Barley’s Cycling Classic

In life, events and activities can usually be divided into three categories:

1. Things you should do: Stuff like fall in love and get married, rescue that dog off the side of the road (I’m looking at you, Fred), eat healthy and exercise. You get the picture.

2.  Things you shouldn’t do but do anyway: Drink too much, stay up late, go on that vacation you really can’t afford (but the memories will last a lifetime!)

3. Things you just don’t do: Examples of these include running a marathon if you haven’t ran at all in a while, jumping into the ocean if you can’t swim well, and riding over 50 miles when you haven’t gotten on a bike since June.

I’ll give you one guess as to how I spent my Saturday…

Yup, on that bloody bike again.

You may remember the ‘Tour De Rocky Top‘ back in June and if not, check it out. This was essentially the same idea – three distance options (32, 50, & 62 miles) all beginning and ending at the same spot, Barley’s, for pizza and beer (yippee!). When J’s mom offered to sign us up for the Barley’s Cycling Classic, I agreed, but only for the 30 mile ride because, well, I’m a pretty mediocre cyclist (still no clippy shoes!), and I hadn’t ridden since the last Tour.

The good news? Temperature-wise it was perfect – in stark contrast to the 100+ degree weather back in June. The bad news? With the exception of falling head over ass onto the pavement and making roadkill of myself, I can think of only a few additional scenarios that could have made this race worse.

Obviously it rained. But not when we started and it would have been easy to turn around…No, it began to rain about 8 miles in. Big, fat, plunky rain drops that soaked me through save my ziplock bag encased phone. Alas, the rain subsided about 20 minutes later and aside from the muddy water that was kick backed from faster peddlers in front of me (and everyone was faster that I) all was hunky dory.

But not for long, because then we obviously got lost. I take partial blame for this, as if we had been able to actually stay with a group perhaps we could have been on the right track. But sadly, my speed is comparable to that of a drugged three-toed sloth and as a result, fellow bikers were few and far between. No matter, we had green markers to follow! Except the green markers we were following were old markers from a past race so by the time we were able to stop at a rest area on the course, my GPS had us at about 25 miles and we quickly discovered that we were on the 50 mile course. Oh Goody.

52.67 miles of bike route

To J’s mom’s credit, she offered to take the sag wagon back with me and was mildly sympathetic for the unfortunate turn of events. But let’s be honest here – it’s not like I’m completely out of shape. If I can run half marathons on a monthly basis, surely I can ride 50 miles, right? RIGHT?

Ugh. right. So we were off to conquer the inadvertent second leg of our adventure. We actually found a fellow biker who kept a good pace (by good, I mean I could actually keep up with him) and who blessedly had the directions-duct taped to his handle bars. Smart guy.

Trust me when I say that I would have been far more irritated and exhausted if the views weren’t so amazing.

I saw the literal equivalent to a petting zoo during the ride: horses, ponies, goats, sheep, ostriches, and roosters.

We rode past Cruze Dairy Farm…

…and over some rivers and through some woods…

…but the best site of all, was this at the end:

I’m drinking a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar if you’d like to know.

And just so you know I can barely type this right now without the use of a donut. And I don’t mean the doughy kind although I could probably use one…

Moral of this story? There are often things in life you shouldn’t do, but life doesn’t always work out as planned. So suck it up, take it in, and enjoy the journey. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, there’s beer at the end of it.

Cheers and happy Monday!

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5 thoughts on “Barley’s Cycling Classic

  1. 50 miles is way too far…but you are correct, those sites are fantastic and I feel like you can’t get too upset in that tranquil of a setting. There is always beer at the end of the tunnel.

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