The annual Six Gap Century in Dahlonega, on the last Sunday of September, essentially marks the end of my cycling “season” every year. It’s touted as being one of the toughest centuries (i.e. bike rides of approximately 100 miles or more) in the Southeast US. I used to definitely think of it that way, the toughest… at least until this year. As I sit here, just a week out from this year’s event, that’s not the case anymore, a conclusion from my hard riding season. I’ll be honest. I’m tired. Physcially, mentally, emotionally exhausted. In my own little head, my tagline for this year is “Digging Deep”. Deep because I put myself further out on the edge than ever before: edge of my physical ability, probably edge of what’s considered normal and healthy, maybe even edge of my own sanity. And I liked it, every exhilarating, beautiful, painful, and suffering minute of it. My wife definitely (and I’m sure many of you too) think “well that’s just not normal”. It’s maybe not for everyone, but I now couldn’t imagine not taking myself down very deep every once in a while. I’ve had some incredible adventures, seen and experienced things I never would have had I not tried, and met some truly incredible people.
I know some of you may enjoy reading my “race reports” on FaceBook (well, maybe it’s really only me, but I enjoy putting the thought into them and occasionally rereading them to remember). Technically, almost none of these writings is truly a “race” report, just chronicles of how it went down for me that day, with additional diversions into other parts of my life. I have to apologize though, to those that may enjoy reading them. I ended up writing only a single one during the 2011 cycling season, that for The Assault on Mt Mitchell. I got a little taxed for time as the season went on with “life” issues, and maybe even got a little lazy. I also got some cool new little video point-of-view (POV) cameras. I ended up essentially using and relying on them to tell the tales through pictures and movies. I thought it was fun, but unfortunately it doesn’t record the thoughts in my head, which are already starting to fade today. I’ll attempt to go back and recapture some of that here. Of course, I’ll probably also try to make a “Year in Review” movie too. It’ll follow shortly.
The movie versions of some of the rides are (or will be) hosted up on a public website called Vimeo, a competitor to YouTube’s domination and “creativeness stifling” iron fisted ruled over digital copyrights (hey, none of this stuff is for sale, in fact, if anything, I may have generated more sales for the content owners, but I diverge). My little channel out in cyberspace is at: http://vimeo.com/channels/hacksaw
As a cautionary note to the uninitiated reader of my ramblings, you may want to take a pee break, get a drink, possibly even fix a snack. This is the first of a series of 18 posts which documents my 2011 season (of cycling events primarily), which combined, form a little novella. My last read through took me quite a while to complete, for sure more than 30 minutes. Now I’m admittedly a painfully slow reader. My wife can attest that I’ve been known to take months, maybe even a year or more, to read a book. Ridiculous I know, but nonetheless, my straight read through took something longer than you’re probably ‘gonna finish while standing in line at Kroger (or riding down the 75/85 connector in Atlanta, hopefully not while driving yourself). As such, I’ve broken her down into chapters instead of being one continuous rolling blog entry, my way of saying thanks for reading but not making you suffer through it all in one sitting. I could also simply say, thanks. So, thanks 🙂
One more cautionary, maybe even pre-apologetic, note. I’ve given a couple of you potential readers a name here, a character name. Hopefully you won’t be offended with any of them. My intent is by no means hurtful but instead, to give you anonymity (although, likely, some locals will be able to figure out who-is-who) or is just a reflection of some of my feelings / impressions / interpretations of you. I took me nearly a year to come up with “Diesel” as a name for Dougie. I also went through Dynomite and a slew of others that never made it into the public before that one revealed itself to me. It’s gonna stick I’m pretty sure. For some characters, I’ve been able to use initials. T.A., for instance, rhymes with B.A., “bad-ass”, which he is, so I kept it. Then there are some totally new characters, such as “Sweet Pickles” (AKA Sweet P), so named because she is a very nice, or sweet, and because I was able to introduce her to the power of the pickle (okay, keep it between the lines here, you just stepped up to the plate at tee ball game, its too easy). “Power of the Pickle” refers to this innocuously little condiment’s ability to save you from cramps while riding, to give you salt and vinegar when you’re deep into a ride as you’re body attempts to become small, curling up into a big ‘ole ball of cramp (the m is important). Pickles really help when going out really long on the bike (probably run too, haven’t seen it on the swim yet, though they do float, maybe you could tether some pickles behind when swimming on a little string? I don’t think people would try to draft you in the water with a string of pickles trailing behind.). “Killing Me Softly” is a another new one too. She says “pardon me” and “thank you” as she’s kickin’ your tail, never showing signs of struggle or pain even though she must be experiencing it (surely, but I’m not positive on this one) with the types of effort she can put out. Anyway, by all means, if any of these has offended, please let me know. I’ll fix it immediately.