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Georgia On My Mind
May 2003

Day 9 part 2

Cherohala is a real delight. I'd say it’s my favorite. There's something about the rhythm and flow that I feel when riding it. One curve leads into another, well-spaced, good radius, good momentum. It just feels very good.

Cindy has chosen to ride at a slightly more relaxed pace this morning (she's enjoying the magnificent scenery) and I don't want to pass her. It just doesn't feel like the polite thing to do. And so I settle in behind, matching her rhythm - another of the many ways to enjoy riding.

This type of flow matching is also something I enjoy doing in downhill skiing. If my involvement is less than intense, I find that closely pacing a fellow skier and synchronizing my turns to their rhythm can be very satisfying.

As we ride up 129 towards Deals Gap we suddenly come up to a detour. We find significant road damage caused by the recent flooding. The detour takes us over an unpaved dirt road that has all the sinewy character of route 129 i.e. sharp changes in elevation, tight ascending corners, descending corners etc.

It goes on like this for a several miles. The surface varies from dry packed dirt, to gravely, to slightly muddy. But with a little care, it's suitable for just about any bike.

Cindy (having a dirt bike at home) seems quite comfortable. Carol and I occasionally stand on our pegs as we traverse rough or washboard surfaces. It's hot and somewhat dusty and we go on like this for a ways.

We finally arrive at Deals Gap and find a small gathering. It's now quite warm and Cindy decides to stop for some cool refreshment. Carol seems a little fidgety, like a horse chomping at the bit. She wants to run the Gap, now.

It turns out that she's been casing the joint, so to speak, and has spotted a window of opportunity where she expects a clean run with little interference.

I suggest she go alone. Riding the Gap is a perception thing. Hormones can activate and intensity levels can escalate. I would rather we do it separately, that we each do our own run. Off she goes. I give her a good five-minute lead and follow out.

The Tail of the Dragon is quite pleasant today. The sun is out and the road is very clean with only the occasional debris. Compared to most roads that we've been on lately, it's exceptionally clean.

This is going to be a long day and so I'm running it at about 6/10ths intensity, which feels about right. At this level, I'm enjoying it fully. Just letting it happen.

As I get close to the end I seek out a secluded place where I can take a break and temporarily hide from the relentless sun. I find just what I'm looking for and park under tree canopy, maybe 15 feet from the road.

Behind me stands an old wooden fence and behind the fence lies a trickling brook. This is a perfect vantage point to see riders go by and yet be out of harms way.

I enjoy the cool breeze under shade as I sip a drink from my tankbag. This is certainly an enjoyable moment and I savor it for a good 20 minutes.

I'm back at the Crossroads of Time and meet the girls on the balcony. They're finishing some refreshments and chatting with other riders. I walk up to them and proclaim that I finally got my ya-yas out! They get a good chuckle.

I'm not sure what ya-yas are, but there's a live album titled "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out" (from the early 70's) by the Rolling Stones that intuitively came to mind. Somehow, it seems to fit.

Montreal, Canada

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