So the members of Half Acre Cycling have been shaking and shrugging off cobwebs and training hard in anticipation of the 2009 bike racing season. Long hours on the trainer, staring outside the window on snow falling from leaden skies on top of frozen snow, stained brown and yellow from beast, and gray from the sodden slush kicked up by the tread of a CTA bus careening headlong down the road.

It's enough to make any cyclist lose their mind, spending time inside on the trainer, sisyphian in its misery. With the only occasional relief in the form of a 25 degree day and a long ride to the far stretches of Lake County, frozen digits and burning thighs the only reward.

Some of Half Acre Cycling's been lucky enough to spend some time in places elsewhere, warmer likely, but for many of us on the team, we've all been in this boat together and until only about a week ago, we thought this thing was about to sink under the crusted ice of a Chicago winter. We envy those with friends in strange places like Arizona or Florida, and especially if they visit those friends in the middle of January, though we envy them not in July. We're in March, however, and we've a long way off to the pleasantries of that summer season.

To give us a break from this metropolis, a fair crew of Half Acre Cycling's roster is heading south to the hills and mountains of Georgia on Tuesday night for a training camp. Just like how the pros do it, we're going to ride hard, train hard, and sleep like stones. It's time for us to get fit, or fitter, and with race season just two whole weeks away, it's high time for the A-game.

Packed like tinned fish, our gang of ten plans over the course of four days to conquer Brasstown Bald and other equally steep and punishing pitches, and explore the far reaches of that small corner of The South. Can I wish us a godspeed? Aye, I think I can. The weather calls for warm temperatures, maybe some rainy skies, but no matter, a set of fenders and some Vaseline is all that one really needs. Rumor has it that there's a hot tub; rumor has it that we may be enjoying some of our title sponsor's finest works. However, after an 80 mile day going up and down hills, just about one beer is all one really needs, or wants.

So wish us luck on our trip to Georgia. We'll have pictures and recaps of the adventures up as soon as we get back.

 -Zach Thomas