Monday, July 9, 2012

July 4th - The Tradition Continues ... Sort Of

 Not much to report here, just documenting for the record that we did another long skate on July 4th.  Fourth year in a row, I think.

Tradition would have dictated a skate from Smyrna, Georgia all the way to Anniston, Alabama, the full length of the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails.  But if you define the tradition as being merely "a ridiculously long skate on the Silver Comet" then I guess we kept the tradition going!

I can't do any better than Sammy did, so here's his report:

July 4th Silver Comet Skate Review: APRR's on the Comet Like Flies on Shit; GI Sam; and Team Stops-A-LotWe had a nice group depart just before 10AM from Tom Blooming's house this morning for the July 4th Silver Comet Skate.  Most of the delay from the hoped-for 9AM start was due to me: (TMI Warning, but Tom feels this is integral to the story, if not THE story, so ...) I got home from Peachtree at 8:25 am and had two bouts of diarrhea before I could get out of the house.  Considered bailing but didn't want to leave Tom hanging.

As it was, by the time I got to Tom's, Brent Minder had made it, as had Mark Day, and Ben Hall, too!  Mark lives by the caboose by mile 14.6 of the Comet in a van down by the river, so he skated in from that lot and turned around at Mavell before stopping at Tom's.  Brent and Ben I think started from Mavell.

So we had a pack of 5 tearing up the Comet at a good clip, about 14 mph, from Mile 1 to Mile 15, where Mark and Ben slowed to turn around and Brent did not get the memo, so he finally turned around a quarter mile later to see he was not where he should be, and then had to chase Ben and Mark down, I think.

Tom and I continued on together.  It was hot and by around 20 miles we were debating whether to cut 10 miles out and turn around at the Coots Lake gas station store.  But was we got closer, with about 5 miles to go, Tom suggested blowing by Coots Lake completely and stopping for lunch at Frankie's italian in Rockmart at the old end of the Comet.
Seemed like a plan!
But wasn't.  Cause Frankie's isn't open on Wednesdays.  Or Tuesdays.  What about Hometown Pizza & Subs (and now Wings) across the street.  No, they are not open on the 4th of July.  Nor was anything else in Rockmart, except the bathrooms in the park.  We thought about crashing one of the picnics but decided we could make it back to Coots Lake and pretend it was a sitdown restaurant.

Back at Coots Lake, we both got Chocolate Milk, Tom got Coke, and  (forget other one), and we sat on the bench outside next to 3 ladies with bikes.

Sharon, Terri, and Angel were fascinated by our wheels and inquired.  I handed them an APRR card (I'm now down to just ONE left, does someone out there have some to give me?)
They also had planned on eating at Frankie's and were similarly disappointed.
They do lots of bike rides, have done BRAG and Sharon remembered the APRR skaters who did BRAG 6(?) years ago.
They called themselves Team Stops-A-Lot, and they were NOT kidding.  They said they are usually the last riders in wherever they go.

They left us at Coots Lake, and Tom and I finished off our beverages before rolling out.  We got about 2 miles into it when GI (Gastro Intestinal) Sam struck again, and I had to pull over in a clearing.  Tom continued on and said he'd wait in the Brushy Mtn tunnel, which is like Air Conditioning!
Speaking of Like Flies on Shit (TMI Warning Number 2, if by Number 2 you have a loose definition of something looser than what you normally think of as Number 2).  Within SECONDS of dropping trow, several flies were already on my pile.  I would not be surprised if some of them even rode it down mid-air.
And yes, Tom insisted this factoid had to make it into the Report.  And no, if he insisted I had to jump off a bridge, I would not do that.  That would be dangerous, this is just gross TMI, although to Tom it is Gross Essential Information.

When I reached Tom at the Tunnel, Team Stops-A-Lot was also there!  They had made it a grand total of 2.6 miles since we saw them last.  To be fair, it was now pouring down rain on the trail.  So we all waited out the storm at the edge of the tunnel.
Tom and I started up again as soon as the rain stopped, but we had wet pavement to deal with for most of the next 10 miles, so we were going as slow as 9 mph for some mile splits.  In fact, we could not even get past Team Stops-A-Lot for several miles due to our lack of traction.

Once it dried up, we managed about 13-14 mph most of the rest of the way.  Just after we reached the heaven that is the asphalt pavement at mile 13 (after 50 miles of grooved cement), we spotted Blake and Elizabeth coming in the opposite direction and stopped to chat and take photos of our 3 RoadSkater.net jerseys.
(On Sale Now -- contact blake, they are awesome!)

Tom was out of water, so we stopped briefly at Floyd Road, even though it was just 3 miles from Tom's.  Better safe, and hydrated, than sorry!

I bet you're sorry you missed this skate, and sorry you read the report!


I would clarify that my other drink was Grapefruit juice.  And Sam would have written everything anyway!!!



And now Blake's report:

notes from the trail...but first in reply to sam's glowing reviews...

ha! if you want one of those jerseys, the deadline is past, but put in the order and i'll ask them to add it and refund if they can't.
http://roadskater.net/RSN2012jerseys.htm available in ROYGBVM and this year's mystery color (latter for $10 less). supersweet 19" zip. comfy wicking fabric. 3 pockets on back. all that. injected with skateylove yes and grateful to be skateful.

now...elizabeth and i did 50 miles rolling out at 2:36p. getting ready in the mile 0 parking lot we both thought it felt hotter than any time we had been there. i had driven in from nc the night before and sleep had to be the first part of training for today. we were looking for tos (time on skates) and to find out who i am (no sorry that's a dixie chicks brain diversion). we had solid water in bottles and skaterade or liquid water in our packs, but not many interesting calories (no good'n'plenty, for example).

after we started i felt i was skating one-sided...not equally from both sides somehow...like i had body slammed a pedestrian, but without the personal gratification of having cleared the trail of some large chunk of debris (jk). it was toasty hot and at 4 elizabeth went in to buy another cold water.

we had decided that no matter what the pace, time on skates is essential to being ready for the fall (tour to tanglewood 2x45, athens to atlanta 87, carolina century 102). it's also calorie burning as elizabeth reminded. and as she did not say, i could use me some o dat.

as we reached 11 we were hoping for that storm to come our way, as by mile 10 it had been sending a breeze to us in advance (the outflow). at the shelter, we met 2 rec skaters (well their equipment was rec) who were finishing their skateyday...first time in 5 years for them. sweet.

at the last long slow uphill on the asphalt we saw sam and tom and yes too variously configured 3 out of 4 skatergraphs. we heard news and told our vague plan and departed. by 13's concrete we still had no rain but the weather had cooled and clouded enough to make everything nicer, except underfoot.

we kept missing the cooling rain, but did get to skate some wet pavement. at 20 we got some very good, cold water at the now-working water fountain at the back of that rest room. this was a huge help and makes me want to go spend some money in dallas, now. there's a home cooking place across the road there. i don't really need my home cooked, as it is pretty hot in there right now, but maybe another day.

we went out to the pumkinvine trestle where the mile markers go wrong by 0.6 mi and kept on skating until both of our gps indicated 25 miles and turned around, almost entirely due to calculations regarding sundown you'd better take care. we were sad to be unable to make it to the tunnel and still have daylight with a margin for safety. but time on skates and calorie burning are good.

coming back we noticed or gave more attention to a couple of things. the flower nursery has expanded and now has an open-air seedling plot on the north side of the trail, and they put in a small shelter with no seats but a water fountain. well...a fountain...the liquid that came out was white, while the water in the dog dish below was clear, so i figured tiny bubbles (no lyrics this time). but i did decided sometimes you've got to stop and smell the water and it smelled like paint so i only drank none of it. (other times, at mile 16, you've got to stop breathing and not smell the water).

oh yeah and coming back over the trestle we stopped for a look and saw a skeleton sitting in a chair at a table under an umbrella near an archery target. yes we did. i guess he died waiting for something to happen out there.

back at dallas we gleefully got more cold water and i changed my socks as the ones i was wearing felt like they might be starting to blister my feet (surely it's not my bad technique ha). so those first pair we now know were a failed experiement. the wal-mart/starter non-cotton standards were much better than the bike ride gift socks, sad to say.

back on the asphalt our hope of survival improved and i had been yakkin about last week's family outing and all the parameters of every event weighed down by decades of decisions about who is what and how their motives are either pure or not. you know, light entertainment. the miles flew by and the pain of skating seemed nothing compared to the love we feel from it...as it can be with family.

so we had missed the rain all day and again were skating on it. at the shelter at 11 we made a brief water stop and were on our way again. we were in mindless repetition mode and remarked how few people we had seen on the trail that day, probably because of how late we started, how hot, then how wet, it was, and because they were enjoying hot dogs and burgers and questionable potato salad as we slogged our way back.

oh yeah...on the supersmooth brief concrete section with new tree saplings we saw a girl skating with bright orange knee high socks wearing the dark green rollerblades with abt brakes i think. she was out with her mom and maybe a brother who was maybe skating in less dramatic attire. so we saw several people on skates, including one skater who called out "aprr" when we went by as we mumbled "uh oh yeah hmm hi!" urr should we go back was that so and so should we go back did they stop we are pretty close to finishing maybe we'd better get to the car.

back at the car we met more people than we expected or intended. there weren't many there but/so they were interested/inquisitive. so we told the we usually do 94 on july 4 story 2 or 3 times. we learned about a woman's triathlon training for an ironman in mexico and about a guy who will be at east point on the velodrome this friday and saturday for some big races.

then we negotiated dinner with tom and settled on los bravos this time and u.s. cafe next. we had a nice time with tom learning some details of his journeys, his visits to various manufacturing sites, and discussing jellybean android and the new asus tablet developed with google jellybead and a 4 cpu processor. as we left we got to see the restaurant's family fireworks show in the parking lot, and craving chocolate milk too late, we rolled home without.


I wish I had known Blake and Elizabeth wanted chocolate milk.  First thing I did after leaving dinner with them was to go to a grocery store to buy milk so I could make chocolate milk at home!!!

The Rainbow Jerseys!


Brushy Mountain Tunnel and Team Stops-A-Lot


Sammy writing a Facebook Update: "Waiting out a storm at Brushy mountain tunnel on the comet with tom blooming on our way back from rockmart. Did not buy any rocks. Save yourself the trip. And Frankie's was closed so no lunch."


And Sammy took a picture of me at the Tunnel.