Regular readers may recall that I’ve been trying to wean myself off of the two-blog habit, having officially “reunited” my non-cycling ramblings from “Riding Two Up” with “The TandemGeek’s Blog” back on January 13th. I’ve done my best to restrain myself but, frankly, given that we’ve been treated to a more traditional,not-so-mild winter the Harley’s not seen much use and that means there aren’t too many bike tales to tell. However, we do expect to see a little V-Twin action on March 17th when Jody & the Boys from “Pretty Twisted” entertain the masses at Killer Creek Harley Davidson’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! In early April we’ll also be teaming up with our friends David & Deb for an epic journey to South Florida and Key West via Harley.
However, while we haven’t been riding the big bike it’s not like we haven’t been riding on the weekends. Thankfully, the weather has been good enough to allow us to venture out on the tandem so we’re getting-in a few miles, but it’s a far cry from the 100-mile weeks we used to enjoy back in the late 90’s through 2010. Sadly, my dear Debbie’s not been 100% of late so our rides have taken on a more relaxed tempo and that has taken some getting used to. Instead of attacking on the hills, we’ve taken to gearing-down and spinning our way up and over the various ridges that dot our local riding loops. Instead of bombing down the hills, it represents a coasting opportunity. Again, it’s quite different from our more traditional “loops dashes”, but far better than the alternative of not riding at all.
As mentioned back on February 3rd, I have taken advantage of the lull in tandem action to rediscover mountain biking. I continue to be amazed at how much I’d forgotten about off-road single bike / mountain bike riding technique during my nearly 10-year hiatus from going solo in the dirt. In fact, I’ve been struck by just how much easier it was to ride the off-road tandem on technical single track than it’s been going it alone on my vintage Ventana Marble Peak! In fact, this past weekend really provided me with a big-time wake-up call when I attempted to do a “double” on Sunday. After getting out on the tandem Sunday late morning and early afternoon I checked in on Facebook to see if our local mountain bike trail was open as I still wanted to do a little more riding, even if that meant going it alone off-road. Unfortunately, and given how much rain we’ve been having our local trails — the Allatoona Creek or Toona Trails — were closed. However, I saw a posting from our good buddy Roger B. wherein he announced he was headed off to Blankets Creek for a mountain bike ride! While I’m still not sure what possessed me, I jumped all over that and made plans to join Roger up at Blankets. It’s a 30-minute trip by car up to Blankets in Canton, Georgia which is also — coincidentally — where you’ll find MTBTandems.com. No off-road tandem for this trip, although there is an ulterior motive in my return to the dirt that does have a tie-in with our not often used Ventana off-road tandem. But, I digress.
Getting back to the trail, Roger met me in the parking lot and we headed off to ride the “Dwelling Loop”, about a 5-mile ride over a nice mix of rolling hills and dense woods stacking up along side various inlets on Lake Acworth. Needless to say, Roger B. was kicking my butt on anything that even looked like a hill. Kinda like Lloyd Bridges in the movie Airplane, I was thinking to myself throughout the ride that, “this was a bad day to start a diet, not bring water and try to do a double ride”. Adding insult to injury, after announcing that I’d hit my quota with the ride around Dwelling Loop Roger convinced me to give another trail a try before heading home. Little did I know what I was in for. What seemed easily like an hour later but was more likely about 30-40 minutes, I finally emerged from the woods a broken man, having had more than my fair share of hike-a-bike on the near-expert / advanced “Van Michael Trail” system. Oh sure, it was only 3.9 miles… of pure hell! Actually, if I was even in moderately good riding form it would have been a complete blast. As it was, about 10% of the uphill was more than my parched thirst and wobbly legs could handle, but the rest of the loop was amazing.
So, while I left the trails with my tail between my legs I remained quite energized by the entire off-road riding thing… again! In fact, in addition to carefully trying to rebuild Debbie’s interest and — dare I say — her enthusiasm for riding off-road on our Ventana tandem, I’ve also been collecting parts and getting ready to build up a classic Dean Scout titanium hard-tail mountain bike for use on our local Allatoona Creek trails. Many of the parts will be donated by my Ventana Marble Peak single mountain bike, at least temporarily, as I try to remember what riding a hardtail single mountain bike is like. If it doesn’t kill me or make me long for the rear suspension on my Marble Peak, perhaps both mountain bikes will get built up and pressed into service. Like I said, I’ve been amazed at how much fun it’s been to steer clear of the roads and less than friendly motorists while enjoying the solitude of the woods!
Let’s see, what else warrants notice from the recent week:
- Ever had a flip-up fuel cover break off in your hand while putting gas in your motorcycle? Well, neither did I until last Tuesday. Thank goodness for duck tape! Were it not for the sticky tape I’m not sure how I would have gotten home this past Tuesday without getting soaked with gasoline. With a little bit of help from eBay, I had a NOS replacement in hand today (Feb 26) and will officially resume my motorcycle commute tomorrow after a nail-bitting week of going without; I really need my daily fix of two-wheeled mental therapy.
- Great times at On The Border on Friday with a whole bunch of friends! Sure, it was purportedly “National Margarita Day” but in our book every Friday is Margarita Day! And this past Friday we had David & Deb on hand, along with a co-worker and his wife and we also visited a bit with Seth and Carole as well as Jeff back behind the bar and our regular cast of support players. There’s just nothing like great company to make a Friday evening special.
- Saturday night saw us meeting up with David & Deb and Loco Willy’s for a light dinner. Yes, we missed our usual place — Olde Towne Tavern & Grille — but once again the company more than made up for it! We had a great time, tasty food and met a few friends who happened to be at Willy’s.
- For Sunday, and after surviving my off-road ordeal, we met up with some other friends for a long overdue dinner out. As you might guess, we met them at Olde Towne Tavern so that we could get our weekly fix-o-friends at Olde Towne, never mind enjoy top-notch service and food! It was another grand time.
Lots of other stuff going on, but I’ll spare you those details. Some of it is captured in other more recent blog entries — selling used equipment & kicking off our 2013 Tour de Cure fundraising activities — while some of it shall remain classified!!
In closing, we’re looking forward to more mild weather and many more miles on the tandem in the coming year. Although we’ll miss the Alabama Tandem Weekend due to our Key West trip, we’re anxiously awaiting a chance to meet up with our tandem family for a weekend or two of riding and enjoying each other’s company, and we’re also looking forward to the Georgia Tandem Rally in May. Between now and then we’ll be checking in on Tandems East’s 2013 Open House in New Jersey towards the end of March, hopefully raising $2000 for the American Diabetes Association and hope to find a few more tandem rallies to fill our dance card for 2013. Oh yeah, and there’s that 20th wedding anniversary thing that we need to find a way to somehow celebrate! Although, I’m not sure how we’ll fit an anniversary celebration into our 20-year long honeymoon!!
Life is Good………