Thursday, June 4, 2009

First timer on the parkway

I forgot to bring a camera, so no group picture
These are pictures from another night

Last night was a special night for the Pilot group. Not only did we get to ride the Parkway, well everyone except Kenny, but we also got the chance to introduce a fairly new rider to the best ride in Tn.All afternoon the weather looked great, I swear the radar was clear!

But as we started to turn the cranks, a black cloud moved in over us. I know everyone was thinking oh shit!

Wait, I also forgot to mention Phillis once again disappeared around lunch time. I think he was under the impression we were going swimming at lunch.
We just rolled off like there was no rain. That is what Micheal, our radar man in Townsend, reported. (Clearing skies, no rain) if I remember right. The first 2 miles the rain gods just spit at us. the next 5 miles they pissed on us. So hard, Kenny lost his balls and didn't ride. He was sure that in any second hail the size of golf balls would be pelting us. Ha, we laugh at hail Lacey said as we continued climbing. Lacey couldn't understand why so many body parts were beginning to hurt. I told her, this is a night of many firsts. How true that turned out to be. Good news, as we crested the first climb about 4.5 miles in, the rain stopped and amazingly enough, we were riding on dry pavement. The rain had not even touched over half of the parkway. We decided to descend easy to help with the leg recovery. As we began to climb the next section, strange noises began to come from Lacey. At first I was worried there was a wounded animal in the weeds. Then I realized It was out former D1 athlete putting some strength in her legs. I wasn't sure at that point if she would make it to the top. I told her not to give up or I would be forced to call her old teammates and tell them she quit while riding a bicycle. She growled at me and began a nice even cadence. Well that was until a car coming down slowed and politely told us a bear was walking around up ahead and we should be careful. At this point, Lacey, who has lived in Knox since August and not yet visited the GSMNP looked at me and said, "Are you shitting me, did they say a bear?" I have rode this route 30 or so times and have never seen a bear. A couple times a year the camp ground at the top get visits. I tried to calm her nerves and explain the park is full of bears and I had seen many on rides and hikes. Leave the bear alone, and he will leave you alone. That is the rule, and that means do not eat where there are bear. Anyway, we began climbing the last 2 mi section and she forgot all about the bear.
Not the best night for views of the Smokies, but on the way down we had spectacular views of why they are called the Smokies.
This ride was special, I remember just a few short years ago, I had those same butterflies in my gut I know our new friend Lacey had last night. She set two PR last night with as the Garmin recorded 27.50 miles and a time from Coulters bridge to Look rock of 1:21:03
PS: Lacey already beats 3 out of 4 of us in the pool. I am not sure it is a good idea to get her legs strong, she just might beat a couple of us in the next Tri.
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1 comment:

  1. I saw the bear. He was on the last downhill section before the top...I came around the bend and he was in the middle of the road walking towards me.
    BTW - it was clearing at 4:30 - you are the one that sent out the radar link!