Monday, February 25, 2008

I congeló mi balones fuera.............

Last week was a tough one on me. Personal and work commitments kept me off my bike all week long. We had Scouts on Tuesday, Nathan got his Bobcat badge and I wasn't going to miss that for hell or high water.

Wenesday, I had to go to Montgomery Alabama to the Hyundai Manufacturing Plant (HMMA) for a class and I got to take a tour of where they make the Santa Fe and Sonata. It was immensely fascinating - but really tough on me. I left at 4:30 on Wednesday drove (7 hours), did the class and left Montgomery at 5:00 on Thursday to drive back and be at work at 8:00 on Friday. I was beat.

I missed out on going to Bent Creek in Asheville on Saturday morning because I was tired and feeling a little sick (the rest of the house except the dog, has been sick all week). By Saturday afternoon I needed a ride.

I headed out kinda late and rode "around the block" near my house. The cool thing about where I live is the shorter the route I pick to ride, the harder it is. There are some tough-ass short, steep climbs within a couple of miles of my house. I got a good warm-up and hit the climbs hard. It felt pretty good to push myself after being a slug all week.

The "big" climb of the day was the one that takes you to the top of Buffalo Ridge - the highest point in the 37615 zip code. It is short (> 1 mile) but initially very steep and it has three tiers before you get to the top. Perfect for intervals.

Downtown Gray Tennessee off in the distance. View from atop Buffalo Ridge.

I was somewhat happy getting to ride a little but it was getting dark so I had to cruise on home.

Happy Duckman

The big ride came on Sunday. I met up with Scooby, Obi Twan and Chris D on the campus of East Tennessee State University at high noon for a nice long ride in the mountains. On the plate for the day was the climbs of Buffalo mtn (short side 1 mile), Spivey Gap (6ish miles), Indian Graves Gap (another 6ish very steep miles) and the long side of Buffalo (2 miles) back to Johnson City. In between mountains was about 60 miles of good ole East TN, WNC rollers.

There are no flat roads in East Tennessee or Western North Carolina.

Everything was going well until we got about 2 miles out of Erwin, Tn and it started to rain. I rained and rained, not hard just wet and cold, all the way to the summit of Spivey Gap in North Carolina.
Oh, it was about 45 degress so we froze our nuts off.

Pisgah is not just for mountain bikes. It's a fun place on the road too.

We made the gametime decision to turn back on top of Spivey Gap. It didn't really save any miles but the alternatives to get back to Tennessee were - a:turn around and go back the way we came; b: continue on with the plan and climb Indian Graves Gap (steep and long) or c: ride a little more and climb Iron Mtn (easier but longer). Freezing and not sure what the weather was gonna do, we turned back.

My legs felt like tree stumps as we rode back. The final climb of Buffalo Mtn normally is nothing but today it hurt. Cold, wet and somewhat happy we rolled into the parking lot at ETSU as close to dark as you want to be on a rainy Sunday afternoon in February.

If we had ridden around the block once we would have had an even 5:00, 70 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing.

Not a bad way to end the week.


Darth Duncan said...

aaahhh yes, cold, wet road riding...We shall do it again sometime.

Thomas Gaines said...

Good rides! awesome. That is such a beautiful part of the world! I ride from Johnson City a few times each month, while traveling for work, and am always amazed!