Tuesday, May 13, 2008

39er on the 29er.

I headed up to Tsali to do 39 miles on my Single Speed (SS) to commemorate my 39th Birthday. I over shot it by a mile and a half. The time logged is the total which included picture taking and lunch. That's why it doesn't look to impressive. I stopped starting and stopping the GPS on rides because I always forget to restart the thing.
I headed up there even though there was rain the day before and it did not look to good for a ride that day. It actually cleared up and was sunny and beautiful the whole day. I had a great ride. The long distance on the SS gets the knees to aching after a while. I ran out of water. So, much like I have done in the past I drank out of a creek. I know, I know. I have heard it a million times and guess what a million times I have not gotten sick. I use to do it all the time as a kid and no one ever even heard of Giardia.
Between that and the three ticks I pulled out of my leg I should be layed up for a good long time any day now.
I did the Left and Right loops twice with all the overlooks thrown in. To get the last couple of miles I headed up County Line Rd and took the Right loop bypass back to the parking lot. A mile out I stopped and jumped in the lake. Man the Fontana Lake provides a great end to a ride.

On a ride that long at some point you just settle in and it's like riding in a car. The body takes over and your mind starts to wonder. I ended up thinking a lot about an old friend who died back in the late nineties. It was a different crowd back then and we split riding between Road and the Dirt. DK was a really good rider. Sort of the wing man to whoever was out front. He climbed like no bodies business. He was a hellva guy, funny, and always had the coolest bike. We all drifted apart and started riding with different people. I didn't have to much contact with any of those guys for about a year. I was told David had run in to hard times money wise. Not that he was not making any but, he just spent everything he made. He had payments out the Whazoo. It started to overwhelm him and I guess there were other issues as well. One day he was gone. Just left. Hit the road. No one heard from him for months. I found out through friend that talked to his mother that he had contacted them and said he had had enough and wanted to leave it all behind. He worked some odd jobs in Florida and I think Louisiana before settling in Texas. His Mom said he was working out in a National Forest with some huge Mountain range as a Forest Service something or other. Maybe a Ranger. Probably an assistant. I don't think you can just show up and be a Park Ranger. He lived in the bunk house and still seemed to be in a fairly depressed state emotionally.
About a month later I was called and told there was going to be a memorial service for David. He had died out on the Mountain from a fall. The Rangers found him after he never came back that night from a hike. Apparently it was a very treacherous area where several people had fallen. His body was found down in the rocks below. I felt really really bad when I heard the news. I kind of think about David a lot when I am out riding by myself. How could someone so into Biking/Cycling end up like that? I guess I thought he was like me and had found himself through the Bike. The Bike makes everything alright. Right?
So for 39 yrs young I decided to crank out some hard miles and be thankful for what I have, where I've been, where I'm going, and the friends I've made.
I miss David and his wise cracks and the good times we use to have. Rest in Peace buddy.

Photo stream is here.

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