Day 1

Friday, 23 May 2008
  Chattanooga, TN to Chattanooga, TN
13.3 miles, 1h01m, 13.1 mph
Elapsed Time: 1h38m, Max speed: 33.7mph
Total Climbing: 585ft, Max elevation: 856ft
Total mileage: 13.3

Copyright 2002 DeLorme. Topo USA. Data copyright of content owner.

We traveled quite a distance today...but only 13 miles by bicycle. Our flight left BWI on time at 10:45am. Linda and I managed to get seats together despite being the 34th and 35th people in Southwest's "B" boarding group. That's what we get for checking in only 14 hours before the flight. The flight was bumpy but we made it to Nashville on time without spilling anything on ourselves. The bags reached the carousel at about the same time we did and the rental car line wasn't too bad. So far, so good.

We piled the gear into a Kia Sorrento and headed for Chattanooga. Of course, we had to drive around the Nashville suburbs for a while until we got ourselves properly oriented, but after that it was an easy 2 hour drive.

My bike was waiting at Suck Creek Cycles all ready to go. We piled it in the car and headed for the hotel. We checked in, then I immediately changed into cycling duds, and Linda drove me to the eastern suburbs of town. I planned a quick ride from where I finished last year's ride to downtown Chattanooga where I intend to start this year's ride.  You see, I must connect all the dots. It's a thing I do.

Official Ride Start Photo
A non-descript location in eastern Chattanooga

The riding part of the trip did not go as smoothly as the flying and driving parts. Five miles into the ride I felt the back tire get bouncy, then get soft, then go flat. This is the same tire and tube that carried me from Washington, DC to Chattanooga last year. I guess it had enough.

Actually it had a stone jammed through it. I patched the tube and pumped it back up.

This is me before I got frustrated.

The flat fix was not problematic; I put the wheel back on the bike, but when I tried to reattach the rear brake, I just couldn't get the cable to reach. Then I started to get frustrated. Let's just say I spent 20 minutes trying to get that cable to stretch. Finally I just decided to ride without rear brakes.

About 200 yards later I decided I really wanted brakes. By then I had cooled down enough to figure out what to do and I finally managed to get everything connected. It wasn't that simple but it would be tedious to recount all the stupid things I did. Picture a 240 pound man in a Cookie Monster cycling jersey hopping around at the side of the road muttering unintelligible profanities. It was something like that.

My one hour ride took an hour and a half, but eventually I reached the hotel. We stuffed the bike in the rental car and went out for dinner. Prime rib. Mmm.

Stuck in traffic in Chattanooga.

Tomorrow the real ride begins. I doubt we will have Internet, so the next report may not be until Sunday.


"NatchezTrace Tour 2008" Copyright © 2008 By Bob Clemons. All rights reserved.