Got some catching up to do, because I'd rather ride than write. Haven't posted in a month, but still, a lot's been happening.
The weather here has been crazy-good, temps up in the 70's and sunshine; been on the road every chance I get. My speeds have not been impressing me at all though. I am averaging speeds like I did two years ago; I have been riding, but regressing. Gotta figure out what's going on and pull out of it.
Made a mistake on St. Patrick's day; two days before the Marquis de Sade, I got out and did a metric. Tried to keep it conservative and not hurt myself, but still it was too much. Last year I finished MdS without walking at all, this year it's another story.
We left North Greenville University (thanks, NGU, for letting us base there!) at 0830 and within 20 minutes we were grunting up Pack Mountain. My Garmin registered two climbs on this mountain at 17 and 15%! This was followed by a fairly flat ride into a stiff wind, pretty much all the way to the bottom of Callahan Mountain.
Rolled down through Indian Camp at some outrageous speeds (Woo Hoo!) and started the climb up through the G'ville Watershed. I love this part of the ride. It's not cake, it is a long, gradual grade that takes you over into North Carolina, but it's probably the prettiest lake I have ever seen. Totally restricted and undeveloped in order to protect the city's water supply.
Once you top out of the Watershed, it's more crazy, thrilling downhill, just about all the way to Tryon, NC. I maintained speeds in this stretch between 30 and 40 mph.
Beyond Tryon, is the infamous White Oak Mountain. I've climbed (and suffered) White Oak, and attempted so this time; but about 3/4 of a mile up, I knew that if I did it this time, I would not finish the ride. So, I spun it around, took the shortcut, and went around. Yeah, the pansy option.
From there, it's a bit of an uneventful though beautiful ride to and through the Green River Cove. But the bill must be paid; the climb out of this gorge is tough! I rode as far as I could until my heart rate told me to get off and walk a bit. Managed to make it out of the gorge and stop at the store in Saluda where I met up with my brother, whom I had not seen since Pack Mtn., hours earlier. He was suffering too, but at least he made it across White Oak.
Clouds started rolling in as we were leaving Saluda, and as we approached the Watershed on the return trip, the rain began! I don't mind getting caught in the rain, but those drops can sting when speeds get up! I should have been more nervous (cautious?) than I was, but the road felt good and I did my best to read it, so down the hill I went with all I had. At one point, the rain had slowed almost to a stop, so I got in the drops and gave it all I had, and saw 41 mph on a fairly flat straightaway! One of these days I'm gonna bust it and it's gonna hurt...
Stopped at the bottom to group up with some friends for the last 8 miles or so and the weather began to worsen again, with thunder and lightning, so we decided to take the alternate route back; same distance, less climbing. It's still early in the year, we were all shot!
Made it back safely to NGU, where sunshine, dry clothes, and a boatload of delicious baked spaghetti was waiting for us. Thanks to Mark Janes and the FreeWheelers for yet another awesome day on the road.
Another highlight was riding with a blogger friend Kathrin, you should visit her over at "BarkLessTriMore" . She is going to do AOMM this year and I have all confidence in her.
Really felt the burn the next day, so I wanted to do some easy spinning just to loosen up a bit. Loaded my son and our mountain bikes up, and visited the Sandhills site of Clemson Extension Center. We had a great time, it's a beautiful area full of trails and ponds and even some exhibits.
Anyhoo, that was a lot of catching up to do. Now I need to get caught up around here so I can hit the road again Thursday!
Be blessed, be safe!