Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekly Recap

Whew! I have around 150mi for the legs are a bit sore/tired. I didn't eat properly on Wednesday and I really paid for it on the ride. My legs screamed, I was starving half-way through the ride....not a good day. I guess that plus 4 straight weeks of 130+mi means I need a rest week this coming week before Roan.

Tuesday was with the "beginner" group - an easy 18mi ride, where me & another guy took turns riding really hard for short distances and then waiting up for the group. Went out to eat with the guys afterwards.

Wednesday was another group ride - something close to 32mi, but, as I mentioned above, I didn't do so hot on that ride, but refused to be dropped by my friend. I would do short intervals to catch back up to him...similar to what I did when Andy dropped me on climbs at the FFM on 7/4. My legs have been really sore/tired since then.

Friday, I had the bright idea to attempt a metric in the afternoon heat. Abandoned that idea after about 15 miles....way too hot/humid, no shade, and legs still feeling sluggish....35mi ridden.

Saturday was a group ride, rode with my friends Jay & Erica. Erica had to SAG after about 18mi - she wasn't feeling well. Jay and I continued on...good to ride with him again! :) Even though we ended around 11:30 - it was getting pretty warm and, again, there is not a lot of shade where we ride - so riding in the heat/humidity plus no shade, makes it tough. Right at 50mi, 2:50hr.

Sunday - short 28mi ride with a guy from work earlier this morning. I could really tell that my legs were tired...lots of short hills and I just didn't seem to have any power. Then after I got home this afternoon, got an email from Jay...he had a 30mi route to ride this afternoon. I'm addicted to cycling....I so wanted to tell him I could come ride, but my legs are toast now...maybe I'll get to ride with him later this week.

So, that's it for this past week. Next week is going to be a really easy week leading up to Roan Moan.

One Week To Go...

Yep. One week to go before my very first mountain century. Roan Moan is next Saturday (8000' climbing)...I'm pretty sure I will be able to do this ride. I feel confident, especially after completing 2 centuries and completing 77mi last weekend in Franklin.

I will have a fairly easy week next week...only going to ride on Tuesday (well, that one is a maybe) and Wednesday (normal group ride that I've just recently been able to start riding again). Off on Thursday and then travel Friday afternoon. I might ride a little bit Friday evening, but I'll be staying in Burnsville, so I don't want to do any kind of climbing the day before...just something easy.

Will post ride report after I get back.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

WNC Weekend

Photobucket Album

WNC Weekend of Climbing

Another great weekend of riding up in WNC!! I arrived kinda frazzled Friday evening - traffic was awful. So, there was no riding on Friday, which probably was a good thing.

The route for Saturday, except we cut out part of it - went from MM65 to MM77/78.

View Interactive Map on

Saturday morning we were to be out and riding around 8am, but someone didn't get up till 7:45am!! I quickly got some great leftover pasta from the night before, topped off the water bottles and Andy & I headed out to Franklin to start our ride. The route sort of followed the Tour de Franklin metric route (I think) and then some additional loops. The terrain was gently rolling for the first hour - we set a nice easy pace and I was making sure to eat (gel) & drink (Perpetuem) about every 15min. After this hour, we come to the first climb - Buck Creek, which is about 10 miles in length. I climbed this one in just a little over an hour - 1:12. Not too bad I don't think. Will have to check when I get home to see what the numbers for both climbs were....

This climb was not too bad at all. Not as hard as I expected. I guess I've come a long ways in 10 months! I would never have been able to do this climb 10mo ago. Anyways, I just set a pace that I knew I could sustain and didn't bother trying to keep up with Andy. He never got too far ahead of me, maybe around a hundred yards. The scenery up there was just gorgeous and traffic was minimal.

After this climb, we had a nice descent on Hwy64, IIRC. As we were descending, we passed another rider was one of Andy's friends Ludwig...this guy is awesome, rides all the time. As I was looking around to see if Andy was going to stop & talk or anything, I almost wrecked! I turned around and I was on the white line and headed towards the ditch. There is NO shoulder. I thought "oh shit" but leaned to the left as much as possible and got back on line and headed in the right direction. That was really close. And, it would not have been pretty had I wrecked.

We passed Bridal Veil Falls as we headed down US64 and the Cullasaja Gorge. After the near wreck, we reach a little store and get some water, heading on down the Gorge. I let Andy lead the way, as he wants to stop at Dry Falls & get my picture, but work is being done on the parking lot so we have to skip it. We stop at an overlook (well, really, just a pull off) and take pictures of Cullasaja Falls. The drought has really hurt this area....the last time I was there, back in '05 maybe, there was A LOT more water flowing. Took a couple of pictures and headed on towards Highlands.

Once we got to the Highlands area, we skirted through some neighborhoods until we came to a T-intersection and he says he doesn't know which way to go! LOL. We turn around and go ask some guy working in his yard. Get back on track and then it's nice rolling terrain again until we come to the second climb of the day. South Skeena Rd. This one was pretty short, only about .75mi in length, but the grade was much steeper than Buck Creek. I think I was pretty slow up this one. The temps were getting hot, my IT band left knee was hurting, and I was getting a bit tired. I managed ok though. It took me 13 minutes to do this climb.

Finished that climb with a nice long downhill on some road that I can't remember the name of...take a left and we do the Standing Indian climb, take a right and we stop for water and head on back to the car. We opted for the right since it was getting on up towards 3pm and we had plans for that evening - meeting some of Andy & his wife's friends on the Parkway for a picnic. We finished up the ride on Hwy 64 - nice wide shoulders and the cars generally moved over to the left lane as passing.

Overall, that was a great ride. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't have time to do the full 95 miles or even 100 miles, but I'm sure there will be other times. Maybe I'll head back up there in August and we can attempt to get in the full distance. I felt soooooooo good Saturday. I paced, ate/drank well, and it really showed. That nice long warmup was key too. Only problem I had was my left IT band was killing me at times. I couldn't get out of the saddle to climb later on because it was just excruciating. I'm going to really have to work on this over the next 2 weeks before Roan Moan....

Sunday was pretty much a wash as far as riding. We were starting at the overlook where the SEBF Fall ride started last year and planned to ride up to Richland Balsam & back. But, the weather had other plans. Last year, when we started this climb, I was in trouble immediately - looking down to see if there were any more gears. This year, 10 months later, I never went to my 28 cog. At least 1 or 2 below that. And, I felt like I was flying up this climb...probably was compared to last year. 8.2mph vs something like 6mph. I was also putting out higher watts and not suffering. I was holding the wattage in the high 180's to low/mid 190's for all of the climbing. For me, that's sorta high. Maybe my FTP has increased.

So, we made it up to about 4.5 - 5 miles and the rain was starting to come down pretty good. Decided to turn around because it does not get any better the higher you go. Heading back down was not as fun because of the wet roads. Back down at the car, it was quite balmy and much less rain coming down. Packed the bikes up and headed back to the house to change & pick up Andy's daughter and then get some lunch.

After lunch - I had to pack my stuff up and head home. :( It's so beautiful up there! I really wish I could find some work up there with the DOT and move. But, that move won't be this year...I have to at least wait till my kid graduates high school next year....

That's all...I'll try to remember to post some pics later this evening.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Week in Review....

It's actually been a really good week for me. I've had some changes happen in my life over the past few months and big ones more recently, which I think are a contributing factor to how I've felt this week. I don't want to give out lots of details, as that part of my life I like to keep somewhat private - except for a few close friends. Let's just say that I have been really happy this week considering all that has occur ed.

I rode Friday through Monday, Tuesday off, rode Wednesday, and off Thurs/Friday....

Monday was a really great ride with some friends and my first real ride computerless. It was great! No pressure/stress to do anything but ride and to not let this one guy get too much of a breakaway on the group. I succeeded. :)

Wednesday - oh boy. What a ride! Met my friends in Cary and rode the OMV Wednesday ride....storms were headed our way. We made it 9.5-10 miles out, to the first turn, and decided to head back in as the sky was getting darker, thunder rolling, and then some lightning. Rode pretty hard for the first 5mi, then as we were stopped at Hwy 55, felt the first drops of rain. Rode in TT mode from that point until the bottom completely fell out in Holly Springs. O.M.G. did it fall!!! Torrential downpour, couldn't see 5' in front of me, water on the road about an inch deep. It was like riding in a pressure washer - the rain hurt so bad. Lightning strikes all around us - we just couldn't get back to the cars fast enough, but eventually did.

Once back & in a dry set of clothes a group of us went to the MacGregor Ale House for food & drink. I had a blast. Again. It's so good to be feeling happy again!

No ride Thursday and Friday (today) I'm headed back to WNC for another weekend of pain. :) Not sure if I'll get a ride in this evening or not - depends on the weather and what time I get up there.....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No Computers

Well, I have decided to go computerless for a while. After the FFM and a Cyclepath ride Saturday, I took the computers off the bike and switched out the PT wheel for the AC rear wheel. I rode computerless on Sunday and it was great. There was no pressure to go faster/harder, slow down, etc. Just ride how you feel. I couldn't understand that concept last month after Marion, but I do now. It's just great!

Last night, I did a ride from an LBS in Cary, no computer, which was to be a 30-35mi ride at a slow pace for me (15-16). Our little group had 15 riders, was a no drop...meaning we waited at turns on the slower riders. It was a little bit hilly, but nothing that I can't handle now. 6 months ago, I would never have been able to ride that route without struggling on the climbs. Last night - there was no struggling. I received many compliments on my climbing strength/ability. Everyone was really impressed with how well I did. :) I think I ended up with close to a 17mph avg for 31 miles. Pretty good.

I'm going to continue going computerless for this month and maybe next month. The only time I might use the Garmin or PT is when I do a century this coming weekend or other really long rides like that. I'm liking the stress-free riding.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fabulous Fourth Metric

I left work early on Thursday (7/3) to drive down to Charlotte to stay with a friend over night and up early for this ride the next day. I managed to twist my friend's arm a little bit and convince her to join me & Andy on the ride. It was her longest ride!

It was a really nice ride, what I remember of it, and I'd like to do it again next year. It started out pretty good, but I failed to eat/drink properly and by the first rest stop, I had only drank a small amount. I took no gels too, as I had mixed up a bottle of Sustained Energy and was planning on sipping on that for about 3hr of the ride. I was pretty tired by the second rest stop....there were lots of intervals done to catch up to Andy when I was dropped on any little hill. That just wore me slap out. By the third rest stop, I had been dropped by Andy & Jodie about half way between the two stops. I had a hard time getting to this rest stop. When I finally did arrive, I immediately found some shade and poured some water over my head. I got the 3rd degree from Andy about what was I trying to do, why was I not eating/drinking like I should? Dunno. I just didn't.

We left together from this rest stop, but I don't remember much about the ride between that one & the fourth one. Also, there were two climbs on this route...Grunt #1, which I and Jodie had to walk up. I just had nothing left in my legs to climb it and was going extremely slow. Grunt #2 was the same thing. Except I decided that I was not going to walk this one. I did have to stop about a tenth of a mile up it, but I rested and got back on the bike. Zig-zagging up the climb. Can't tell you how great it felt to see the end and to see Andy waiting on me (and Jodie) at the top. Other than those 2 hard climbs, there wasn't anything terribly hard about the ride.

From rest stop 4 to 5 was where the real difficulty began. It was a 6-7 mile climb out of the Greenville Watershed to the top (rs #5). My left knee was really starting to bother me and pretty often, it felt as if someone were jabbing an ice pick into it. I could not keep up with Jodie and Andy on this climb and at one point, Andy came back to pull me up the climb but I couldn't hold his wheel very long. When he dropped me, the guy who was with us, asked me if I was ok. I told him no and he went on up and told Andy. I guess, fortunately, the SAG wagon was pulled off to the side and Andy was waiting there. He told me that I should catch a ride and I agreed (at the time). I hitched a ride up the climb to the last rest stop.

Once at this rest stop, as I got out of the SUV, I cramped up in both quads. I could not move. I had my hands on my quads, trying to squeeze the living daylights out of them to stop the pain. Excruciating. So bad, it brought tears to my eyes. Eventually, I was able to fall to the ground on my stomach, but the cramps were still there. The people there said that they had a vehicle coming up to get me and they'd get my bike later. Oh hell no. My bike stays with me. I told them I was going to ride the remainder of the ride. They thought I was crazy. Then good ole Andy shows up. :) He helps to stretch the quads & hamstrings of my right leg, which is cramping the most. It helps a bit and I'm finally able to get up and walk around and then get on the bike.

I ride around and around the parking lot, stretching on the bike, drinking the remainder of what's in my bottle until Jodie shows up. By then, my legs are feeling a little better and all 3 of us leave together again. It is a 5-6mi all downhill section to the finish. Twisty & curvy roads! OMG. That descent made up for all the pain. I let Andy & Jodie go on ahead of me because, even though I felt better, I wasn't up to letting the speed build up too much. Finished the ride in 4:17 (for my distance of 61mi). Over 5 hours total time. Not what I or Andy had expected. Oh well. Next year, I will be in much better shape than this year and will try to ride at Andy's pace if possible.

Overall, a great ride.....