Sunday, May 08, 2011
Had a great day, yesterday, riding in the 3 State/3 Mountain Challenge. It's a one day bicycle ride sponsored by the Chattanooga Bike Club. There is a short, 25 mile family ride, a 62 mile metric century that climbs one mountain, and the Grand Daddy of them all...the full 100 miles that climbs 3 mountains.
This year, they had to modify the full century. It normally passes through Trenton, Georgia to climb the final mountain. Trenton was wiped out last week by the horrible tornadoes. The organizers decided it would not be a good idea for hundreds of bikers to be prancing past people who just lost everything they own. So, the route was cut down to 2 mountains and a LOT of big stinger hills.
I opted for the metric route. It climbs Suck Creek Mountain (gotta love the names in the south!) It's a 5 1/2 mile climb near the beginning of the ride and then you get to enjoy some nice rolling countryside.
Attendance this year was about 1500-1600 riders. Here's are some pictures from the start. It's exciting to line up in such a large group.
This is the front half...
and this is the back half.
Here are my Girlies and me, before we started.
The weather was pretty cold to start, only in the 40's. The forecast was for temps in the 60's for most of the ride time, ending the day in the 70's. You had to dress for quite a spectrum.
Approaching the Tennessee Aquarium on a crisp morning.
Twisting through downtown Chattanooga, before heading out of town.
Entering the tunnel on Cherokee Blvd.
Getting closer to Suck Creek Mountain.
Climbing, climbing, climbing....
This is Elizabeth and me, waiting at the top of the mountain for our friends. The ride down the mountain was FREEZING! My fingers and toes were numb by the time I got to the bottom.
The rest stops of this ride are well stocked with food and porta potties. We tend to stay a little too long visiting with people, but that's the fun part for us. We're not in it to see how fast we can finish. We're there to have a fun day.
I love riding on this bridge, which crosses Nick-a-Jack Lake. (Again with the funny southern names.)
Here's my friend, Cindy, getting back to Finley Stadium. What a great ride!
After we finished, we cheered for our friends that finished after us.
It was such an awesome day! Perfect weather, lots of camaraderie, no flats, no crashes and tons of fun!
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Well, as you've all seen on the news, the south was hit with unbelievable storms. I live east of Chattanooga. We had 4, (yes, 4!) F-4 tornadoes rip through our county, along with many small tornadoes, high winds and hail. It was about 12 hours of storm waves that just kept coming.
We survived, which is more than over 300 people can say. We didn't have any damage to our home or even a branch down in our yard, which is more than thousands of newly homeless people can say.
There are entire subdivisions that are wiped out. Businesses are gone. There are still areas that are closed to only residents. Along with those went peoples' jobs. It's strange, though. You drive a block away and it looks like nothing happened.
There has been a lot of aid. (None from FEMA, yet, in my county.) Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches, businesses...they are all helping. People are jumping in and helping complete strangers sift through what's left of their belongings. It's heartwarming.
We were without power for 2 days. Living in the country, that meant that we didn't have water from our well, either. We had to be creative. The creek in the back yard gave me a place to wash my hair. We brought up buckets of water to flush the toilets. A friend loaned us a generator to run our freezer and refrigerator. I brought my mom's food over to our house, and my neighbors brought theirs over, too. (I also learned( the hard way) not to grab the muffler of the generator!!! Ouch!!!)
On top of all this, I still had to go to work (dental office.) It was interesting, trying to put on makeup by candlelight and trying to keep from smelling funky. People came in with story after story of survival or death.
So, throughout all this, diet and exercise took a back seat. A few pounds came on from nervous, stress induced eating. But now.....I'm back! The last few days have been good, healthy eating days. Tomorrow starts a weekend full of biking, including the annual 3 State/ 3 Mountain Challenge in Chattanooga. (I only do the metric which is 2 States/ 1 Mountain.)
This is one of the many relief efforts going on in the area.
It's so easy for my life to return to some normalcy. I wish it could be that way for everyone.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Yeah, me!!! I've biked 1,000 miles this month...so far!
It almost didn't happen today. I was supposed to go to Chattanooga to help sort through and organize the jerseys for the 3 State/3 Mountain Challenge, coming up on May 7th. I drove almost 20 miles before I got the phone call that our task was rescheduled for a different day. I wheeled my car around and started planning my bike ride as I returned home. Severe storms were headed our way and the wind was blowing strong, so I wondered if I'd get in a dry ride.
This is what the sky looked like as I pulled out of my driveway.
As I rode along, the sun actually peeked out. The wind was still strong, but I've noticed that it's not as difficult to fight it after riding all month. I actually had a pleasant, dry ride.
Here are some things I saw along the way:
These are some pretty, typically southern houses in Cohutta, GA.
This flooding is the result of some busy beavers near Red Clay State Park. A big snake slithered under one of the rocks on the side of the road as I neared the water.
This pretty pasture scene caught my eye.
Here is my victory photo!!! It took a few tries to aim my camera right, set the timer and run over to lift my bike.
My biggest fan was there to cheer for me when I pulled into the driveway!
It may sound strange, but during the last 6 miles of my ride, I actually got teary eyed. I was thinking of the past month and everything I've seen and experienced. It's been a great adventure. There have been a lot of laughs, sites, friends, smells, and memories that I will never forget. My legs feel like they're made of steel. They are strong and lean. They can take me anywhere and do anything.
I ended this adventure the same way I started it 26 days ago...by myself. Just a kid on a bike. Life sure is good!!!
Monday, April 25, 2011
I've been having internet problems lately....so I'm going to try to finish this half finished blog this morning!
981.4 miles down, 18.6 to go!!!
Not quite yet....what a tease!
Today, I had a million things to do. I work out of my house, so I spent the most of the day in my jammies, sitting in my office. Got a lot done, though. After working, ,my plan was to run some errands on my way to Chattanooga to do the Beginner's Bike Ride.
I got to the ride an hour early on purpose. I figured I could get a few extra miles in. I started on the North Shore, cut through Renaissance Park along the river, stopped to take a picture of the kids playing in the fountain, crossed the river on the Walnut Street Bridge and jumped on the Riverwalk for an out and back ride.
Here are some pictures:
Here's a picture of the South Shore from the North Shore.
The days of floating down the Mississippi are done for the Delta Queen. She's now a hotel and restaurant, permanently docked.
I love watching the kids play in the fountain at Coolidge Park. (I've been known to run around in there, too!) The building behind houses a carousel that is open year round.
Crossing the Walnut Street Bridge. It's open to pedestrians and bicycles only.
This unique glass bridge crosses Riverside Drive to the Hunter Art Museum.
Someone was watching me ride down the Riverwalk.
A rowing team was out practicing on the Tennessee River.
Now, the second part of my ride was the Beginner's Ride. I usually don't do this ride because it's a long drive for a short ride. Tonight was different. I knew Nikki, MCDOWN75, was going to be there and I wanted to ride with her.
Here's Nikki, cruising with a tailwind!
There was a hill that she had to walk up last week. Well, this week she kicked some hill butt!
Woot Woot!!! Queen of the Hill!
We rode a route known as the "Poop Loop" because it passes the sewage treatment plant. It's a reasonably flat route that is popular with cyclists. You're riding in the city, but there is a lot of wildlife, too.
We saw a couple deer along the way and they weren't even afraid of us.
When we got back to our cars, we stood and talked for quite a while. It's so nice to meet sparkfriends in person!
Not a lot of miles in today, but it was a fun evening of riding.
Well...I only need 18.6 miles. With another full schedule and severe storms moving in, I might not get it today. We'll have to see if I can squeeze in a little over an hour of riding somewhere in there!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
966 miles down, 34 to go!!!
I'm soooo close!
Today, I had to set my alarm to make it to the ride. It was an hour drive to get up to Soddy Daisy, TN, where the ride started at 9am. There were 8 of us on a beautiful Easter morning. We rode from Soddy Daisy up to Dayton, TN, passing through little towns called Bakewell, Sale Creek and Graysville. It's a beautiful area, right along a mountain range. Needless to say, there are a lot of hills in this area. It's one of the best places to ride around here.
Now, I hate getting up in early in the morning, but look what I would have missed if I would have slept in!
The Easter Bunny visited Cindy's car and left us a bunch of goodies.
Coming up on Sale Creek Campground.
Pictures never seem to do justice to hills, but here's an example of some we climbed:
At this point, I was about halfway up. These are the people behind me...
and these are the people ahead of me. It just keeps going and going...
Looks like a giant chicken must have been laying some eggs in their yard!
Fixing Joe's flat
Here's a picture of a beautiful farm, nestled at the base of the mountains.
There was a new guy, named John, on the ride today. While I was riding, I noticed his tatoos and wondered what the stories were behind them. He has turned his body into a living memorial to some loved ones.
This one is for his brother-in-law, who was killed in a car accident.
And this was his little sister, who was killed by a drunk driver. How sad. These are reminders to enjoy everyday you have on this earth and appreciate everyone and everything around you.
Having said that.....the sky was blue, the wind was in my face, the sweet smell of blackberry blossoms was floating through the air and butterflies were skittering around. What a beautiful day to be alive!
Hope you all have a great Easter!
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