With no significant racing activity going on for me right now and lots of boring, domestic, daily drudge type stuff taking over, I have been at a loss for things to write about lately. Just because there's six weeks between races ( I should have been at the Cohutta 100 today but I had to work) for me, doesn't mean I've been sitting on my can doing nothing. I have been training as much as my screwed up schedule will allow and trying to get plenty of stress-free, quality rest (which is sometimes a joke around here) since some of my training has been very, very hard.
Just a few miles from where I work is Holston Mountain, a nice 6 mile roadie climb that goes up hwy 421 to Mountain City and eventually into North Carolina. I have been hitting that thing as much as possible to get some hard, fast and dirty climbing fitness. I have been using my geared road bike some but also my singlespeed. With 48x18 gearing, the singlespeed is a beast on Holston. One time up has been all I wanted up until now. Today I will do two trips up the mountain and hope for the best. My goal is up and back 2X in 1:30. We'll see how that goes.
The TNR ride is a roadie ride on Thursday night that I did all last year. It's really fun and I always see alot of my friends there. Sometimes I really like riding with people (most of my training is done alone) and the TNR is mucho fun. The only problem now is that it begins at 6:00 and I don't get off work until 5:30 (in another city - 20 miles away). Getting there in 30 minutes with traffic is nearly impossible. I left work Thursday precisely at 5:30 and headed towards Johnson City. I was already changed, tires pumped up, water bottle filled, all I had to do was get there and get on my bike.
I was 5 minutes late and not a soul to be seen was in the parking lot. I got on and chased without a warm-up. Five minutes, ten, fifteen into the ride still nobody. Damn, how fast were they going? I thought. Finally, I caught a couple of riders off the back of the main pack and I managed to bridge up to within a minute of them. Since I was on my singlespeed, I was at a huge disadvantage on the flats so I tried to make all my time up on the climbs. Twice, I got close enough to try and seal the deal but both times, I missed. There is a longish flat portion before the final 2 mile climb over Buffalo Mountain and I knew I couldn't do anything there so I tried to recover some (I had thus far ridden my ass into the ground and was cooked) so I could make one last stab on the mountain. By the time I got there, I only caught a couple more people and the main pack succeeded in eluding me.
It was a great ride though and kinda gave me a hint at my current level of fitness. Sadly, if I am going to continue being late and chasing, I will have to bring out my geared bike. My singlespeed just isn't geared high enough to do anything on flat roads. At first I was kinda bummed because this is as much as a social ride for me as it is anything but I think I am going to like chasing rabbits - it's fun.
Tomorrow is a big ride in the dirt. I am trying to really finish my current training schedule strong in preparation for the first big races (for me) for 2009 - Dirt, Sweat and Gears, 12 Hours of Tsali and the Cowbell Challenge.