Time is quickly running out for rides this year as the winter weather is just about to grip us here in Korea, so it was off for a fun fall adventure in the mountains of Sarak. And by fun I mean miserable.
With Mcdonalds breakfast in hand we set off in the early hours of the morning from Kath and Dave’s place in Ilsan hoping for clear bright blue skies and perfect riding conditions to do what we call the Osaek Loop, a 120km ride twice over the mountains of Sarak National Park.
The day started off in Inje as a little bit chilly but nonetheless nice ride up the first valley with Tom, Dave and myself breaking away from the girls (Katie and Kath) in an effort to finish and be back to the car before dark. Mother nature however had other plans for us lads. About 40k’s into the ride ominous clouds started rolling in and before long there it was, cold, cold, cold rain. Did I mention it was cold?
Of course we always follow the scout motto “be prepared.”
Rewind to the night before:
Jared : “Tom do you have a raincoat?”
Tom : “Nope, I think I’ll be fine with my windbreaker.”
Dave : “I have a spare shell, do you want it?”
Tom : “Nah, should be fine.”
Dave : “Take it just in case.”
Tom : “Spose I can.”
Back now 50km into the day huddled in a tunnel at the top of our first peak eating chicken sammies as fast as possible, trying to get the feeling back in my toes back listening to Tom saying “I owe Dave a beer.”
Knowing the road ahead and seeing that we were already cold and pretty much miserable (yet in high spirits) an alternate plan was needed and fast. About now you might be asking where the girls were? They had opted for a nice amble up the valley with a slight detour/wrong turn which had put them behind enough to not be in the crappy weather. This worked out in our favor. Just before we left the car I gave Kath a spare key just in case anything went wrong and they needed to turn back. One phone call later had them heading away from what was a very nasty and uncomfortable ride. I know this as I was about to do the worst of it with Tom and Dave.
1pm now, wrapped up in everything I had, rain still falling and it was downhill time, usually the fun part of the day, but this time it was far from it.
The shear pain of having no feeling in my fingers and toes and knowing that if I let go of my brakes I was likely to end up skidding off the road had me screaming in pain at the bottom of the hill. Tom and Dave related similar stories. No pain no gain right?
For the first time in a long time I was looking forward to going uphill just to get the blood circulating again and after pushing through the pain for another hour and half there it was, the 1km sign to Osaek. It’s amazing how the smallest of things can change your mood.
I got off my bike to celebrate with no feeling from my ankles down – this is a very strange feeling. IT’s like the ground isn’t really there.
The girls pulled in with the car soon after we arrived with warm clean clothes and hot drinks to tell us that they had had a wonderful day riding in the valley. Dave, still getting used to the recumbent on hills wasn’t far behind and I’m sure walking into the heated motel room was a welcome feeling for him.
Sitting in the motel now enjoying my bare numb feet on the heated floor looking back at the days ride, joking with Tom, Dave and the girls really got me thinking about what lies ahead next year. Will it be days like this, will I/we have the strength to have high spirits at the end of the day?
Hats off to Tom though. He rode the whole day in a pair of shorts!