Lewisburg July 2011

Day 1

Sara and I were in Lewisburg for her friend Kendra’s wedding. I had planned to make this into a mini bike camp. The first day, while Sara was doing bridesmaid stuff, I went out for a long ride. I had wanted to do a ride that was four times over the ridge near Lewisburg for a while, and I was finally able to do it. I ended up having to do some detours because of bridge work. The climb up rt. 234 is a pretty good one, reminding me of a little steeper Blue Ridge Parkway. Once you get to the top, going down the other side is pretty st
raight, so you’re able to get up to about 50 mph and moderate your speed by how much you get out of your tuck. On the way back, I decided to go off my original cue, and I ended up taking the Moots on a number of dirt roads. By the time I got back, I had done 10 miles more than I’d originally planned, with the total mileage of the day being 75-80? and having ridden 5 hours. One thing I have noticed with my rides out there is that it’s good to keep loose change with you. I actually never did a true rest stop, but instead used vending machines at a firehouse and a veterinarian place I’d seen before. It was good that I could get liquids, but I couldn’t get water, so I usually got tea. This ride was the downfall of my season. I think I just kind of hit a wall and had had enough. It changed my motivation to ride at the mini bike camp after all.

Day 2
After doing the ride on Day 1, I almost didn’t want to ride on Day 2, but it was to be a mountain bike ride, 
which always seems more fun than road biking. I just thought I’d go ahead and make it happen. I went over to Danville to ride the Tour de Tykes race course. When I got to the place, I realized that I’d forgotten to bring the map that I’d made. Luckily, there were some guys about to start a ride, so I decided to tag along with them. It was cool to ride with some people who knew the trails, and it was an added bonus that my fitness was actually pretty good despite my low motivation levels. Although I was a newcomer, I ended up riding in front a couple of times. The trails for Tour de Tykes are a cross between Schaeffer and Fountainhead, but a lot steeper. The downhills were fun, but I was noticing I had some gotcha moments with my handlebars because there are some tight spots among the pine trees. After riding for a while with me, the people I met all needed to get back to their families. I continued on my own to do the west side, which we hadn’t covered. One of the bummers was that the expert course at Tour de Tykes, which I’d planned to do, goes through a good amount of private property. It’s open on race day, but you’re not supposed to ride on it at other times. I might have gone ahead and ridden on it anyway, but I didn’t have a map to even find the trail. On the west side, there is a nice downhill that leads you into an old graveyard in the middle of the woods. They had some signage there, so I checked it out, took a break, and enjoyed myself in nature. The trail dropped me off by my car, and with the motivation not so high and no one to ride with me, I decided to just bag it and not do another lap of the trails alone. I did like the trails there, although they were not as long as I thought they would be. I would still like to do the Tour de Tykes so that I can see the whole trail system.

Day 3

After going out to Boulder last summer and getting to ride with Rob out in his domain, I had been looking forward to riding with him in Lewisburg. I don’t believe he’d ridden there previously, even though he’d visited a number of times with his wife (Sara’s friend Christie).  To make this ride happen, my friend Ian from DCMTB lent me his second road bike, which is actually pretty sweet, it being a Lightspeed bike with full Dura-Ace. It was the same size as Rob’s bike, which worked well. I decided to take Rob on a route that first went east of Lewisburg. I was interested to see how Rob would do with more East Coast climbs (shorter and steeper, compared to those he’s used to out in the Rockies—really long and very gradual). The unfortunate thing is that Rob had had reconstructive surgery on his knee, so he was not 100%. He was a trooper, though, to do the ride at all. We did the Tower Road , which is a pretty steep little climb, and then we had a nice downhill into Northumberland. We went across the river again and worked our way back to where Christie’s parents live and took supple mill over another steep little climb. Once back at the Clements’ house, we got to enjoy a nice swim in the pool. I don’t think that I would have gone for a ride that day if I wasn’t planning to ride with Rob, so it was pretty good that I rode with him. The rest of the weekend, we had fun attending the rehearsal, dinner, wedding, and farewell brunch (while also celebrating July 4th!).


12 Hours of Cranky Monkey

I did this race with Mike K and Jonathan W. Since I had been running a little bit in the spring, it was decided that I had to do the dreaded first lap with the run. The race started out fine. I can run, but I’m not a sprinter, so I didn’t actually gain anything in the run itself. Once on course, I was able to keep a steady rhythm, and I came in at a respectable time for Mike to go out for a lap. Jonathan went last and busted out a smoking lap, putting us in the lead of the three man 35+ division. We then continued to do consistent laps, finding that we actually could win the race without my going out for a final lap. As usual, Mike K would have none of it, giving me the guilt trip and saying that I had to go do another lap. So I went out and did a final lap at an easy pace, but you really can’t go that slowly, because there are hills you have to get up. In the end, we won the three man 35+ class, and our compatriots got second place in the three man 40+ division and first place in the open division.  Our team (Mature but not Old) actually got the most laps in time of the race. With my lap times of 53:21, 53:05, 53:00 , I was really happy that even though I wasn’t sometimes as fast as Jonathan on the team, I was consistently getting negative splits every lap.


Mountains of Misery 2011

This year I decided to do Mountains of Misery instead of the IMBA Mountain Bike Festival, which I’ve done for the last five or six years over Memorial Day Weekend. A bunch of my PPTC friends do Mountains of Misery annually as one of their challenge rides. Mountains of Misery is not a race, but it is a timed event, so you get a chip and an official time. This year, they decided to do waves, so you didn’t know who you were going to end up riding with at the beginning of the event. Because this is a road event, to actually get a good time, you would need to be with a good group of people that you can draft with. Since this was my first time doing the event, I had no pressure on myself, so I could just enjoy it.

So we were the third wave of riders to go off, and I was in a huge line of drafting with Chris, Jonathan, and Rudy. There were some fools taking huge pulls for no apparent reasons, but I was like fine…if they’re willing to do that, I will just stay behind them. I didn’t waste much energy until finally we got to the big downhill. The downhill was a little sketchy because I had never done it, and I was with a pretty big group of people who weren’t always taking the best lines. Rudy had charged off to the front for what I thought was no apparent reason, but he knew the hill was coming so he got to the front so he could choose his lines and get down the mountain pretty quickly. After the downhill, there was a rest stop, which we passed, and at that point we got a good group of people I could see myself riding with for a lot of the day. We started doing some smaller country roads that had kind of stepped hills, which is more my kind of terrain, and I was gapping the group I was with.  I decided to pull back, though, and save my energy for the end.  

Rudy got a flat, so I said I’d wait for him since I had no time to beat from previous years. He fixed his tire, and the sag came by, which was great because I was able to refill my water bottles. Rudy was pretty pissed off since this took off about four to five minutes, which would be hard to make up. Once we got going again, we hooked up with three other guys and we were going along at a pretty good pace. Rudy was falling off the pace a little bit and waived us on. We started going downhill toward one of the big climbs of the ride. I decided to push it a little bit with the guys, staying with them until the base of the climb and then assuming everyone would do their own pace up it.

 John's Creek Mountain is actually a pretty good one for me, since it’s around three miles and varies in pitch. I pushed it up the climb and took a pit stop. I think this was crucial in my overall time, because since I had gotten the water from the sag wagon and brought my own food, I had not stopped at a rest stop and had an official break. The rest stop girl thought I was a little crazy because I was one of the only person to eat the pickles, but I have found that pickles do me right on this kind of event. I continued to then ride the next forty miles by myself. I think what helped me was having done the SM100 and other long-distance mountain bike races. Through them I learned to ride at a high pace even by myself.

The Hardest Climb I’ve Ever Done-Mountain Lake

Since I had my Garmin, I was could see I was doing consistent riding at pitches of 14 to 15 percent. The climb started off ok, although the heat was starting to get bad at around 90. It then just turned into a grudge match of me against my pedals. I kept thinking I was going to have to get off the bike and either push the bike or take a breather. There is a reason that this climb was in the old Tour DuPont—it really is pro-level. The people cheering from the roadside was great but also frustrating because I was going around 3 mph. I did love the wet towels on the neck—great relief. I finally got to the finish line happy to be done. The food afterwards was great, but I couldn’t eat too much having put out so much effort and just nibbled at a hamburger and had a Coke.

Final Note
I’m actually really proud of that ride considering my body weight(in the 190s) and how big the climb at the end was.

Ride Time: 6:07:46
2nd, Age35-39
17th Male
18th Overall