Hello, my name is Brian Archer, some know me as Duckman, and it has been 4 weeks since my last race. I am dealing with it the best that I can but it hasn't been easy. I just take life one pedal stroke at a time.......
It was hard talking to my friends on their way to the Cowbell Challenge Marathon/XC that was held this weekend at Fisher Farms in Charlotte. I always love going to Charlotte to race for the competition and the races are always fun and challenging. Due to working too much and having too little money, the Cowbell just wasn't in the plan for me this year.
Instead of racing, I hooked up with the TCRC Saturday for a fun day in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. I rarely go on group rides anymore since I am always training for a race, racing or recovering from a race. None of those are very conducive to group ride etiquette. I was looking forward to this one for the fun of riding with a group also for the route - US 421 over Holston Mountain, is one of my favorite roads to ride around here.
We met in Bristol and headed out promptly at 9somethingish. The first dozen miles were rolling hills through farmland and we all hung out and chatted about whatever. The climb up Holston Mtn came next and there we kinda got strung out a little as everyone climbed at their own pace.
At the top, I turned and rode back down a couple of miles until I caught the last riders up and I rode back up with them. I love climbing Holston. Since I work in Bristol, it's nothing to go over there and ride it after work. The climb proper is about 5 miles long and not very steep, something like 5-7% overall but it will get your attention.
After grouping up, we headed off the mountain and into Shady Valley and then on to Damascus Virginia. The run into Damascus is a total blast. Slightly downhill the whole way, we rode in a paceline and pretty much maintained 30mph the whole way with speeds sometimes edging near 40. Of course it's not hard to go that fast downhill, it's still a lot of fun. Not often do you get to break the speed limit on a bike. In Damascus, we got some food, water and made a couple of bike repairs before heading back over Holston again and home.
The ride back (uphill all the way) was waaay less intense than the ride in. It was hot now and really muggy. We just chilled, so to speak, and cruised back over the mountain. It was time for some real food!
4.5 hours and 70something miles of riding with friends..........Good times.