I’m focused to ride my bicycle up to Clingmmans Dome (the highest elevation in Tennessee) again next year and hope to take a few friends with me. For nearly two years now, I’ve struggled with knee agony. For a little over a year it was aggravation, swelling, and consistent pain, sometimes dull but sometimes excruciating. And now for a little under a year, in recovery from knee surgery to repair an injury and arthritis, I have found plenty of excuses to why I’m not back. Unfortunately, what I have not found, is enough fortitude to bring back the old masher.
Well, it’s time to let go of the excuses! I see a comeback in my future and I’m not waiting to make a New Years resolution. I have already made a resolution to make a full comeback and I have already set the wheels in motion. Sure, it’s a long winding road to the pinnacle of my comeback, just like it is to the top of the Smoky Mountians. I’ve completed the grueling climb to Clingmas Dome on my bicycle several times now, and I’m well aware that you can’t always see the bumps in the road, nor what lies around the next switchback. It’s a simple philosophy that I used in the past to transform my physical and mental fitness, and I’m confident it will work again.
I recently shared a video of a motivational speaker with my fellow employees at work. The message was one that has helped awaken my sleeping giant within. Of coarse, my biggest hope in seeking the old masher is to rid of my inner giant (meaning lose the excess weight, and the other problems will go away with it)! The speech goes like this…there was a younger, ambitious, excited person who was consumed with the idea of being successful. He was so in tune with becoming successful that he seeked out an older, wiser, very successful guru and he went to the guru and ask to learn his secret to success. The guru told him if he wanted to learn his secret to success he should meet him at 4:30 in the morning at the beach. The younger, ambitious guy thought to himself why so early and why the beach? Nevertheless, he ventured out in his 3 piece suit to the sands at the edge of the shore way before sunrise and there he met the guru who was wearing only swimming trunks.
The guru ask the ambitious one if he trusted him and the younger one said yes, but was not too sure in his mind. Guru reached out his hand, and as the protege grasped it, they began to walk out into the ocean. Now the younger one was thinking he should have worn shorts instead of a suit and at the same time, was beginning to think the guru was a little crazy. They went from ankle deep to knee deep to chest deep. Guru ask if he still trusted him. Younger, ambitious one was now not sure and reminded the guru that he wanted him to teach him his secret to success, and was questioning his sanity at this point. Guru ask how bad he wanted to be successful. He answered, “more than anything.”
At that moment, the guru grabbed the younger one by the shoulders and pulled him into the deeper water until he was submerged and held his head down. The younger guy fought trying to come up for air, but the guru continued to hold his head below the ocean as a wave crashed, and then another. Finally, the younger one found the strength the emerge from the water and he opened his mouth and let in as much air as he could. Disgruntled, he ask the guru why he tried to drown him and the guru replied, ” when you were below the surface, what did you think about?” The younger, ambitious one stated all he could think about was breathing! The guru finally shared his secret to success with him: “When you want to be successful as bad as you wanted to just breathe, while you were drowning in the ocean, you will be successful. When you want to achieve anything as bad as you wanted to breathe, you will achieve it.”
I want to be the old masher as bad as he wanted to breathe! The trek to Clingmans Dome on my bicycle will be in late March or early April, however the official journey has already begun. Who’s with me?
Renaissance And Masher are both Libras, as Tim celebrates his birthday in late September and mine (Kevin) in mid October. Our idea to celebrate getting older by riding our bikes with friends seems like the perfect idea 3 years later now. Initially I thought it’d be a nice gesture to give away some Kentucky bourbon after the ride and then inform our guests this is how we celebrate our bdays, as opposed to telling them upfront and tempting them to bring gifts. It’s not about receiving, as much as it is about being connected.
RAM Cycling has planned/organized a couple other group rides, but none have become an annual event like Oktoberfest (or RAMtoberfest, as Tim calls it). It’s safe to say, I looked forward to this ride more than any other the past two years! I’m very thankful that the weather has cooperated each year, especially this year. We have hosted the ride early in October the previous two seasons, but due to some conflicting schedules, this year’s ride took place 1 day before Halloween. Ironically, it was much cooler the two years we had it in early October, this year it felt like how I would imagine Christmas in Florida feels…temps were in the upper 70s with a mild southern breeze. Everyone rode in shorts and short sleeves!
The venue was relocated this year to Masher’s new home turf in Frankfort, the Capital of Kentucky. The route left from the Capitol building and toured out towards the west side of the county finding some hills and beautiful scenery along Kentucky River valley. We left the valley and headed into Anderson Co briefly, then back into Franklin as we turned towards Shelby Co. Never leaving Franklin Co again, we then ventured along Taylor Branch and ridge before descending into Benson Creek valley. Another good hill climb and descent down Devils Hollow took us back into downtown. We rolled into Buffalo Trace distillery for a brief rest stop with snacks and beverages delivered by my sons Charlie and Dawson. The route continued north in the Owen Co direction for our steepest climb of the day up Lewis Ferry from the river behind Buffalo Trace. Then another ride along a ridge, and descent back into town took us home with a final sprint up to the Capitol building.
Historically, the bourbon is given to the overall points winners based on their performance in the segment challenges on several sprints and climbs. The bourbon went to newcomer Ryan this year, and the second bottle went to Tim for an honorary win. He learned his dad had passed away Friday night (after being sick in a Louisville hospital for nearly 9 weeks now), just two days before Oktoberfest ride and he wouldn’t let me postpone the ride. I did not expect him to ride and did not want to host our event without him, but I was very excited when he showed up. His dad was a bourbon guy, a fan of the Pappy, and Tim deserved a bottle of bourbon as much as anyone that rode! As far as Ryan, he earned it too! Several cyclists in the group are very strong, and rode hard in the segment challenges (unfortunately, I was not one of them), but none had the speed to match Ryan.
I have to give out a huge thanks to our loyal riders Linn and Adam! I really appreciate you guys joining us every year that we’ve hosted Oktoberfest. A special thanks also goes to our first-timers… Jeremy, Toby, Schmidty, Gene, Leighton, and Ryan. It’s always great to ride new roads, with new friends, anything new, as long as we’re riding. We definitely missed a few regulars… Bena, Phil, Oleg, Stephanie, and St. Onge! Hope you guys can make it back next year.
Speaking of next year, Gene asked me when the next big climb is. I’m thinking a return trip to Clingmans Dome in the spring sounds like a great idea. I know some of our friends get into the triathlon season early and may not want that much climbing as they train for flatter races, but logistically it seems to make the most sense to knock it out early (just don’t ask Linn and Tim how that worked out last time ;-). Be on the alert for the planning of this group ride in April 2017. In the past, I’ve found myself really get motivated to take on big things in the next season when I wrap up the previous season with some great events, and I’m feeling pretty motivated right now after a great ride first at the Bike To Beat Cancer event in September, and now following another very successful Oktoberfest.
Keep your wheels rolling … @KPtheMasher
RAM Cycling is very pleased to announce the details of our 3rd annual Oktoberfest ride. This has been a great group ride the past two years and this year shouldn’t be any different. Our friends that have been awesome enough to grace us with their presence in the past can attest that this ride is fun, friendly, and full of fellowship.
Please note, the event has moved to Frankfort this year. The start/stop point for Oktoberfest this year is at the Capitol Annex building, please park in the lot on the right side (behind the floral clock). The official address is 702 Capitol Ave. Frankfort, KY 40601. Restroom is available across the street at Masher’s house. The ride is scheduled to roll at 11:00am (weather permitting), so please plan to arrive and be ready to ride at 11. We will keep our fingers crossed that the weather is nice, however if it turns out to be wet, we will announce a make up date on the morning of the ride which will be Sunday October 30!
Keeping in tradition, we will have our friendly segment challenges along this group ride. This is a tempo pace ride and we do not drop anyone! The segment challenges include 3 sprints and 3 climbs and points are awarded to the top 3 in each segment. We will regroup immediately after each segment race and the average rolling pace has been about 17 mph I the past. The route this year is a little shorter (42 miles) but has plenty of scenic views. There are stores to stop for refuel/restroom at miles 12 and 34, and a stroll through Buffalo Trace Distillery (a National Historic Landmark) at the 34 mile mark. Anyone wanting to make a purchase at the gift shop, I will have my sons bring your souvenir back for you. Also, keeping in tradition, there will be bourbon awarded to the segment winners and we will have refreshments and beverages for all at the completion of the ride. Please let us know if you can attend!
The route is posted publicly on our Strava club page. Feel free to invite any cycling friends that you think would enjoy this ride, all are welcome. Maps will not be handed out because this is a group ride, we do not drop anyone and I want to make sure I don’t get dropped, LOL! The route is mostly back roads, but we will be in the downtown streets some too, however there’s very little Sunday traffic in downtown Frankfort. I think there’s only 3 hills and everything else is rolling (as long as you keep your wheels rolling). Hope to see you there!