Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Ride and Feast

Well Thursday was Thanksgiving and I do have a lot to be thankful for and I was going to tell you all about it. But first, I had to ride. No wait! First, I had to chop vegetables and help Sherry do the prep work for the feast to be served later that day. Then I could ride.

Now I always go for a quick ride on Thanksgiving. However this year, my newest cycling buddy Jeff told me about the annual ride leaving from NorCal Bike Sport. They typically have between 75 and 100 riders heading out to climb Pine Flat. So I mention it to Sherry to see if the timing will work. You see, they don’t leave until 9:00 and it’s about a 60 mile route out and back. That’s a lot longer then I am normally gone. Plus, we are actually hosting T-Day at our house. You would think the possibility of joining this ride was not in my favor. But that’s because you don’t know Sherry.

You have got to love a woman that looks at you and says – Go! So we negotiated a 1:00 p.m. curfew and I let Jeff know I will make it.

After my morning chores, I ride over to NorCal. It looks like we’ll have between 70-80 riders this year. This will be the biggest peloton I have participated in so I am pretty jazzed. However, I do recognize some of the riders and a lot of high-end bikes so I know this will be a hammer fest. No worries. I’ll just hang on as long as I feel like it.

So at 9:10 we’re off. Things stayed pretty calm for the opening 10 miles and I spent most of the time with first 6 or so riders. We went over the first hill, which was the weak side of Chalk Hill, and I managed to go over the top with the lead riders. Then we started the descent and that was a whole different story. I am very comfortable riding in the pack but that was my first time descending with that many riders and it was a bit unnerving. So I backed off and let them go. And that’s when they put the hammer down.

I catch back up at the regroup and then we are off again. At this point, people are peeling off at every intersection to head for home to make their own personal curfews. Still, I kept riding. You see Pine Flat is one of my favorite climbs. It is a very narrow but beautifully paved road. And of course, the reason I really like the climb is for the descent that comes next. It has a multiple number of S-turns with 3 or 4 curves in a row. There is nothing else like it in Sonoma County.

At the base of Pine Flat the attacks started again and I remembered my second promise to Sherry. I promised I would not come home flogged. She has seen me finish a hard ride and spend the rest of the afternoon in a fetal position on the couch and today she wanted me to be a little more energetic when our guests arrive. So I climbed at a nice easy pace and just enjoyed the beauty. I made it about two-thirds of the way up, all in the middle ring I might add, before it was time to turn around.

At precisely 12:40 I rolled back into the driveway to begin the second half of my feast preparation duties. At 3:30 the family begins to arrive and at 4:30 we sit for dinner. Now, Sherry and I are not really roast turkey people. So we made turkey osso buko. It was delicious. In fact, the whole meal was idyllic and the company of family made it even better.

So there you go. I managed to chop vegetables, ride 65 miles with 2330 feet of climbing, and still be home when promised to enjoy a great meal with family. Now that’s worth giving thanks.

I would like to add one more thing. While I think it’s great we have a day dedicated to giving thanks, I would like to invite you to take a second each and everyday to give thanks. Don’t take things for granted. Instead, take time to find the simple pleasures of life and share those pleasures with others. I believe if you do this, you will never run out of things for which you are thankful.


1 Comment(s):

Sarah said...

Sounds like you had a really great day, Lee. I may have to join that ride next year!!

Thanks for sharing your great tales of Sonoma County rides and all the other adventures in your life. It's been so much fun reading.

AND thank you for the reminder to be thankful every day - it couldn't be more true.