Wow, what a ride! Today was the "Marquis de Sade," an AOMM training ride hosted by the Spartanburg Freewheelers. It (according to my trusty Garmin Edge 705) was just shy of 84 miles and just over 8400 feet of climbing! This is, without a doubt, the HARDEST ride I have ever completed. EVER. I tried to do this last year but had to SAG out when I shredded a tire on the way up White Oak Mountain. Had I actually made it up the mountain last year, I still don't think I could've finished the route; I was not yet half way and my body was screaming for mercy or death!
This year, things are different. This is my year. I have dropped over 40 pounds in the last six months, I have trained hard through the winter, and I am stronger and healthier than ever. Barring any injury or mechanical catastrophe, I will complete the 2010 Assault on Mt. Mitchell on May 24th!
Anyhoo, back to the MdS yesterday. The hardest part of the ride was getting started. It was like 40 degrees when we pulled out, brrr! We turned the heat on pretty quickly though, about 15 minutes into the ride we had started the climb up Pack's Mountain (part of the climb actually hits 17% incline!). Turns out Pack's would be the smallest thing we climbed all day. We would proceed over Callahand Mtn., up the Greenville Watershed (one of the prettiest routes I've ever ridden), over to Tryon to climb White Oak Mtn. (2000 feet in 5 miles!), through Green River Cove (yet another truly beautiful route), climbed out of the gorge to Saluda (~1000 feet in 4 miles) and made our way back to North Greenville University, from whence we came.
The weather eventually warmed a little (or did I?) and the whole day was bright sunshine. The climbing was hard, but my new speakers were a great distraction for me. The speakers also helped me reign in my competitive side so I could pace myself and go the distance. The one thing I don't get, and have to work on, is the cramping. I take electrolyte capsules and drink plenty of fluids, yet I still got cramps. I managed to work it all out before the end, but I'd love to avoid them altogether.
Now's not the time to back off though. I still have much work to do before May gets here. So, I'll keep hammering around Lexington County, and hopefully make another trip or two to the hills for some torturous climbing exercises. You get out of it what you put into it. Be blessed, be safe.