We are out of here! This is the end, folks. You knew it was coming, we knew it was coming. And there is some peace in that.
As Death Cab for Cutie once crooned, “Every plan is a prayer to Father Time”. What was true in 7th grade Math class when Amelia said she liked Jimmy more than you is true enough today. We originally set out for four days in Asheville. Due to over an inch of rain a day for 3 days in the area, it turned into 1.5 days in Asheville, one in Radcliff, Kentucky and another in a subdivision south of Louisville.
Today’s ride was the final kick to the proverbial groin, and some of it literally a pounding in the bathing suit region. I set out with two water bottles, two snacks and a full heart, right from the parking lot of our Best Western Inn PLUS. (I capitalize the PLUS because they emphasize it everywhere without saying what the PLUS is). The road out of Shepardsville, and there is only one, is a two-laner with more cars than you can ever imagine. Kentucky is also an adopter of N.F.S.T., short for “No Fucking Shoulder Technology”. There’s no fucking shoulder. Seriously. And just in case you had the cajones to ride the white lane for a spell, and I do, they put a rumble strip on the white line. What good is a rumble strip if the edge of the road is another .5 inches? No good, that’s what. But it’s still there.
I made it 8 miles on my own little version of Paris-Roubaix, bouncing along with cars whipping past. 90% of them were totally cool. The other 10% spent more time than it would have taken to just pass me and spent those precious four seconds hurling unimaginably creative curse words at me. If GGM wasn’t sponsoring this, I’d list the best ones. But they are really not kosher. I’ve gotten some harassment from drivers before, but this was the type of Southern evil Paula Dean embodies; nice on the outside, but when shit gets real, they might as well be Satan in a Chevy Suburban. I grinned for a little while, ignored it a while longer, then finally started getting expressive with body language. One car was particularly surprised that I returned their abuse with an equally loud “Have a great day!”* upon catching them when they were making a left hand turn.
And every road of escape turned out to be a subdivision, except the one that also happened to be an even bigger highway. In 12 miles, there is not a single road north or south that links to any other road. None. Zero. I was done. I was smoked, more in what is left of my ability to feel than physically, and I turned into a subdivision and tried to salvage some spirit for the day. So many things didn’t go according to plan, not just on Day Five but for the week. Still, even browbeaten, I wanted one thing to point to in Kentucky. Just one. So I did the Hour Record in The Wildwoods subdivision in Mt. Washington, Kentucky. Admittedly, it was slow. But I did 20.5 miles in one hour, at tempo, and talked to my dad on the phone for a few minutes during it, too. Pease came and picked me up so I wouldn’t have to risk my life again on the busy road, and we retired to a coffee shop. I hope, one day, some nutcase takes that segment from me. I really do.
Lawns are perfect in subdivisions here. Immaculate. During my Hour Record attempt, I saw four different landscaping companies working in a single, 1 mile subdivision loop. This is not natural, but is a fact. Zero llamas though.
Tim Pease Outfit of the Day:
Tim has to work all day on Wednesdays and he employs the same form and function to his work clothes as his driving clothes, although he makes the tasteful addition of a baseball cap. I assume this is just in case a baseball game breaks out and he gets put on the hot corner. I’d play centerfield, obviously. It also gives him something to wring in his hands while waiting for emails.
Deep Thought of the Day:
If you think bad luck is following you around, remember your cosmic insignificance and move on. The Universe doesn’t care about you. It is just raining, man. It would if you were there or not. It’s just a bummer that it’s inconvenient timing.
BONUS Deep Thought of the Day:
The girl smiling at you at the Heine Brothers Coffee Shop is actually grimacing because it’s finals week and she’s been studying, like, alllll daayyyy and she has a bit of a wonky eye. Still made my day though.
FINAL RECAP OF LESSONS LEARNED
1. Mount Mitchell is very cool when it isn’t drowning you.
2. Ohio is southern Michigan but without the class.
3. Don’t try to book a room in Louisville during a robotics conference or a horse race.
4. Guys that drink moonshine can ride bikes good.
5. Never trust satellite navigation. Ever.
6. There are good people everywhere, even in caves 100 feet below a Wendy’s.
7. Grzanka, Grit and McDonald got their money’s worth.
8. Tim Pease is smarter than you.
9. Plan well ahead.
10. Throw your plans out the window.
kolo t.c.’s upcoming stuff is going to be the Jolly Pumpkin Pedal on April 26 in Traverse City, Michigan.
*Not what I said.