Oh yeah my hard work is starting to pay off.
I was kinda discouraged after the Icycle back in February and my total lack of fitness after spending the winter riding rollers. Since then, I have been doing some really long rides in the mountains, both on and off road and last night was the first time I have been able to gauge my progress.
I met up with a group of roadies from TCRC on the campus of East Tenn State University for a 30 mile ride that included the 2 mile climb of Buffalo Mtn. I could tell this may turn into a bit more than a casual ride by some of the stronger guys that were there like Zach Nave (check out Zack's dad - Bart and his website. Bart takes some great pics) and recenty crowned British Supercross Champion Mike Brown (Mike is a bull on anything with two wheels). In addition to those, there were at least 8 or 10 really strong guys. I knew things would get crazy soon.
Fast forward to the base of Buffalo Mtn (comes at the end of the ride) and our average speed was still almost 20mph and I was still in the group of hammers. I faded pretty quick and lost sight of all of them but 3 by the time we got to the top which I kinda expected. I am not a climber. I was just happy to be there and I didn't sit in the whole way there either. Hell no, Duckman doesn't roll that way. I take my pulls at the head of the group. I worked my ass of to be there.
I have a long way to go though. A 30 mile road ride and a 100 mile mountain bike race are two very different animals. I am happy with where I am at this point though.