Friday’s ride: I got an early work release program from the studio and headed to North Georgia for some Mountain climbing – AKA the North Georgia ‘Gaps’. Unfortunately, I realized I had left my front wheel at my house… even though I had gone through my quick check . I had put a new tire on the bike and had the front wheel off. I had wheeled the bike out to the car w/o the front wheel. Luckily I had a spare 1 from the TT bike at the studio loaded it & onto Ga 400 North & Away we Go!
I made the decision to go up on Friday thinking there is so much less traffic on a week day. UNLESS that week day happens to be Good Friday #FAIL. I get started w/ my friend Shannon who is fresh off ‘Iron(whoa)Man’ New Zealand and b/c I didn’t ride on Thursday I’m starting to realize that it’s not going to be a fun ride. Luckily Shannon was empathetic and didn’t leave me too far behind – which had to be a challenge for her b/c she is a strong climber. So strong in fact that she is on her Tri bike… with what appears to be a 23-11 – and she didn’t appear to need that 23….or the 21.
We get started on Neals Gap and have to stop to check on Shannon’s bike, her back brake was rubbing…..why she needed to loosen it while climbing w/ me I didn’t ask…. then Mike stopped on his way down Neals – I think he was doing the front 3 twice that day?! Dude!
I tried my best to spin the 25 on the climb up 7 mile climb to the Appalachian Trail crossing. I sucked down some Accelerade, and then some Nuun – and suddenly the stomach wasn’t too Happy…. maybe it was the lunch burrito from Moe’s in Dawsonville merely 45 minutes ago? Nah!
On the way down Neals, I leaned into a turn, and suddenly got weird feedback from my front wheel. It felt like suddenly the bike was leaning too hard. I sat up and descended at a much more cautious pace. When I got to the turn for Wolfpen, I stopped and checked the wheel. Fresh tire maybe? then I realized that the hub on my Mavic wheel was looose. This was causing the hub to shift when I leaned into the turns. It’s a spooky feeling! I tightened the hub slightly, but it is time to get it serviced!
The sufferFest continued up Wolfpen as usual, and fortunately nothing of consequence happened on the climb. Up and over and when we pulled into Suches, we ran into several other cyclists including Mike and Rob. As we chatted, we found out Mike was up for riding on Saturday also…. Yay!!
Saturday we met back at Suches and headed up the easier side of Wolfpen – I say this b/c Mike and I actually kept Shannon in sight for most of the climb. Onto Jacks Gap, where my early ‘keep my own pace’ pays off in the long run as I am later able to reel in Mike and get close to Shannon whom barely hesitated before swoooshing downhill with me in full downhill sprint to attempt to keep up with her on the aerobars.
At the Unicoi side of Jacks, we decide that weather is looking ominous, and opted to stay closer to the vehicles, so we turned around and headed back up Jacks with a full on conversation about working out and cycling diets “Tell me, how did you buy just half a cow?” Oh boy!
On the way back down Jacks we hang a Left turn and take the quiet road up and over Craig’s Gap, then proceed back to the store for some ‘Sugar’ before ascending Wolfpen again…. Ugh! Shannon was once again Outta Sight! while Mike kept me in check. The ride back to the car wasn’t quite as downhill as quoted, but it was much easier with Shannon willing to do the pace-making – she is going to rock cour d’alene!
Sunday’s ride: 1st Mistake: not finding out where the guys were riding too – I rode w/ 4 Reality Bikes guys and cycling from Dawsonville, and headed North. 2nd Mistake: only having 1 gel – I used a whole flask on Friday and didn’t get a chance to find more. That left me with a cheer pack and 2 clif bars. 3rd mistake: riding w/ the 3rd place finisher of the U23 Hungarian Nationals & thinking it was going to be a social ride. 4th Mistake sprinting to get over the climbs, then realizing I was back in Dahlonega, GA. We rode past the Walmart and I thought we were heading for the gaps, but luckily we made a right and climbed towards Cleveland. We stopped at a store in Murrayville, and I had to get sugar! I bought what looked like a Liter of Sprite and nearly drank the whole thing on the way back to Dawsonville.
Easter Sunday was a buffet that only the strongest of will power could resist! too much food, too much drink, but just an Awesome mix of friends!!
I am sore and WIPED OUT (not that it’s such a bad thing) Awesome weekend of training! In a couple more weeks the strength gained from such training will be obvious, but until then I have several rest days coming up!