Friday, January 20, 2012

It doesn't get easier.

I just walked in from what is known around my house as the 3 hour ride. Starting at Bent Creek Gap-> Blue Ridge Parkway-> NC276-> FS1206-> FS5000 back to Bent Creek Gap.

Today's stats: Total Distance: 32.7 mi Total Time: 3:16:02 Moving Time: 2:50:14 Average Speed: 10.0 mi/h Average Moving Speed: 11.5 mi/h Max Speed: 41.5 mi/h Min Elevation: 2340 ft Max Elevation: 4972 ft Elevation Gain: 4630 ft

I was on the bike just before 11AM after a relaxing morning. Zoe was at childcare and Erinna and I both had the morning off. My motivation level was near zero but I knew today was my only chance to ride. I was pleasantly surprised by the warmish temperatures at the start. I didn't need to bring have the gear I had packed. Matter 'o fact as soon as I got started I had to strip off a thermal layer. The warm-up was viciously hard. I've been a bit sick for the past week and hadn't been on my bike in two weeks so getting my heartrate up was a painful task.
I decided there was no shame in stopping at nearly every beautiful overlook along the way to ease that pain. Once I was warmed up the miles started clicking by steadily and I reached most landmarks before I thought they should be there.

 I stopped again at the Pisgah Inn for photos then really started to find a groove heading to NC276.
   There I saw a guy taking photos so I asked if he would take a shot of me then I did the same for him.
 The 276 descent was next and awesome. I was trying to find the pothole that took out Wes D. and managed at reach my max speed of 41.5 along the way. I turned on 1206 and, feeling pretty good, hammered. Well that lasted until the creepy pine stand. All that hammering made it so I needed a break. I felt like I just may be starting to bonk.
  I felt great once I had a little food in me and 1206 started to go by quickly. I was starting to ride that line between pushing just hard enough and too hard. The strangest things got me. The flats after Pilot took forever. The strangest things felt awesome. The climb out of Bradley Creek was over before I expected. I stopped and gave a guy directions at the Laurel Mountain trailhead, put the Pisgah jersey back on at Yellow Gap, and absolutely hammered the 3 miles down the North Mills River. I had to remind myself to be cautious, that I didn't want to become a hood ornament, but still hung it out pretty far and reached 32mph on gravel. The turn up 5000 marked the final leg of the ride and the switch really flipped. As soon as the hill pointed upward I was hurting. bad. The climb back to the parkway was as hard as I've ever experienced it. I just kept my head down, stared at my bottom bracket, and pedaled. Even though I was starting to see stars the first gate appeared, then the second at Spencer. Up the steep then the third gate. Home free.

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