6:00 Saturday morning came not so bright, but early nonetheless. I woke up discouraged at how cold and wet it was outside. I started to doubt the weather channel's prediction for a warm dry day, but then I remembered that we were going three hours to the south, which can mean a huge difference as far as the weather goes. I drove the boring and uneventful two hours down to Russellville to pick up Newt, and then we headed down another hour to Mt. Ida. The whole drive down we worried about the foggy, wet, cold sky that didn't seem to want to cheer up. Finally, when we were within about ten minutes of the trailhead, the fog lifted and the temperature started to climb.
By the time we got out of the car, the temperature had made it all the way up to 64 degrees. In Arkansas. In December. Go figure. So we took off with high hopes, short sleeves, and lots of water. The first two miles sucked. It was mostly climbing. Fat kids hate climbing. Then we got to the river bluff section, which I didn't remember being so treacherous. There were a few sections of trail no more than a foot wide with a mountain on one side and an intimidating abrupt drop off on the other.
That's when I had to remind myself of some solid advice I hear often: don't look down. It really is good advice and has served me well in many a tough situation. I just wanted to give everyone a little reminder, whether you need it or not. So, whether you're riding along a tall bluff, standing on the edge of a major change in life, or reluctantly relieving yourself in a Port-a-Potty, just remember those three words: Don't. Look. Down.
We rode for awhile on some fast soul-warming singletrack before we finally decided that it was going to be a long ride back. So we stopped, ate some crackers, and rode back. After over four hours of pedaling, we made it back to the car. According to my dashboard, it was 70 degrees out. 70! Then, after not more than 15 minutes, the temperature dropped to 65 and continued dropping with each northbound mile. The fog came back and the rain started to fall here and there. We got back to Russellville and filled up on some stellar Mexican food before I had to head back home (and back to a wintry reality).
Now I'm back in Fayetteville where it's 32 degrees out and we're under a winter storm watch. Bummer.
I was unhappy after a weird crash that left me thinking, "I did not know my legs could move in that direction." My groin still hurts a little.