It was the day before the Fletcher Flyer, but when Mike called and said he was coming to town and wanted a 40-50 mile ride, I couldn't resist showing him around the mountains! We met a little after 8am on Saturday and headed out towards Black Mountain winding through Reems Creek, around Warren Wilson, and out old Hwy 70. We pedaled through town then hung a right on Hwy 9. Up and over the Eastern Continental Divide, we were up in the clouds. Misty and cool, dropping down the other side and greeted by a Buncombe County Sheriff roadblock. They waved us through.
We then turned right on Old Fort Rd, enjoying the scenery at a mellow pace. We were bombing down the hill at Echo Lake and I saw a fox, standing there looking at the water. I yelled for Mike to stop. We turned around to take a look and found a plastic decoy, apparently to scare the geese! I was disappointed and considered chucking it in the water..... but I didn't.
We came out on Hwy 74A stopped for some food and coffee at Mountain Mojo, then headed home.
The afternoon and evening were spent preparing for and executing the kid's birthday party. Our little yard packed with kids running around screaming.... fun times!
Then Sunday morning rolled around early, 5:15am. Time to get up, eat, load and drive out for the Fletcher Flyer. I arrived to find a traffic jam getting into Oskar Blues where the start finish was. I pulled into the Elementary school, got changed, mounted my single speed and headed to the start.
Yup, single speed. Why? It is something I have always considered doing and since this year, is my year of "Take bike racing less seriously" I figured it would be a good time to go for it.
I had taken one short ride with a 42x19 gearing set up and was hoping it would be alright. After the 100 miles on this course, at least an 18 or maybe even 17 would have been a better option. Next year....
We lined up and headed out. I was with the lead group when my computer popped off the handlebars. Dang it. I pulled over and grabbed it, managing not to get run over. Hopped back on the bike and took off. I worked my way up through the pack and grabbed Kevin Hessler's wheel for a 3 seconds, then the pace went up and I was forced to find my own rhythm. I spent the rest of the ride hoping for that perfectly paced group to come along. It never happened, I was faster up hill, I would tuck in on the down hills but had some difficulty keeping up if the speed got above 21mph. I could maintain 21mph but that was my limit, and with the gearing 18-19 was more comfortable.
It rained on and off for the first part of the ride, but I was maintaining a steady pace. Around 40 miles in I was riding just ahead of a small group when a truck coming the other direction, ran over a large chunk of gravel and launched it straight into my face. The larger than a quarter sized piece of granite smacked me on the left side of my nose, narrowly missing my eye and my mouth. I was stunned for a second then pulled over and sat on the side of the road to assess the damage. I would like to say how impressed I was that the hoards of cyclists stopped to make sure I was ok. That didn't happen so I sat for a few minutes while the pain faded slightly, then I touch my nose. Everything seemed intact except for a little skin missing. Thankfully, a guy in a Road ID kit stopped to check on me. I continue riding.
As I ride, I started thinking about rest stop food. I consider all of the research on proteins and how they should be taken before or after, but not during, and if during, only a little bit. If that is the case, I wonder how much a pb and j affects performance during these rides. Especially with whole grain bread? It does not seems like this combo would take a lot of energy for the body to process. Cheap and easy yes, but good for energy? hmm
After 6hrs and 10 minutes of winding around the valley, I arrived back at the brewery, excited to be done and looking forward to some Moe's BBQ.
It was a great day overall, the rest stops were great, super helpful and even funny and entertaining. The rest of the evening was uneventful, home, nap in the hammock, hanging with the family etc.
Around mid nite though, I woke up feeling bloated and yucky. The next 3 hours was spent in the bathroom, allowing my body to purge itself of who knows what? Ugh. I wish I could figure out what causes that and avoid it.... But I survived and woke up to tell the story.
20 days until my next adventure!