Monday, March 15, 2010

Hell Week Day 3 - Mountain Home & Away

Distance: 105.43 miles
Time: 6:16.26
Speed: 16.8

Wow, what a day! We had a great ride today but only after suffering through some oddly cold temperatures, wind, very little sun and plenty of wind. Weather Channel says 9 mph but the flags were whipped up into a frenzy so I don't buy it.

I slept great last night and woke up this morning feeling very fresh. It took some trial and error to figure out my layers but ended up wearing my jacket and being glad that I had as the wind and cold were biting deep. Tom and Dave left early to grab some knee warmers next door so Gary and I lead the group out of the Sunset Inn, then pulled off with Alan and Chuck at Upper Live Oak to muster the troops. As we waited I enjoyed watching what seemed like an endless stream of cyclists come down the hill from Live Oak and make the turn. Eventually, at the rear of the field, Tom & Dave rolled through and we joined for what would be an excellent ride.

Six of us (Tom, Dave, Gary, Alan, Chuck & me) rolled together for the entire ride.
Chuck fell back a few times but only because he set a temp for himself that he held on not only the flats and descents, but also the steep climbs. Sitting behind him on the steep climbs, and watching him roll into the horizon, was a clinic on how to ascend. A smooth tempo, steady upper body and fluid pedal circles saw Chuck fly up some very difficult climbs. I was impressed, learned what I could from watching, then spoke with him after the toughest climbs of the day.

By and large I tried to stay steady and not burn myself out. I did get sucked into a couple hard efforts but enjoyed sitting back and taking in the miles. Route 27 was a terrific road with plenty of rollers and some nice climbs as well as descents. In Ingram we met Bryce and (?) from Austin and our party became eight riders. They were good company as well and helped push the pace a little on the tough climbs. Outside of Ingram we got on Freedom Trail and Bear Creek for intense climbing. I dropped back a bit from the group here as I was conserving strength for later in the ride. In the end, I'm glad I did. Coming out of Kerrville we had to ascend the wall that was McCullough Drive (15%) and reminded me of Hugel back in November.

After McCullough we rolled easy for some miles pulling everyone back together before, as usual, the hostilities started. It was probably my fault more than anything else, but we started hitting it hard into the head wind. We encountered some steep climbs and I depended on my power and high cadence to rip to the top of the hill and recover before continuing a good pull into the wind, or giving way and taking a rest. This continued for about 8 to 10 miles before we settled and gave in to resting a bit on the way in to Fredericksburg.

Gary and I did sprint for the sign at Fredericksburg but he beat me handily on the uphill, into the wind sprint. I should have drafted a bit longer...

What a day. I felt great at the end of the day and really had a blast. I'm sore, I'm tired but I'm also really excited and still on an endorphin rush. With luck I'll wind down tonight and get another great night's sleep. We're expecting rain (thunderstorms) tonight and tomorrow morning so we may not ride until close to noon tomorrow, which would also mean a shorter route. A little extra rest will be very nice after today's effort.

Hell Week Day 4 -->

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