Then hammer some more!!!
Last night I got out on a fast paced (for me) ride. BRP->276->1206->5000 in 3:01, starting at 8PM.
When I left I told Erinna that my plan was to take it easy and to be at Mt. Pisgah for some sunset photos. Well, I got onto the parkway and took a few photos at every overlook along the way. A perfect way to warm up in my opinion.
Well, the photo project wrapped up as I approached rt151 because I had climbed directly into the clouds, there were no more views to be had. I was feeling pretty good at that point also so I changed the intent of the ride and picked up the pace.
Now would be a good time to mention that I was about as dehydrated as one could be while still functioning, see, last week I had a bout of food poisoning and a sinus infection... well, let's just say I hadn't fully recovered.
Every single mile clicked by with incredible slowness and every time I saw a mile marker I'm sure I let out an audible 'uuuugh' as ONLY one more mile had passed. I had told Erinna that if I wasn't feeling it I would turn around at Mt. Pisgah and just do an out and back. Well, I was feeling good enough that I thought, maybe I'll turn around at 276. My stomach was churning and my heart rate felt like it was at a steady 200 but my legs felt fine.
My head was still in the game so without the slightest pause I hammered through the stop sign and started the descent into Pisgah proper. With lights now full on I didn't take a moment of rest and the droid says I got going 43.5mph along the way. The turn onto 1206 was next and again without a break at a usual stop I hammered onto the gravel. I knew it was 5 miles of relatively flat gravel road to the next intersection and the plan was to stop there. With my head down, eyes forward, legs spinning FAST, heart rate still WAY too high, and a little drool hanging from my lips I had the sudden urge to well, stop, and without a moment of hesitation I had the remains of a BLT sandwich on my foot. That's right, hammer til ya puke! I could hear Phil Ligget commentating: 'Poor Chap, Looks like he's having a rough go of it now, doesn't he?' and with a laugh and a drink of water I resumed the hammer. I was at my furthest point from the car, I had to just keep going. I was concerned. I was mad. I was having a great time.
I kept the pace as high as I could and the landmarks clicked by with ease. Pilot Rock, Slate Rock, Pilot Cove, Bradley Creek, and even the climb to Yellow Gap. I took my only rest of the evening there then after less than 5 minutes I was on my way to NMRC. Along the way every camp was full and the smell of campfires permeated the woods. It had become a beautiful night with temps in the mid 60's, high humidity, and a huge rising moon.
I turned onto 5000 and my final climb was upon me. At the top of the pavement I got a big cheer from some campers. I was again reminded of 'Le Tour'. Fist pumping fans at the top of the climb yelling encouragements. I don't know if they were cyclists or not but they sure did know how to cheer one on. I was rejuvenated with a big smile by the ridiculousness of it all. The climb to Trace parking took longer than expected but the rest of the climb went by in a flash. The first gate, Spencer, the third gate..... and back to the car. I quickly took out the droid for the first time to stop the timer and was happy with what I saw: 3:01 total time out which is right in line with my best time for this ride. Other stats: 32.5 miles, 4068' elevation gain, 43.5mph max speed, 11.9mph average moving speed. Not bad.
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