Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Successful Training Day!

I had a big day planned on the bike and spent the night before getting everything together. I was feeling a little bit of a scratchy throat coming on which was in the back of my mind all evening.  I hope I'm not getting sick, I hope I'm not getting sick.  I had everything pretty much ready to go, set my alarm for 5:30 and hit the sack.  

5:30 came around quickly and I woke up immediately when the alarm went off.  I felt motivated to get up and get on my way. Then I realized I was doomed, my throat was killing me.  I could hardly swallow.  I went to the sink, poured a glass of salt water and started gargling, one of my moms old tricks that usually never works but is always worth a try! It did make it feel a little better.  I pounded an Emergen-C and decided to get a little extra rest. 
Price Lake
The second time I woke up I felt a little better and decided to get my things together and go.  Worse case scenario is that I end up coughing up a lung, being sick and tired and just turn around and come home.  

So it was a later start than I had planned but I was off, riding down the Greenway, up Winklers Creek Road and then to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I decided the Parkway would be a great warm up for the morning and continued on all the way to Roseboro Road. It was a beautiful day, perfect temps and not really any clouds in the sky. 

Grandfather Mountain
I made sure to keep up on my eating for the day.  I have a tendency to forget and then by the end of a long day I start feeling the consequences. I'm not much for figuring out specifics but more just go on what I feel like eating. I have switched to eating things that will be available on the divide, AKA gas station food! It's not the best diet but it works.

Ripping down Roseboro Rd went by quick and before I knew it I was climbing up 192 to Old House Gap.  This is a great "road" that is pretty rough and steep in spots but a fun climb. Cresting out at Old House Gap I continued onto the gravel of 192 which is one of my favorite roads in the forest.  It just has a remote feel and is super windy and fun to ride.

 Eventually I worked my way over to Pineola Road (FR 464) and began the long climb up to FR 58.  I was thinking about riding up to the top and ripping down Headquarters, a super fun fast downhill but I had hit the 50 mile mark at the turnoff for 58 and knew heading to the top would add an extra hour or so and 10 miles so opted for FR 58.

The flowers were out big time!  I must have seen 15 different kinds along the roads.  Here's a trillium.

And finally a little bit of singletrack! Gotta keep it real out there.  After some fun turns and a couple steep climbs I ended up on Chestnut Mountain Road.  This is a grassy double track that is usually climbed to access some great single track but today I had the opportunity to rip down it.  It provides some great views and some fun riding!

I was glad to see the "OPEN" sign lit up at the Betsy's Ol' Country Store.  I had been craving a Coke for at least 15 miles at this point.  It tasted so good!

From here there is a short climb over Staircase Mountain and then a 5 mile stretch of flat riding until the infamous Globe Road which climbs just over 2,000 feet at an average grade of about 10%.  I had decided to ride only half loaded today since I was dealing with a slight pain in my achilles tendon from some earlier training rides up and down Globe Road earlier in the week.  I didn't want to make it worse.    I started up the climb and could feel the pain in my achilles but it was easy to manage. I just couldn't put a lot of power in so I just spun at a decent pace and made my way. About halfway up it started feeling better and I stood up for the long steep section and didn't really notice it bothering me at all. I had issues with my achilles during the Trans North Georgia on day 3 as well but it was also quick to work itself out then.  I finally made it to the top and stopped at the overlook in Blowing Rock and realized I was going to be about 10 miles short of my 100 mile goal for the day.

Here's the view from the overlook.  I posted a picture before of this same spot on a foggy day a couple weeks ago.  Here you can see the amazing view of the Pisgah Forest.

After settling on a route home I got back on the bike and continued riding through a neighborhood, back onto Highway 221, into Blowing Rock and then eventually to my friend Mike's house.  I was out of water and hungry! Mike was in the middle of making dinner so grabbed a small potato, slice of cheese, some olive oil and just enough water to make it home. After a quick photo op, I said "later!" and was off back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Thanks for the pic Mike Anderson!
Back on the pavement, my legs were still feeling pretty good. I was pretty psyched about that and even put in a few little efforts up a couple of the rolling hills on the Parkway.  I turned down George Hayes Road and bombed the downhill into town.  A couple short little climbs and I was back to the flat Greenway which leads back to my house.  Home at last!  My awesome wife had a huge pizza waiting in the kitchen! (Thanks Hun!)  I was hungry and glad to be home but I felt pretty good!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two Months and Counting

More training and more donations!  I'm already up to $1,135.00 for Trips for Kids WNC!  I can't say thanks enough to everyone who has contributed and showed their support.  It really gives me motivation knowing that by racing the Tour Divide I can also make a difference in the lives of a few kids!  So thanks again!

We're inside the 2 month mark now and I just know this time will go by so fast!  I have lots of riding planned and several overnighters as well. The last week or so has been devoted to getting used to riding with a fully loaded bike.  Surprisingly, the bike handles really well thanks to the great bags that Revelate Designs makes.