Monday, August 4, 2014

A Mountain, A Ledge and a Notch

OK, at first I was a little skeptical when somebody contacted me through Strava and suggested we go for a ride.  Not just because he looked stronger than me when I looked at his Strava page, not only because the route he suggested included 2 mountain passes.  No, it was because getting up at 4:30 on a Sunday morning seemed just a wee bit earlier than my comfort zone.  As it turns out, he was a little stronger but I could mostly keep up, the 2 mountain passes turned into 3 climbs that were just enough challenge and the 6:00 start gave us some traffic free roads for the first hour.  Another Strava contact of his joined us for 60 miles of torturous fun.

First the mountain.  Hurricane Mountain, a category 2 climb according to my Strava route.  A steep set of staircase climbs that is almost a right of passage for area cyclists.  Until yesterday I had not earned the right.  It turned out to be pretty manageable with slow steady standing climbs.  I was being careful not to expend too much energy too early in the ride.

Next my newly found riding partner said he was thinking of throwing in Cathedral Ledge as an added climb.  This one climbs about 500ft in about a mile, a category 3.  A demanding climb that gave you a sense of accomplishment when you were done.  Oh, and it also gave a very good view of the area.  We had the top to ourselves.

After some relatively flat sections and a water stop at the last store before the national forest we hit our 3rd climb, a category 4 that seemed pretty easy in comparison.  Although a push at the top finished my legs off for a while.  Luckily, the next 18 miles were mostly downhill.  Unluckily they were plagued with flats and tire problems.  Now I'm sold on the merits of a CO2 inflator.  By this time we were late and our ride organizer put it in high gear, so to speak, and sprinted for the barn.  I was able to tuck in and hold on for the last 3 miles.  Our third rider slipped off the back which gave us a chance to load our bikes before he pulled into the parking spot.

In all, it was fun to find some new riding buddies that could push my limits but not make me feel slow.  Between climbs we had some nice stretches of good conversation.  When I got to my car I got a text from my wife that said she was still 20 miles out on her ride so I drove home and hopped back on my bike for an intercept.  I found her in just about the spot I expected and rode the last 10 miles of her ride with her.

1 comment:

  1. New entry! I missed this one. You keep earning new "Rights". Nicely done!