Friday, March 19, 2010

Hell Week Day 6 - Windows on Doss

Distance: 108.67 miles
Time: 6:16:16
Elevation Gain: 6,459 ft

For the day's ride we joined back up with the main group and completed the longest ride of Hell Week short of the self supported Brevets taking place on Tuesday (200k) and Friday (300k). Windows on Doss also happened to take in the most elevation gain of the week at just shy of 6,500 feet of climbing.

We started with the pack and enjoyed letting them split the wind for a good while until, as usual, fewer and fewer folks were willing to assist. Before long you could almost hear them chanting: "Don't pass the tandem, don't pass the tandem". Since the tandem can carry so much speed on a descent or flat, people simply pile in behind them, never offer to pull and slog up hills in their draft waiting for the drop on the other side. Instead, we plowed past and picked up a few cling-ons in the process. After stopping to pee and regroup we slowly caught more groups of people on the tough climbs (Welgehausen Rd) before overtaking the lead pack.

As always, once we'd caught them they let us do all the work... Tom put in a big effort on a winding road and came upon the perfect storm: Narrow road, cattle guard, one lane water crossing and a slow rider and a dualie towing a trailer coming in the opposite direction. Tom, Gary and a cling-on attacked and made the gap, I grabbed brakes with everyone else and parked behind the slower rider while the truck passed us as we crossed the narrow cattle guard... the break launched and I had to put in an effort to close the gap. The timing was great and made for great stories later.

Going down 648 we hit a massive climb and I tempo'd to the top with Tom and another guy. Down the descent on the other side I checked my six and saw no one cresting behind us, so I worked with Tom for the duration of Lange's Mill & 783 (~6 miles) to build a massive lead and leave the cling-ons well in the dust. That was the first of three major efforts for the day, and when we pulled into the store in Doss it felt as though I had bee stings in my calves!

Effort number two came a bit later in the ride as we made a run down Bear Creek Rd (mile 73) and sustained a major effort for ~2.5 miles, keeping my heart rate above 180 bpm and dropping my main protagonist in the process. Tom, Chuck and Gary hung back just enough to leave said protagonist (a guy we found on the road who more or less never pulled) hanging in the void. It was a nice touch.

Late in the ride, in the final 5 miles, I put in my final effort on Goehman Street leading back into Fredericksburg. I cranked it up and maintained 180bpm plus in an attempt to drop a cling-on. I did most of the road in the small chain ring because of the sharp ascents, but eventually went to the big ring and opened up a gap. Again, it was a lot of fun and a great way to end a long ride.

Hell Week Day 7 -->

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