The space from December 24th through January 1st seems like a time when a lot of people and businesses are thrown out of their usual routines and everything is a little turned on its head. So, this year, I decided to run off to the cabin on the 26th to avoid the fluster of the holiday week and get some intense training on the Syllamo Trails and surrounding forest roads.
Before Arkansas, we went to Christmas lunch at my Grandmother’s house in Drew, Mississippi.
I have several more pictures of the family, but my mom hates pictures of herself, and she’s in most of them.
My cousin Brent, who is closest to my age of all my cousins, bought his five year old daughter one of the greatest presents in the history of “presents for 5 year old girls”…
She rides it by herself (with the speed governor turned down, of course).
Speaking of presents, Matt put Ronda Rousey on the wall over my workbench. Now I flinch every time I walk through the garage.
Thursday, Ryan and I left for the cabin. We made it in time to get in a short ride and to start on a stack of puzzles- my new favorite thing to do at the cabin besides ride, eat catfish, and watch procedural crime dramas.
Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Rainbow cafe in downtown Mountain View.
Some sort of animal hid its breakfast corn from the deer feeder in the bathroom light cover.
Saturday, I kept having an odd pain on the upper left-middle area of my back and a corresponding spot in my ribs on the front of my torso. It nagged at me all morning before I realized it was shingles. I had a full-blown case back at Breck Epic a couple of years ago, and they still periodically hurt from time to time. This was aching bad enough that I was worried that it was going to go full bore. Luckily, the pain subsided in a couple of days.
That day, it had rained, so we stuck to forest roads. I wanted to try and ride to the Sugarloaf Mountain Lookout (upper right corner of the map), but the “back way” in that didn’t involve riding a large stretch of Highway 5 was gated off with “private property” signs.
Sunday night, we went to Tommy’s Famous Pizza with my dad.
When the sky is clear, one of my favorite things to do is sit on the porch and have a glass of wine while the sun sets. It’s a nice opportunity to reflect and enjoy the mountains.
It’s cold out right now (daytime highs have been in the 35-40 range with 70-90% humidity). I didn’t take riding photos while we were out because stopping is a surefire way to get chilled with a quickness. Since a lot of you don’t ride these trails all the time, it’s probably not really interesting for me to list a bunch of trail names (if you’re interested in routes, you can look at my Strava account). This is also a relatively “serious” time for training. Less sightseeing, more steadiness.
…and, more puzzles.
Here’s my one ride pic:
Monday, Ryan left with my dad. I took it as a recovery day and rode at a leisurely pace on the blue and green trails. The sun was out for the first time in a few days, and it was a balmy 44 degrees. I can’t really put in to words how I feel alone in the woods. It’s like my safe place where no one can get me… sort of like the feeling you get when someone really big and strong gives you a large and gentle hug.