For the first time since I started riding again, I woke up before my alarm went off. Mind you I was groggy, but I anticipated the alarm and that must count for something. Of course I didn’t get up. I reset the alarm for another 30 minutes of sleep, but it’s a small step. I ended up only sleeping another 10 minutes before I was fully awake and for the first time I turned off the alarm before it went off again.

I was smothered in cats this morning, so it was a real gymnastic effort to untangle myself out from under them. It was wicked cold, so I turned into their favorite person last night. Since I’m usually 10 degrees hotter than Holly, I must have made for a nice tummy warmer.

By the time I made it downstairs and pull the bike out from the garage I was freezing my tail off. I checked and it said the temp was 32 degrees with a real feel of 30. That’s the coldest it’s been yet! I bundled up with double shirts, a jacket, my favorite wool cap and my wool gloves. Still don’t have any tights yet, so it was going to be cold no matter what. 😉

The only thing was that the cold wasn’t my problem this morning, it was my route. I didn’t know which way to go. Part of me wanted to do the 20 mile loop, but another part of me wanted to go to Waffle House. Waffle House was closer and thus a shorter course, but I didn’t have any cash on me, so I had to go to an ATM, which was a good distance away. I was kind of tired of going the same way, so the idea of going to the ATM seemed more exciting, so I decided that this was the route I’d take.

Since the weekends are supposed to be my heavy riding days, I felt like I was taking the easy way out by choosing a shorter route. My original goal was to do 30+ miles on the weekend – ideally up to 50 miles. With the NPUG meeting yesterday and Church today, it just didn’t seem to be in the cards. Since I’m entering my last week for training before the Natchez Trace tour, I needed to do something to make it more like it will be starting on Thursday. My solution? Add weight.

Opening the garage and pulling my bike out, I looked for things that were handy and heavy that I could throw into my panniers. Since I had to empty my Jeep before the turn in, I had a bunch of computer stuff that were readily handy. I grabbed a router still in the box with the power supply, a 24 port switch w/ power supply and a big, thick book on Windows Small Business Server. As best as I could tell, this was about all the weight of what I’ll be carrying on the tour.

Instead of going right on Pettus road, I took a left and then another left onto Richards. At the top of a very steep hill, I took a right on Old Franklin Road and made my way towards the Interstate. The path I was taking was the 20 mile loop had I continued on to Mt. View road, however I made a detour to head towards Bell Road and where all the strip malls are.

My tempo was fairly slow and leisurely. I don’t know if that was due to the cold, or just my light-hearted attitude, but I made my way happily up all the hills albeit a little slower than usual. Juliet was riding like I remember her. With all the added weight, she had a thick and rich feel to her. I felt a bit like J-Lo with all that junk in my trunk. 😉 The best part is that I felt great riding like this again and given the hills I climbed, I’d have to say that if I feel this way when the tour begins, I’ll be ready.

After a stop at the ATM, it was time to make my way to the Waffle House. I called my buddy Dan and tried to talk via a headset while I rode with little or no success. My Samsung I-300 is a POS. I eventually made it to the Casa de Waffle and finally sat down for a bite to eat. I love eating at WH. There’s just something down home and simple about it , plus I really like their food. I was a little concerned about my attire, but that’s another story.

After eating and a little typing on the Dana, it was time to head home and get ready for Church. I made it back with little incident, although a full stomach of 2 eggs, 2 orders of hash browns with mushrooms, onions and jalapenos was a little much on the climbs. It would have been better if I could have let that digest a little more before I started all that climbing. When I got to my street, I popped the chain to the granny gear and made my way up to the top. This is getting to be a bit routine now. I like that. 😀

Although my ride wasn’t long, it was a solid ride and the best I’ve felt yet. I only hope that this isn’t wishfull thinking and that I have a rude awakening waiting for me on the Natchez Trace.

Distance: 14.63
Ride Time: 1:34
Avg Speed: 9.36
Max Speed: 38.5