Monday, October 17, 2011


 With the leaves changing, the seasons changing, the training changing, I decided to take a route that I had not yet taken, and on the the single speed CX bike to boot.   I headed south on the parkway, following the Liberty: Thursday night road ride route, winding through the fields, until I reached N Mills River rd, where I took a right to head into the woods.  Grinding down the pavement with a 39x19 was not too bad.  I set an easy spin and got to Wash Creek Rd and took a right to head up to Bent Creek Gap.  The climb was better than I thought it would be, it seems that my legs have finally come back from their post Stage Race vacation.  I was pleasantly surprised when a truck coming down the road stopped to let me by, then offer me some water.   Good people! 
At the top, I stopped to eat my homemade ride krispy treat that I had brought for this monumental moment.  I savored the sights; bright leaves, blue bird sky, perfect temps,  relished the smells; leaves, dirt, sun on skin.  Then I took a left and headed down hill.  It was a little sketchy, my brakes/hoods angles are not set up for dirt road decents....

 I made it to the bottom safely and considered taking a right on South Ridge Road, but decided to leave that for another day.  Instead I headed on down to Campground connector, past the lake and the up Hardtimes road back onto the parkway.  The parkway was crowded with leaf gazers, but everyone gave me plenty of room, which was really cool. 
40 miles later, I got back home, legs tired but feeling like they could keep going if I had a big sandwich to eat!  But I didn't, so I went home, had some leftovers and played with the kid.

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!