Sunday, October 02, 2011

Stage 5

 Another day in the saddle.  Today's stage is my favorite, and while not easy, it seems to flow more than the other stages.  After getting through all of the creek crossings.  Maybe the frozen toes distract from some of the pain, or possibly I am more familiar with this side of the range.

The gun went off for the 6ish mile pavement ride to Turkey Pen.  When we hit Hwy280, we stepped on the gas, up and over the first steep climb, I was able to hang on and make the selection in the lead pack of about 20 elite riders.  Free ride for me. 

Up and into the woods, winding twisting, ridding 99% of the downhill was an accomplishment for me.  In and out of the river and finally to the 5015 climb.  200yrds up and the climb and Jason reeled me in.  I knew then that I had enough to finish strong and hopefully beat last year's time.  We chatted for a bit, and I decided not to play mind games and just let him know that I was not going to attack.  The rest of the climb was more laid back and relaxed.  And it was nice to have someone to chat with.

The wife and kid at the aid station at Yellow Gap, re-fill on water and head up Laurel Mtn Trail.  I had forgotten my HRM strap and was operating off of PRE ( perceived rate of exertion) and it seemed to be working well.   I just settled in and spun the pedals.  Up and over the mountain, down Pilot Rock Trail, I could hear the horn and people yelling below.  Zig zagging back and forth down the switchbacks, riding some dabbing some, keeping it safe.  At the Humvee section, the crowd yelled, I heard my name,  I smelled perfume..... I made it to the bottom, leaning into a boulder but no touching the ground with my foot.  I'll give myself a 99.9% !

The wife and kid were a little ways down, hiking up to see the action.  A brief stop to say hey, then on down the mountain. 

Gravel road, paved road, gravel road, Club Gap, Avery Creek....I think,  then down the gravel to the last aid station at the Horse Stables.  Time to grind.  Some Coke and Fritos as I hit the first steep, then it was on.  I pinned it the rest of the way, using up everything that I had.  The air was cool enough that I didn't have to worry about overheating.  As I spun my way up the mountain, I reminisced about the friends new and old, my progress in riding, and lots of other things that had happened this week. 

It was a tough week and I had endured.  I was also able to ride faster than last year, which is a huge accomplishment!! 

Time to start training for next year!

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