Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mail Run


20 years or so ago, my old friend Sam Poynter stared the Mail Run.  The Mail Run was always around the end of the year.  The weather was (almost) always terrible.  The ride was long and grueling and fun in a perverse sort of way.  The chance of getting wet, lost, bonked, finishing in the dark and having a blast laughing about it were very high.  In other words, it was always a ride you would remember for a long time.

Well, Sam doesn't ride a lot anymore and no longer does the Mail Run.  Scott Grisom has taken on the task of the Mail Run organizing.  On Monday Dec 27th we had the 2010 Mail Run at Big South Fork.  Between the announcement of the ride and the actual ride time BSF got about 6" of snow.  I wasn't sure we could even get to Bandy Creek or if Scott and the Middle Tn folks could make it.

An announced 10:00 start ended up being closer to 10:30.  The parking lot was hard to walk on.  Ice was all over where the snow had been cleared.  11 hard men started down the gravel headed towards Grand Gap.  It was probably around 20* at the start.  That's pretty damn cold but it also keeps the snow frozen and not wet which feels warmer than say 34* and mush. 

The conditions were surprisingly good.  The gravel portion was quite cold but once we hit the single track it was comfortable.  For those of you who wonder how to dress for this...long sleeved wool undershirt, std cycling jersey, EWR wool jersey (Epic Ride Mafia version), mid weight fleece, Pearl Izumi shell, wind blocker fleece tights with std shorts, wool socks, neoprene shoe covers, knit cap, my new winter gloves and a bandana to cover my face.  About a mile into the single track I peeled the bandana off my face, the shell went in a pocket and I switch the heavy gloves for midweights.
It ended up being a great ride with some fun people.  Clay Mayfield did his first snow ride as well as his first BSF ride.  Jason Collins came and rode as well.  Scott brought a Middle TN crew.  I only had time to ride Grand Gap/John Muir and back on the gravel but Scot and his crew did an out and back going both ways on GG/JM.  My ride ended up around 22 miles and Scott's was closer to 33.

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Grand Master Clydesdale

Riding my bike makes me feel like I'm 10 years old again. I'm 54 years old and a clydesdale. I'm happily married to Ginger and I've got a son and two daughters, Zach, Hannah and Molly.