Monday, August 25, 2008

Condensed Updates....Well, It Is A Bit Long.....

Well, I didn't get around to this over the weekend - it was a pretty full & busy one! So, what's been going on in ole Wolfpack's life lately you ask? HeHe...lots of fun!

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I think the biggest change happened over the Fourth of July...Officially became separated from the spouse. I left work on 7/3 and drove to Charlotte to spend the evening with my friend J while the spouse was moving stuff out that day/evening. I managed to talk her into riding the Fabulous Fourth Metric with myself and friend Andy, from Sylva. Don't recall if I did a ride report on that ride or not, but I think I did....after that ride I headed on back home to Clayton and was greeted with an empty house....not literally. My kid was gone on vacation with his Dad, some of the agreed upon furniture & stuff was gone. It was kind of scary & sad all at the same time.

I went to bed sad that night, wondering if I'd done the right thing, having tons of doubt. Woke up the next morning and really didn't feel like going for the group ride, but made myself do so because I didn't need to sit around the house thinking about stuff. Had a great ride IIRC. The rest of the weekend went by pretty fast. That following week, I had a freakin' blast - out riding with my friends, making new friends, no one to answer to except myself. Then, towards the middle of the week, Andy asks me to come up and ride with him. So, of course I say yes! There's a ride report on that...

But, basically, the separation has been good for me. I've been tons happier the past 1.5 months - keep asking myself why I didn't do this sooner. Not sure that a reconciliation is in the plans. No new guy either - well, not quite true, but I'll just let y'all keep guessing on that:).....So, that's the life, the cycling stuff! :)

I've been riding a lot this month...mostly Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Saturday/Sunday. Tuesday's have been from The Spin Cycle - easy beginner ride of around 18mi and C pace, in preparation for the usual Hammerfest on Wednesdays & Thursdays. Wednesday's are rides from Cary with the pace somewhere between 16-18mph. After the rides are usually at the Ale House next door for a couple of beers & food. Thursdays are from TSC again, the C to C+ pace for 30+ miles. Having a great time on all of these rides!

Weekends....Let' see....I did a metric with one of my friends from the Falls Lake area the weekend of 8/9. Very nice ride & company. A beautiful day - we left at 6:30am - nice views of the lake at that time. I think I got in another 30-40mi the next day. Back to the mountains the weekend of 8/15 to ride with Andy. Since this one is more recent, I can remember more about it.....

WNC Weekend (8/15)
Left work at 11:15am and made super time up to Balsam, where I stopped at the rest area and changed into cycling clothes. My intentions were to ride up to Waterrock Knob. Parked at the Maint. Facility at the BRP and headed out. Made sure that I took it kind of easy for the first couple of miles until actually starting the climb. Initially, I was wondering what the hell am I doing? This is kinda hard. /rolleyes/ But, once I got a little more warmed up, the climb wasn't all that bad. Damn, that was fun! Just me. Just me learning to pace myself for almost 9mi of 6%+ grade. I did stop a couple of times, but only cause I wanted to get some pictures as I went up.

Took me 1:15 or 1:20hr to climb all the way to the top. Wow. I felt great! Great in that I did this all by myself, with no help/pacing from Andy. Even now, thinking back on it...I feel good about the ride. Once at the top, took a couple of pictures, called Andy and told him where I was and that I'd be at his house as soon as I got down off the mtn. Screaming descent! God, I love descending! Back to the car in about 15min! 9mi up, 2400' climbing. Then off to Andy's.

Saturday, I had wanted to do Ring of Fire or Ring of Scott, but when I had the profile up on the screen, Andy walks by and says "I'm not doing that!" Oh why not?? :) Because un beknownst to me, he had plans for a Tour de Tuck recon ride with fellow cyclists Sunday morning. But, for Saturday we did a ride from Whittier (I think) - The Road to Nowhere, in the GSMNP. Had a bit of climbing to do on this ride...ended up with 45mi/3hr/~2400' climbing. Felt ok on this ride...

Sunday - oh boy. Tour de Tuck recon ride with Andy, Barry, Dave, & Odell. Started from the LBS in Sylva, rode to Cherokee and then hit the first 10mi climb. Before we get to the climb, the ride to Cherokee was nice - mostly some flattish sections and plenty of rollers. I did ok on this part and the guys would wait for me at the top of the climbs. Once leaving Cherokee, we got to the BRP and I was in front of the guys for a short bit, just to get some pics. Then Barry, Dave, & Odell were gone! Andy stayed with me for a little bit, asking about my power output...190's. too high and he told me that I better slow down. I listened, but for whatever reason, I had no legs for this ride once the climbing started.

I can usually do climbs around there in the 6.5-7mph range. I was off by 2-2.5mph - slower!!!! It was awful. I didn't think I'd ever get done with the climb. Andy just rode on and left me, which was ok with me. I had the iPod and started cranking the tunes to see if that would help. Nah. All I could do was just put my head down and look at the pedals turning slowly and the sweat dripping off my nose & chin onto my bike. F. That was an awful ride. Made it to the crest, very fast & fun descent to Soco Gap, where we had left water the day before. My legs hurt SO bad!! I ate 2 gels and back on the bike for the last climb up the backside of Waterrock.

4.5-5mi of unrelenting climbing. But, for some reason, this climb did not seem as bad as the first one. I eventually made it to the top, where I found Andy asleep in the grass behind the guardrail. I gave him a shout and kept going. He eventually caught up to me somewhere on the descent and it was a nice ride back to the car. The legs were killing me on any kind of grade though. Seriously hurting. Back to his house, shower, change, pack, and went and had some lunch.

Home in record setting time....left at 3:45pm, hit the Wade Ave/I40 split at 7:30pm. Best time prior to that was 4hr. Bad thing....I hate to stop during my drive unless I have to get gas or the bathroom. Well, I pushed the gas a bit too far and ran out!!!!!!!!!! First time in over 20yrs that this has happened. Called the spouse (what do you call them now??) and asked him if he would mind very much to bring me some gas! I got 2.5gal then to the gas station for 13.5 more. My tank was totally empty.

So, that leaves us with this week and last week......last week was just the shop rides I've mentioned earlier. Plus I did a 1.5mi run on Wednesday. I'm going to try to do a little more of that - maybe pick out a 5k this Fall to do and a tri next spring....

I was supposed to ride with friend Martin to Virginia and back on the 23rd, but I was very tired/sore all week and bailed on that ride - 100+mi. Ended up riding with friends, Tim, Jon, Tracy, & Jon's friend Ed. Route was for 66mi but we (Tim, Tracy, myself) cut out 8mi because Tracy was having cramping problems. Nice ride. Right at a 22mph avg for the first 1.5hr - most like down US 1. Then the pace backed off since we hit the "hills" and no longer working in a paceline. Finished that ride in 3hr something I think....sat around afterwards at Tim's with our favorite "recovery" beverages.

Sunday (yesterday) was a 42mi group ride from the Carolina Brewing Company in Holly Springs. The 42mi group stayed together pretty well until the first real climb. Split everyone up and I burned up a lot of matches bridging the gap to the lead group. Thank god they stopped at one intersection for regrouping. I got into the middle of the paceline and tried to recover. Did manage to recover a bit and had an 18.2mph avg to the rest stop. I did ride behind this woman who pedals toe-down. All the time. Wow. Her calves were always flexed. That's how I used to ride (try not to now) and I can see how I would be cramping from that. And, she is a masher!! I mean, really. It just hurt my knees to ride behind her.

After the rest stop, it was some long downhills - I hooked up with another guy and we (the whole group) were split up. Carlos and I took a short cut back to the CBC - avoiding this killer hill (and, yes, Andy, this one is tough. Very steep). Neither of us could have done it. Well, I'll take that back, yes, I could have done it, but it would have been brutal. Carlos pulled me the entire way back - last 10mi. Such a trooper! And he's got the nice legs to look at as well. :)

Free beer once you got back to the CBC. :) I should've been doing these rides earlier! I think there's only one more from the CBC. :(

So --- I'm caught up! That took a while - need to be more diligent in writing to the blog. I just have Tour de Tuck coming up in a month. Need to talke to that coach/mentor guy and see if I should be doing any "training" for this. After my dismal recon ride, I want to do so much better on the actual ride. Was thinking of it as a C ride, but I'm almost thinking of treating as a B ride. We'll see....

OK - gotta run -- work is calling!!!!

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