Friday, April 15, 2011

The Norcross Loop

**Jimmy and Joe checking for trout this morning on the Chatahoochie.

Coming from a long and grey Columbus winter, my eyes struggled to adjust to the sparkling and blissfully clear Georgia afternoon. Here for four days thanks to Lyd's sold-out shows, I decided to bring the new Giant TCR and roam the Norcoss, Georgia area where we are staying. The home of a former elected official here in the greater Atlanta area, Neely Farm is a spectacular place to be able to call home for a few days. Reading the owners recently published work of poetry "Red Clay," one gets a much better idea of what it must have been like to grow up on an enormous dairy farm in the land of peach blossoms.

Inspecting the tire pressure before departure on my KENDA C2C's, I am happy to leave while the wife is meeting with former band mates to go over the game plan for the weekend's shows here. I'm not much of a music aficionado. I was the guy who had all the Howard Jones CD's, and still knows every word to Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance." It's best if I leave. My mind on the team out in Monterey at Sea Otter, I yell "Come on Jimmy, let's go Joe," as the dogs get worked up to tag along on the short and sketchy gravel road that exits the property.

**"Ants. Why does it always have to be ants."

History abounds here. It's hard to even leave the property without that being the apparent reality. Farm equipment that spans the last hundred and thirty years lies strewn about the property. A 1927 Rolls Royce lies hidden in the studio, it's bulbous headlamps having not seen the light of day since about 1945. Just down Frank Neely Drive there is an Antebellum era home, perched right in the middle of what is now a large tract of expensive custom homes where cattle used to graze. It is one of only about five plantation homes that General Sherman
spared on his march to the sea. It's hard not to push pedals past it and wonder what was promised in order to keep that home from being burnt to cinders.

Making a left and heading up Spalding, it's a short ascent to the left turn at Peachtree Corners Circle. Be advised..EVERY street here has the word "Peachtree" in it. This place is hell for a Fed Ex driver. The undulating nature of the roads make you wish your heart rate monitor had no zone alarm. Luckily, the TCR climbs like Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and the rollers flow under the smooth shifting Ultegra 6700 crankset. Birds of a million varieties and colors dart past your face as you steam through the quiet neighborhoods. Another left at West Jones Bridge puts you within striking distance of a new Flying Biscuit, one of the most lusted after breakfast spots in all of Atlanta.

A quick right at Jones Bridge Circle, then another right at East Jones Bridge puts you into a bit of traffic for a mile or two, but after crossing 141, you make a left on Bush Rd and just disappear. Crowded neighborhoods give way to large manor homes, and tree-lined avenues lead you to Berkeley Lake. A turn in either direction puts you on the circumnavigatory (not a word) lap around the lake, on Lakeshore Dr. After three laps of this I'm finally ready for my Flying Biscuit breakfast. Grits, biscuit, eggs, sausage, bacon and whole wheat French Toast sound REALLY good right now.

**This kitchen table sketch morphed into a beautiful painting...

...created right on the farm, and mounted in the living room.

Squeezing back into my bibs was no easy feat after that gut-buster breakfast, and I'm fairly sure I heard the Fruit Of The Loom guys snickering. I felt compelled to ride a bit further on the way back, since everyone else I know is out killing themselves for a podium spot at Sea Otter.

Arriving back at the Farm, ol' Joe and Jimmy were wriggling about in excitement at my return. Ride groups here on weekend mornings are thick, and finding a great route near your hotel or friend's house is easy via the MAP MY RIDE website. Be sure to stop by neighborhoods like L5P (Little 5 Points) and Virginia Highlands either on the bike, or after the ride while in town.

By the way..I'm in heavy negotions to get Ms. Hoffman to let me carve a stellar Short Track loop through the log-strewn property here...if I get that worked out I'll let ya know.


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