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Southeast Area Ride Report

Why yes, now that you mention it, I suppose it is a bit brisk

© 1999 by Steve Bream (If you're going to distribute it, please don't alter it, and please keep this notice attached)

The first official COG SE breakfast and ride of 1999 was held this Sunday, 10 January, starting from Michael's Restaurant in Cole Park Plaza, Chapel Hill, NC.

Two of us showed up.

On Saturday, when the high was 54, the predicted high for Sunday was 34. It's one thing to see that on TV, but quite another to actually believe it as you run errands in a T-shirt. You think to yourself "stupid weatherman, always calling for the worst." Then you get up early Sunday morning and step outside to get the paper and think to yourself "Sh*t, it's freezing out here!" Then you look at the thermometer and find out that that assessment was optimistic.

When I rolled my bike out of the carport, it was a bracing 19 degrees. I'll skip a boring description of what I wore except to say that I don't own any electric clothing.

I looked like the Michelin Man.

I let the bike idle a good long time to warm up while I struggled into the last of my gear, then off to the gas station for a few pounds of air in the front. Surprisingly, the rear tire I plugged 4k miles ago in October (and on which I ran my SS1K in December) hasn't needed a pound since the morning after the plug. On the road, 2 things quickly became apparent: 1) That damned balaclava had to go, I couldn't turn my head to check traffic, and 2) My winter gloves could stand a little upgrading.

I stripped off the balaclava at the gas station, but since it was only 10-15 miles to breakfast, I left the gloves alone for now.

For those not familiar with it, Michael's Breakfast on Sunday's is probably the major biker gathering in the Triangle area. In the summer, there are weekends when perhaps 100-150 bikes roll through. When I got there, I parked my 86 Connie next to Bryan's 86 Connie, bringing the total number of Connies to 2, and doubling the number of bikes in the lot.

Bryan, who was finishing up his breakfast when I walked in, greeted me with "I don't think anybody else is going to show up." He was right.

We waited around a bit while I ate some breakfast and drank way too much coffee, thinking that certainly someone would show up. When no one did, we felt justified in scrapping the trip to Asheboro, and thereby found ourselves at our own personal Rubicon.

Perhaps reasonable men would have simply finished their breakfast and turned their mounts toward home. Perhaps reasonable men would have thought that ~20F is not ideal riding weather. Perhaps reasonable men would have contemplated the toll that wind and cold would take on them if they ventured too far from home in the frigid temperatures that prevailed.

We can only guess at what reasonable men would have done, because I am here to tell you, friends and neighbors, that there were no reasonable me in the COG huddle at Michael's on Sunday. Instead there were two twisted individuals with a monkey on their backs, and the monkey kept whispering in their ears and saying "What are you, a wuss?" and they resisted. Then he said "It's not like it's snowing or anything." And still they resisted. He changed tacks: "If he can do it, you can do it. Be a man!" But they stood firm.

But then, just when it seemed that reason would rule the day, the monkey asked a seemingly innocent question: "What's for lunch?" And they raced to their mounts, removing maps and cell phones, and retired to the bar to select a destination, and the monkey cackled in unholy glee.

Some will be struck by the irony of sitting in a nice warm restaurant, planning to ride through subfreezing temperatures to get lunch. If I have to explain it to you...

After a brief map consultation and a phone call for some intelligence near site, we decided to run to Fran's Front Porch, in Liberty, NC, for some serious country cooking. By the time we had suited up and gone outside, 5-6 more bikes had shown up, complete with blue and shivering riders, most of whom gawked in astonishment as we waddled to the bikes (Not only was Bryan as bundled up as I was, but we both wore KJ jackets and black riding pants. I daresay we looked pretty snazzy on our mostly coordinated bikes in our mostly coordinated suits).

By 1130h, I had gotten a quick tank of gas and I was leading Ironman Bryan Moody to Old Greensboro Hwy. It was the last time I would see the front of his bike before lunch. In fact, once I waved him past me on Old Greensboro, I had a hell of a time keeping the back of his bike in sight. I'm going to chalk it up to 3 things:

  • Bryan has Progressives, I'm still running the stock springs.
  • Bryan has D205s, I'm still running stock rubber.
  • Bryan can ride circles around me any day of the week.

That's right folks, not only can you not outdistance your new AD, you can't outrun him either! I'm a moderate rider, 7/10ths is plenty for me, and there's nothing that can make me ride more than 8/10ths in a non-emergency situation, and I'm sure that Bryan is the same way. The trouble is that his 8/10ths beats my 8/10ths every time. He was kind enough to ease up enough that I could keep him in sight, and in truth, we had a good rhythm going as we rolled through the curves from Chapel Hill to Liberty.

A brief stop at Bryan's in-laws to confirm that the restaurant was where he thought it was, and we were into the home stretch, rolling into the restaurant at about 1230, we managed to find parking places in the already-full lot, and as we dismounted and began divesting ourselves of gear, Bryan pointed out the airstrip across the street and mentioned that some folks fly in for lunch.

Now I know why.

We waited probably 30 minutes or so for a table, wandering inside and back out. I lost count of the people who asked "Aren't you cold?" We just laughed and said "It's not too bad", while the monkey cackled madly and shrieked "Of course it's cold you Moron! You're standing here in it, aren't you cold?!"

We warmed ourselves with generous quantities of delicious food, topped off with outstanding deserts, and then waddled back out to the bikes (only this time we weren't geared up yet!) After a brief consultation on directions (which I promptly ignored in favor of some roads that I'd always wondered about), we said our goodbyes and climbed aboard, running in tandem until we came to NC 49, where a sign indicating:

<-- greensboro chapel hill>

marked our parting of the ways.

As I still had most of my tank of gas, I took the opportunity on the way home to explore some of the roads I'd always ridden past and wondered "Where does that go?" (FYI, Bass Mtn Rd. is technically a shortcut between Old Greensboro and 49, but since it's ~90% gravel, it's probably alot faster to stay on the pavement and ride the whole corner.)

I got home to find my wife still out with a friend, and a long list of items that needed doing awaiting my attention, but after the eskimo ride, I felt I was ready for anything.

The monkey, temporarily sated, merely chuckled quietly to himself.

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