Sunday, August 9, 2009

6 days, 350+ miles

Over the last two weeks, I've put in more miles on my road bike than I've ever done before in the same time period. Most of this riding has been with my new friends with whom I will be participating in the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride. You should note that the 6 days is not consecutive.

Here's a little breakdown of the rides - The mileage is approximate because I didn't write down the actual mileage.

Saturday July 25, 2009: Furman to Saluda (Bakery Ride) ~ 65 miles
This was my first ride with the P3C3 group. It was a lot of fun. We started at Furman, rode up through the North Greenville College / Tigerville Elementary area, took a little side loop over Callahan Mt road, then up the watershed. We made a quick stop at the bakery before returning back along the same route (except on Dividing Waters road instead of Callahan Mt. Road. This was the day they convinced me to join their trek to Austin.

Sunday July 26, 2009: Altamont Rd (Paris Mt) Repeats ~ 45 miles
After riding with the group the day before, Ron and Jeni convinced me to join them for repeats on the Furman side of Altamont road. Ron lives only a short distance from me, so I started the ride from my house. We met him at 6am (!) and headed out in the dark. We made our way over towards downtown and eventually got on Old Buncombe road. That takes us straight to the base of the Altamont road climb up Paris Mountain. The plan was to make 3 ascents.

Jeni said her goal is to climb the mountain 4 times with the first climb under 16 minutes. I have read Jonathan Pait's blogs where he talks about climbing the mountain in 12 minutes. I have heard from a friend that the pros do that climb in something like 9 minutes. You can argue that with me if you want - I'm just repeating what I heard. I don't really know how fast the pros do it, but I don't know how fast I can do it either. So, as I departed from the bottom for the first of 3 repeats, I checked my clock

I managed to get out ahead of Jeni, Ron and Ron's neighbor who rode with us that day. After the previous day's ride, my legs were feeling it, but I pushed myself to see how I would do. At the top, I looked at my clock and I had made the climb in about 15 min 20 seconds. Ok. that sets a baseline. Jeni was not far behind me and she was very happy to see her time at the top was under 16 minutes (15:50 if I remember correctly).

We waited for everyone to get to the top, then we all flew back down the way we came. At the bottom, I decided to just turn right around and head up. I checked my clock again, and started my ascent. At the top, I found I had done the second repeat about 30 seconds faster than the first. On my way up I had seen Jonathan (from Appalachain Outfitters) stopped with a flat. I had offered assistance, but he said he was ok. On the way back down, he stopped me and borrowed my hand pump. Both Jeni and Ron passed me and beat me to the base. They were already climbing for their third repeat as I came around the final turns of the descent.

Once again, I checked my clock and started my ascent.
Of course, since they were in front of me, I had to give chase! They were tough to catch. I pushed myself hard, but it was almost to the turn before the wall before I finally caught them. Jeni had just about caught Ron as I caught the two of them. Another look at the clock at the top - I was a little slower than my second attempt, but still almost 15 seconds faster than my first attempt. When everyone gained the top, we descended the other side. I bid them farewell and went for a few laps of Cleveland park. I was beat by the time I got home.

Saturday 1 August, 2009 - UWBL route - 63 miles (+16 'commuting' miles)
This was another group ride with the P3C3 crowd. we met up at the University Ridge County buildings parking lot for a 7am (or 730?) departure. I had done this route (or something like it) on July 4th with a big group from Carolina Triathlon. Our P3C3 group wasn't quite as big, and it wasn't near as fast. This is a great route through some beautiful country. Not too many hills either. We ended up with an average around 18.4 mph or so. Pretty good I thought. UWBL stands for the 'Upstate Winter Bike League'.

The extra bicycling miles for this day came from my proximity to downtown Greenville. I live about 4 miles from the west end where we met, so I rode to the meetup and home again. That was an extra 8 miles. That evening, I went downtown for the Comedy vs cancer show - of course I rode my Surly 1x1. Add that up for another 8 miles to give me the day's total of about 79 miles.

Sunday, 2 August, 2009: YMCA route ~60 miles
During the evening's festivities at the Comedy vs cancer show, I saw Jeni and met Perry for the first time. Perry is also a member of the team to which I have been assigned for the P3C3 ride to Austin. Of course, being a member of this team, I am interested in meeting and of course riding with my team-mates. Perry and Jeni said they were meeting up at the Simpsonville YMCA the following morning for a 60 miler. Ed would also be there. I had met him the previous day. He and Jeni will ride on the same team.

The YMCA route is well laid out and well marked. The roads are quiet with little traffic. We had some sprinkling throughout the ride, but never really got rained on hard at all. It turns out Perry is a very strong rider just like both Jeni and Ed are strong riders. We did our best to punish ourselves and each other for the entire ride. It was a really fun day. I thought I had done well with about 140 miles on the weekend until I saw that Jeni had logged 200 for the weekend

Tuesday, 4 August, 2009: Donaldson ~34 miles
This day was to be an experiment by the Spinners to break the normally large groups into much smaller groups. I met up with Jeni, John and Perry and we decided to ride together. I'll avoid a lot of details as I have already written about this ride. I'll just say that we had a great ride that night.

Saturday, 8 August, 2009: Greenville to Hartwell Lake ~60 miles (+14 'extra' miles)
What a great ride we had yesterday! The purpose was to have a P3C3 group ride from near the Greenville Hospital to Ron's place on the lake. The route was just a hair over 60 miles. A number of people were going to stay out at the lake house and ride back this morning. Toby and I decided to drop his car on friday night so we would be able to return to Greenville after spending some cool-down time at the lake.
I had an opportunity to meet another of my team-mates Joey. He's a member of the POA cycling team as is Jonathan Pait (the fourth member of my team). That rounds out the team for me - I have met or know all of them now.
There was a surprising amount of traffic on the roads yesterday morning. Everybody made it safely to the lake house, but we ended up with 3 groups. A faster group of about 15 or so led out with a smaller and slower group bringing up the rear. Our middle group was just a single rider. Jerry turned around to check his front tire after we had already taken off. He managed to catch and pass the slower group, but those of us in the front group thought he went back to ride with the slower group. He ended up taking a wrong turn someplace and never really ended up riding with anyone. Thankfully, he did make it to the lake house a little later in the afternoon.
Once the lead group arrived at the entrance to the subdivision, we stopped for a quick photo, then Jeni, Perry, Ed, Megan and I took off to rack up another 14 or 15 miles.
Jeni, Ed and Perry had started from Jeni's house at 5am and met us at the meetup location a little before our departure time. They had logged 26 miles before we even got started! They wanted to make it a full century, so that's why we went out for the additional mileage. We were able to set a pretty good pace for an out and back ride on Highway 11. I think we were all whipped by the end of that.
Few things have felt as good as jumping in that lake when I arrived at the house. We had Barry the Fedex guy on cooking duty and he grilled up some tasty chow. After, we went down and swam off the docks for a few hours. Overall it was a great day.

I could have stayed overnight at the lake house - those that did turned around and rode back this morning. Toby and I drove back last night. I was thinking I might get up early and get in a few miles. Unfortunately, my body said rest, and my yard was screaming for some TLC. After more than 350 miles in the last couple of weeks, today is a rest day.

1 comment:

  1. That is some STRONG riding. I love how much fun we are having for such a great cause. Could it get much better?!!

    Scott corrected me last night... I reached over 225 in 8 days of riding. Pretty exciting for me :)))


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