I didn’t ride like I had intended yesterday morning. I chalked it up to the fact that it was Monday and Monday’s are always hectic. Yesterday was also another misty morning, so I was extra sorry that I didn’t get a chance to ride. 🙁 Determined more than ever to ride the next day, I set my alarm for 5:30am and went to bed early at 11:30pm.

When 5:30am came around my determination was clouded from the sugar plums dancing in my head, but I was lucky enough to have the presence of mind to realize that the sun hadn’t come up yet. So I reset the clock for 6:00am. When six came, I hit the snooze for those precious 5 minutes of extra sleep, but when I laid back down my mind started to sputter back to life. As I laid there about to drift back to sleep, that 7 year old voice inside me starting screaming that we had to go cycling. It was as if I had forgotten today was Christmas. Before the alarm went off again, I was up and putting on clothes.

Ten minutes later, I was on the bike and coasting down the hill. I was wearing a long sleeve t-shirt with another t-shirt on top of that, my rain jacket and a cyclist’s cap. As the sun peeked over the treetops, I could still see a faint mist over the hollows down below. That vision was cut short by the fact that my fingers, ears and face starting stinging from the cold. The sun had not burned off the mist yet and it was quite cold. According to the little thermometer on my jacket pull, it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrr Note to self: wear wool cap tomorrow and find some wool gloves.

When I reached the entrance of the subdivision, I wanted to stop and warm up just a bit, but there were some kids waiting for the bus, so I decided to keep pedaling up to the top of the first hill. Falling while trying to unclip from my cleats was not something I wanted to do in front of a bunch of school kids. As I made my climb three things became apparent. 1. I forgot to lube my chain after spraying off the mud on Sunday and it was squeaking like an old rusty bucket. 2. My legs were gone. They felt like two stumps. I didn’t stretch before or anything and they felt like dead weight. The small climb on the first hill actually hurt. 3. My ass was tender from Sunday’s ride. 🙂 As I stopped to warm my hands and have the sun warm my body a little, I realized that I was in for a little pain this morning. There was nothing I could do about it other than just ride on and hope for the best.

My goal today was to find a 10 mile loop. Sunday’s ride was challenging, but a little short. I needed to extend the loop by about 5 miles. I started the same way as Sunday – down Blue Hole road to Petus. Right on Petus to old Hickory. Left on Old Hickory, but instead of continuing down Old Hickory, I veered right on Culbertson Road and rode along Mill Creek. It was a spectacular morning. With the sun rising slowly and igniting the fall foliage that is just beginning to come into full bloom, I forgot all about the cold – the colors alone were enough to warm me. Riding next to Mill Creek, there were patches of mist hovering over the water, putting the creek into soft focus. It’s times like these that I’m reminded why I ride.

Culbertson eventually led me to Nolensville Road where I took a left and climbed my way South to pickup Petus. I know this sounds confusing and without a map it can be. 🙂 Hanging a left of Petus I began a slow climb up to a big climb where I had to bail and walk. Without an inclinometer, I can’t give you the exact pitch, but it’s a steep climb up that hill. As I walked slowly up the incline pushing my bike, I was reminded of the fact that walking your bike isn’t that much easier than riding it up a hill. It’s still work and it’s still difficult. The only real difference is that you don’t usually fall down if you go too slow when you walk. Especially if you’re using cleats.

After walking about 3/5th of the way up the hill, I began riding again. The grade was much less and riding was easier than walking. As I slowly made my way to the summit, I looked to my right and saw a breathtaking view of the cumberland valley and hills below. Note to self: bring a camera for next ride.

All-in-all it was a great ride in spite of my performance. The only way I know how to improve is to keep riding, so I’ll be doing it all over again tomorrow. 🙂

Distance: 10.03 miles
Ride Time: 0:58:21
Average Speed 10.39 mph
Maximum Speed 36.0 mph