Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blue Ridge Part 2

I am definitely not the King of the Mountains. However, after my second Blue Ridge ride yesterday, I certainly have a greater appreciation for the agonized faces of the Tour riders as they grimace up the long climbs in the Pyrenees.

Our ride Saturday was 50 miles on the Blue Ridge. My stomach Saturday morning wasn't cooperating at all from the start. Apparently something I ate Friday wasn't gluten free or I had the touch of the stomach bug and, I couldn't stomach anything (or keep anything in) but a half a banana pre-ride and was feeling nauseated through most of the first 20 miles. But, I had come to ride the BR so. . . a little upset stomach wasn't going to hold me back; it just didn't give me the greatest legs for my day's challenge.

About 20 of us (TGs, hubbys and Maramarc boys) started off at MP 23. Our route was 10 miles down, yes predominantly down to Reed's Gap, our starting point for the last ride, 10 miles back to our starting point, then 15 miles down (again mostly down) to milepost 38 and back up to the start. With my stomach feeling gross, my goals for the ride were 1) to finish, 2) feel comfortable riding McQueen in the mountains and 3) learn how to conquer my fears of the descents.

I did finish; felt fairly comfortable on McQueen although realized that my flat time trial gearing isn't ideal for the mountains and did improve from the last time on my descents. My Garmin recorded a speedy 38 mph. The hills seemed longer and a few a bit steeper than the last trip. And, as with the last time, each time we rode down, down, and down all I could think about was how in the world was I going to make it up, up, up. There were two particularly "memorable" climbs of the day - the first, a winding 3-4 mile long steady and seemingly never ending climb up from MP 38 and the second, the last big climb of the day, probably only a quarter mile, but straight up in the sun, when my legs screamed with every pedal stroke.

As I rolled into our starting/finish point I was exhausted and doubt I could have gone a mile further. At the same time, I'm pretty sure I was smiling and glad I had finished this rewarding and challenging ride.

Post ride, we headed back to our Wintergreen house for the weekend, cooked a bunch a burgers and dogs, celebrated our accomplishments with some Mai Tais and had a great time hanging out with my fellow team mates.

Although I still can't fathom how I am going to be able to ride the mountains of Placid for 112 miles next July, I know these hills are making me stronger. And hopefully, after many more returns to the BR, I'll be ready.

Pics to follow.


Lynn said...

Big thank you to you and Bart for a fun weekend! Toby and I had a great time and appreciate the invitation. Looking forward to Lake Placid next week... did I just say that?

katebott said...

Thank you from Matt, Grace and I for the fantastic post-BR feast! We had a great time and I know Grace loved meeting Lulu (and Toby the Killer-ha ha!) You looked strong and awesome on those hills!

Kate said...

Just think how much fun you are going to have in August. Keep riding BR and you will definitely be ready for Placid.

Michelle said...

Very inspiring! You rock. I loved this line, "...a little upset stomach wasn't going to hold me back." No sir it didn't. I find people who are driven see challenges as something to be overcome, not excuses. Great job!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Thank you for the cookout hospitality and keeping me company on those hills!

TriGirl 40 (okay - 41) said...

You are a big part of "why" I am going to sign up for IMUSA. You make me believe this is possible for us!