I am a Swamp Rabbit Criminal

Yesterday I wrote how I was battling a stress knot in my neck. I knew that a good way to relieve some of it was to get out and exercise. So, shortly after 11:30 AM I rushed home to get changed to make it to Boyd Cycling for a lunchtime ride. I ended up learning that it pays not to be late.

I reached the start location off of Pete Hollis around three minutes after noon. It was obvious I was late because there were no riders standing around getting ready to head out. However, I didn’t know how late I might be. Perhaps I could catch them.

It was funny running up to the door of Boyd Cycling to check and see how much time would need to be made up. I didn’t get a definitive answer… It may have been 5 minutes. It may have been 10.

As I was talking another rider pulled up. It was Clive De Sousa, the owner of Glory Cycles. He said he would start off slowly while I got my bicycle off the car. I could catch up with him as we headed down the SRT toward Paris Mountain.

Finally, I rolled off at ten minutes after noon. I was cranking it too. From a cold start I was spinning along at over 300 watts. By the time I reached Furman I was starting to feel it in my quads. I’m getting too old to jump on a bike and push it without warming up!

Just after the train car by the Furman campus, I caught up with Clive. We then rode on to Paris Mountain maintaining a pretty good pace. There wasn’t any conversation until we reached the base.

We both agreed that we weren’t going to push it. At that point, I don’t think I could have! Clive was going to ride over and then return to town. I was going to go over and then return on the same route as we came out on. I figured at some point I would run into Boyd and company.

The ride up was fun. I didn’t look down at my computer the whole climb. We talked as we made our way up the 2.2 mile climb. Several times, I was getting out a sentence between deep breathes.

Having never met, we introduced ourselves and I explained why I was wearing the Trappe Door Cycling kit even though I wasn’t on the team. That lead to a short conversation about Worthwhile. Then I asked Clive about his business and he gave me some of the strategies behind Glory Cycles.

Shortly after the half-way point, Clive got an ear full of the I Do It For Foundation. It was kind of like having a captive audience. There wasn’t much place for him to go. He either had to sprint ahead of me or come to a stand still on the side of the mountain. Maybe I should take people on that ride more often!

Finally, we separated at the wall as I pushed it to the top. Clive was shortly behind and we took off down the mountain together. It was at that point we started coming upon the riders with the Boyd Cycling group. Then we went past Boyd himself riding clean up.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch them because I would have to descend and then climb back over the mountain. However, it would be a good workout and if I rode hard, I might be able to catch them before everyone left the shop.

Getting down fast was easy. It was a little harder going fast back up! However, I made decent time and before long found myself back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

At that point, I continued to push it. It isn’t something I normally do. It is actually a matter of pride that I don’t normally ride fast on the SRT. I’ve always worked to avoid getting Strava personal bests or KOMs on the stretch. However, this day I was just trying to get back to connect with the guys on the ride ahead of me.

As I pulled up to Sulpher Springs I heard something come up behind me. It was the motor cycle policeman. “Hey, did you know that the speed limit is 20 mph and that there is a $100 fine for not stopping at the stop signs?” He said that in a manner that indicated that I had not stopped at any of the stop signs. I replied, “I didn’t stop at the stop signs?” He said, “Not a one since Roe Ford Road.” Hmmmm, I thought to myself, I was positive I had stopped at the crossing roads. It popped out, “Seriously, I didn’t stop at any of them?” “Nope,” came the answer.

Well, I wasn’t going to argue with him. He basically gave me a warning and I said, “Thank you, Sir.” We then waited for the traffic to clear and I crossed to continue on my way. As I did so, I switched my Garmin over to show me the speed and made sure I kept it under 20.

I think the issue at the stops is a definition of stopping. No, I did not come to a complete roll back stop with my foot down on the ground. It would be more of a slow rolling track stand until traffic cleared or I was aware that no traffic was coming. There is no way I am stupid enough to go blowing through one of the signs. At the same time, it is a bear to lose your momentum with a complete foot-out-of-the-pedal stop.

Once again it reminds me why when I am doing anything other than riding with my kids I avoid the SRT. I’d much rather ride the newly smooth Buncombe Road and not have to worry about getting pulled over for speeding and it is actually nice to have the advantage of the traffic light system.

I really don’t like being a criminal… even if it is just a Swamp Rabbit Speed Bandit.