Three of us ended up on the longer route and a group of six or so ended up on the shorter more casual ride. We headed out of town and within a couple miles I could tell that something major was wrong with my beloved Koi Bear (that would be my bike!) I could shift just fine but there wasn't any tension on the gears and I was pedaling with a super high cadence which isn't my normal style. It wasn't too bad so I kept going.
Our route winds through some residential neighborhoods in order to avoid a section of highway that is pretty busy after work. It lets us skip some of the more dangerous parts of the highway and still get in decent riding. As we were making our way through one neighborhood I saw a funny sign. It read something about "Find a new Shortcut, this is our home where kids play." I took it to mean that cars are bothering this section of the homeowners but that bikes were cool. Well, bikes weren't mentioned on the sign so I decided for myself that we were cool!
We soon were on the highway and relatively flat ground. The high cadence wasn't working for me so I switched up to my big ring and still had a high cadence while pedaling. Not a good sign! We made it to Hiwassee which is a normal stopping point to allow people to regroup. We took the time to hydrate...the heat was crazy!
|Erin, me, and AJ|
We made our turn to continue the route and saw a bad sign...Road Closed! We decided to go ahead and pedal along to see whether the route was salvageable. About 1/2 mile down the road we came upon the road construction. They are building a bypass and had torn out part of the road we were on for a new overpass that is being added. We decided that we could easily hike our bikes across the dirt and so we did.
It was well worth it since we got 5 miles of shady road to enjoy for the route! After our sojourn in the shade we made a pitstop to refill our water bottles at a gas station. I bought each of us a $1 lottery scratcher but sadly none of us had winning tickets.
We finished up the route back at the square and saw several friends hanging out finishing up dinner. They yelled out that there was leftover carrot cake and with those magic words we headed over to join the table. It was great to hang out and enjoy the cooler temps as the sun went down and cap off a great ride.
The next day I took my bike into the shop for repair...the diagnosis was a super stretched out chain. It had even done some damage to my cassette. Not cool but having a great bike mechanic who takes care of you makes it all better! I'm still looking into what to do about my cassette. I think I'll replace it in the next few weeks but I need to check in with my mechanic to find out if we'll have to special order it since I like the gearing options I currently have.