trying to remount.
I’m already looking forward ‘til next year.