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Inline Skating 62 miles on the Silver Comet Trail: Rollerblading 100K (Metric Century) on Rail Trail to Brushy Mountain Tunnel

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After some celebrations earlier in the week and some skating (including one day that was slow and not such great fun due to some exhaustion and burnout), we decided to get some rest and plan a long day out on the Silver Comet Trail outside Atlanta, near Smyrna, GA. We put out the word late as usual, and got regrets from TomB and JonK but had our plan and perhaps some company.

We headed out for REI north of Atlanta up near the Sandy Springs Marta Station to get some goo (gels), having been to the WallofChina-Mart the night before for other sugar goodies (peppermint life savers, good'n'plenty, dried cranberries, dried apricots, gel "fruit slices," but no atomic fire balls, sadly). We also had blue skaterade powder with lite salt. The idea was to get out there and spend many hours skating, doing at least 43 but hopefully 62, pretty much our favorite trip out there, from mile 0 to and through the Brushy Mountain Tunnel, then back. We had so much time we didn't even pack our headlamps. It was the first time we'd used our CamelBak waist packs so we were bound to make some mistakes, but we had the essentials. I packed little zip bags of just the amounts I thought I could eat with the help of others, along with my camera, phone, and a couple of camera batteries. 

Thanks to AndyZ for leading us out 18 for his 36 quick miles, and to CarolineS for skating her first 62-miler metric century with us. Thanks to all who replied with good wishes and skate regrets, as well...sorry for the late notice. I didn't think we'd really do the whole distance, but with the cool temps and with our leisurely approach, it was way fun. It was windy at times but nothing like we expected from the forecast (20mph with gusts of 29 forecast). We did not have to take any detours, and the only mud we found was in the Brushy Mountain Tunnel, which we "had" to go through so we'd make it to the 31 mile post and enjoy the other side of the tunnel, which is a really nice spot. Thanks to all who considered joining us. 

We had some adventures and challenges, but that's why we do it of course! i know in the beginning I was wondering how much I had in the muscles, and I was worried about perhaps going out too fast, so I held back. We stopped at 4 miles for some supplies and I had a Cherry Coke, thanks to eebee. Wow that was super! I got water at 11 (just a top up to the skaterade); 20 (a whole waterbag of skaterade; then on the way back at 42 (the 20 mile spot, just water this time), and 51. The red roofed bike rental shed at 15 (Hiram, I think) helped Caroline get the right funky wrench for her skate clacking, but I don't think it stopped the rattle. Still they were friendly and helpful and didn't charge her for the help. 

A nice addition to the trail would be a good safe source of water at the Brushy Mountain Tunnel. There used to be a spring there I think, but the last two times I was out there I didn't see any sign of it. So let's make a note to remember when we're doing 62 out and back...

  • Top up your water and drink water at the 20 mile post restroom on the way out as it's 22 miles out and back without water.
  • Coot's Lake convenience store is after the Brushy Mountain Tunnel, not before, when going west.

The most dangerous spot I recall (not too bad but it could snag you) was the gravel and sand on the road that crosses the trail at Rambo, providing access to the gardening nursery greenhouses. There were some sandy places near a couple of the short trail tunnels on the concrete section of the trail, as I recall.

As for my day, I felt good at the start but ungreat for the first four miles, felt OK but not supersweet up to about 11, then good by 20. I was tiring in the muscles (quads mostly) as we climbed the long gentle rise to the tunnel at 31. I felt great right after the turnaround but that was due to the long gentle downhill. Once we hit a slight rise, I was feeling the muscles. At 42 (milepost 20) I got water only and had no more skaterade for the day, deciding I probably had taken in enough gels and other snacks and I would reconsider at 51. Soon after this stop, I began to feel really great. I'm not sure why, except that my AVERAGE heart rate was 17 beats below what I could sustain last year (BUT my AVERAGE it had been about that all day even when I didn't feel great...another result of great rest before I think). The only other factor was that I had switched to plain water, and on reflection, I can recall a few times (less than a handful) where I had felt really good after switching from the fairly strong skaterade mix to plain water. Some of it was likely adrenaline from realizing we were going to do the 100k with no problem finishing, but this was better than a little spike of feeling good...I felt good the last 20 miles. Of course, if anyone had hammered it I would have quickly gone back to feeling bad, I'm sure. 

As it was, we were all content to roll at a brisk but easy enough pace, and eebee and I really enjoyed being there as Caroline broke her personal record for distance. That was fun. 

It was a day of remembering that six or seven hours with the skates on can really be good for your life. Thanks eebee for being the reason for this particular day out, and Andy and Caroline for joining us!

It was a great day of skating and chilling for many hours, then going for some good pizza at Mellow Mushroom with Andy and Caroline. We spent almost the entire day devoted to a skating excursion, and it was a glorious expenditure indeed. Wish more could have been there to share it with us, but it could not have been better, regardless. We'll hope to do more Silver Comet excursions of course! 

Skateylove, roadskater

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I forgot to add that we saw a more than insubstantial skater out there apparently practicing for some cross-country skiing of the more modern skate style (as opposed to the classic Nordic double-track style driving the knee back and forth instead of skating). He was rather close to us each time he went by, and almost skewered us with his extra long anodized red ski poles (without baskets as I recall, noting that they'd go further into the chest cavity if plunged therein, lacking much to stop them). He of course did not acknowledge our insignificance, even, as he was entirely focused on his future or past glory, I would assume. So that ranks as perhaps the most dangerous animal we saw all day.

We did see a snake like we'd seen before, black or blue-black I think (maybe dark brown) with the chicken-wire pattern on it. This one was a relatively young fellow and not interested in staying around as we came by.

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Jackhammer Boots

Thanks for documenting this lovely day. The only way it could have been even better would have been if miles 13 through 49 had been paved over with smooth asphalt! But then, where would we be without the illusion of fresh legs once again at the mile 13 marker on the smooth pavement. The Silver Comet Trail is always a great place to bond with skaters, and it was nice to skate that whole way with Caroline, and part of the way with Andy, who turned around 18 miles out to go home. I think he lost an axel + wheel on the way home and had to walk a mile, putting holes in his socks.

What can I say - the post-excursion pizza was amazing! Although attempting to slap a hydrocolloid patch on my rear upper thigh in the ladies' room cubicle using a tiny make-up mirror for guidance was a little tricky :-)

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