DAY RIDE 10/21/2011

Breaking Out Of Jail

October 21, 2011

It's been two months since I had my left knee replaced and been able to ride - which seems like forever to me. The weather weenies have promised a good day and I've purposely emptied my schedule. What I don't know is how my 'newer' knee is going to react. It's still not as far along as I would like, but sometimes a feller just has to go ahead and pull the trigger, ready or not. Since Frost just got a new battery, she will be the queen for the day.

  I can tell already that the new knee is not quite as flexible as I would like it to be in order to shift comfortably. My right 'new' knee was pretty good at 7 weeks, but then I didn't have to shift with it. I leave LadyBug sound sleep in the sunshine, and she doesn't seem to mind an awful lot.
  I figure I can ride the Trace for a while since they're won't be too much shifting or too much traffic. I know I can take it easy till my mind figures out how my new physical situation is going to sort out.
  The nice thing about the upper end of the Trace is I can usually put it 4th, set the cruise and just rock along if there is no traffic. I've ridden the top 50 miles like that and never touched the brake or the throttle. And today I am glad that I am poking along for once. As I reach the highway 96 bridge, what should be there to greet me but one of our Federal's finest. In this part the limit is 40 so I bump my cruise down a wee bit and pass him like a good citizen. The Trace is pretty much deserted, which just suits me fine.
  When I get to highway 7, I contemplate getting off to see if my sister is at home. But I think better of it, since she has a deep gravel driveway and I'd really rather not strength test the left leg just yet.
  The weather's wonderful, but I just can't seem to get my head wrapped around the task at hand. The left knee is complaining a little bit and my foot wants to sit at an odd angle to the shifter. But it feels so good to be 'out of jail' that I'm just gonna push on and deal with it.
  Soon my plans change, as I see a bright orange detour sign and a fresh exit ramp. With no options except a U-turn on the narrow Trace, I get off and figure out where I am. Looks as if they are putting some sort of major gas line through the area. This is highway 412, and I reckon it will take me in to Columbia. I haven't been that way in a while and I know some good connectors, so I decide I'll go that way. The nice thing about having most of the local roads between my ears is I can route on the fly as many times as I like. I sort of figure out where I might go as I amble down the highway.

Once I get into Columbia proper, I make a fuel stop for Frost and a snack stop for me. As I'm standing there, a feller walks by and says -

"Good day for riding, I reckon."

"Yep, it sure beats working at any rate" I reply.

"Well, but I don't know if it beats fishing" he says with a grin.

He's got a point there, but I believe I'll stick with riding for now.


I'm thinking about a run back up 246 into Franklin, but then I see another road I haven't been on in quite a while. My 'wetware' kicks in, so I follow it to the little community of Sante Fe. Now this is where you find out if folks are 'local' or not. The locals pronounce it 'Santa Fee' not 'Santa Fay'. I guess that's the difference between Tennessee and New Mexico.


And in this community, there are at least 4 churches that I can count. But this one has the best sign over the door as far as I am concerned -

"Whosoever Will"


  And there are a few good bends out of the area but it still just doesn't feel quite right as of yet so I back off a bit.
  Further along, I cross the new I840 loop under construction. When it finally gets finished, it hopefully will move a lot of truck traffic coming from the south/west and vice versa out of Nashville.  
  I end up at the Trace, and decide that's as good as any a way to get back to the Holler.  
  From my get on point, it's not too far to the north entrance. I just wonder how many times I've passed through those gates over the years.  

I've done about 140 miles so far as I pull Frost into the garage. I see SweetTreat sitting there and think to myself -

"You know, I need to get some gas in her since she's been on reserve. And since I already have my riding gear on and got the time, no reason not to go for it."

It's funny what a man can talk himself into on the way to the gas station. I figure I'll gas her up, do a little short loop over the ridge and back and then call it a day. She was pretty low, as I put 7.2 gallons of Shell's good stuff into her belly. As I pull off, there's a pickup truck in front of me, hauling a bunch of stuff with a ladder strapped on that's too long for my comfort. You haven't lived until you've tried to dodge a ladder sliding down the road toward you. When we get to the place I am headed, the truck has the same idea. However, there just happens to be a bit longer way home, so off SweetTreat and I go. It's a route that runs down River Road with some decent technical stuff. And from the picture, you'd never guess where it got its name.

  Up to highway 49, then there's this lovely cutoff called 250 that will sort of loop me back to the Holler. 250 has some mighty fine twisty bits on it and as I start to focus on what I should be doing, things begin to click again. The knee stiffness and awkward shifting disappear, and I'm riding again - just me, the bike, the wind and the road. My rhythm comes back to me like an old friend I haven't seen in a while. I often wonder every time that I have to have a 'body' repair (been 12 of them so far) - will I be able to ride or will the pain be too much and the function too little? I know there may be a day when I have to hang up my helmet, but today ain't it and for that I am glad.  
  I make the left at the store at Petway, and just crank it up another notch.  
  Then I head for the Narrows of the Harpeth cutoff. It has some mighty fine sweepers and no traffic.  
  This is just a little 50 mile run, 190 total for the day. But this last stretch confirms in my heart that I am officially 'out of jail'. I know that I'm not ready to do any major distance just yet and I still have more therapy to do. But once again I've got the answer to the question that was weighing on my heart. And once again, I am very, very glad for the answer.