I woke up early and strapped on my fancy new Puerto Rican prom shoes. Hopped on my road bike and rolled out to meet a few guys for a long ride in Appalachia. I haven't ridden my road bike lately, in fact I haven't ridden much at all lately, but I had a great ride today. Starting in Bearden, we headed through downtown and out past the Forks of the River and into rural Sevier county. We stopped in Seymor at a natural spring and filled our water bottles before we continued into the city limits of Pigeon Forge, far removed from the outlet malls and airbrush t-shirts, it was more like something out of the Heartland Series. Old farm roads and mountain backcountry led us to the far point of the ride in Walland.
I was late for lunch plans with my wife and family, so I sprinted back into civilization on a hot summer day. Pushing through the wall to make it back, I battled cramps that were reminiscent of Mt. Mitchell. It just doesn’t feel like a ride unless it hurts. The sun beat down on the miracle mile, as if it were my last. It nearly took all I had to give to finish.