Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More great riding in the upstate

Too many great opportunities to get out and ride and not enough opportunities to sit down and write about it. Since the 3 state 3 mountain ride, I've now done two tuesdays at SCTAC (formerly Donaldson) and one ride this past weekend called the 'Grey Ribbon Ride'.

The Grey Ribbon Ride was a great route set up by my P3C3 team-mates Keith and Tedd. This was a ride put together by Keith for the first time last year. It is one of the ways that he raises money for the Palmetto Peloton Project. For the first two years of the Challenge to Conquer Cancer, Keith rode along as support - working as the team medic.

This is one of those jobs that does not get the credit it deserves. While the riding teams were 'on' for 6 hours and off for 24 hours, the medics (Keith and Ruben) were 'on' for 12 and 'off' for 12. What does that really mean though?

What it means is these guys were awake when everyone else (except the riding team) was sleeping - these guys worked their tails off. The amazing thing is that Keith has signed up again for the 3rd installment of the Challenge to Conquer Cancer.

Another amazing thing about Keith is that he is both a brain cancer survivor and a testicular cancer survivor. I'm sure these are the reasons he is so dedicated to the cause. He's a tireless worker, and with Tedd's help, he put together a great route for the 'Grey Ribbon Ride'.

A very cool thing about Keith's ride is there is a little built in competition - the King of the Mountain. For this year's installment, there was three routes available. The KOM was only available for the two longer routes (53 and 76 miles). Both distances shared the same route for the first 21 miles.

The 53 mile route KOM challenge ended at the state line on the climb up the watershed. This is a very well known route to those of us local to the Greenville area. It is a great climb of reasonable grade for about 7ish miles. All I can say is we hammered it, and my Greenville Spinners Team-mate Tim hammered it to cross the KOM line first.

Unfortunately, it didn't really count for him because the state line was only counted for those riding the 53 mile route. It came down to my good friend Taylor and my team mate David. Unfortunately, I'm not sure who actually took the KOM for the 53 mile route.

Tim and I had a huge gap on all the others who were riding the 76 mile route, but we kept pushing the pace nonetheless. When we came up to the Green River Cove Road switchbacks, it was me and Tim. No-one else was even close to us. At the top of the green river cove road switchbacks, I managed to pull a small gap on Tim. In doing that, I was able to bring home the KOM for the Spinners.

The other opportunities I've had for riding is at the Tuesday night SCTAC (formerly Donaldson) country rides. Last week was a great ride, but tonight was the best (and fastest) ride I've had out there.

Tonight we started with about 8 peeps and at the end we had four. Everyone pushed the pace in a huge way tonight. It didn't take long before our pace was up above 21 mph. I think we were up above 21 within the first 5 miles.

We pushed the pace for the entire ride. We had a great dynamic in the group. Everyone was getting out and working as much as possible and our pace kept increasing. We peaked at 22.2 mph as we crested the hill on Holly road.

As we rolled along Reedy fork road, we dropped a couple others, leaving us with only 4. The four of us pulled hard, but we couldn't get the average up above the 22.0 mph that we had sustained for most of the ride.

The most difficult part of keeping that pace is the loss of speed when slowing and then re-accelerating from the stops. We lost 0.3mph (from our average) when we stopped at the Michelin Road stop sign.

That doesn't sound like a lot of speed, but trying to re-gain 0.3mph is a hell of a lot of work. What I'm really trying to say is the crew we had tonight did a superb job in keeping the pace. When we pulled back into the parking area, there was four of us. It was a great feeling to arrive in a group with that kind of average. That is some awesome team work.

It is really great to have such an active cycling community here in the upstate.

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