Saturday, May 30, 2009

English Mountain Challange

Today was the first day I rode just to ride. Until now my year has been all about training for triathlons. Today I rode in the English mountain Challenge. Most of you have no idea this ride exists but for us in Knoxville, the past 4 yrs this ride is viewed as the hardest around.

Before I get started describing my day, I must tell you I chose to complete the metric century rather than the 109mi century. The entire group of guys I ride with were only doing the metric. I was glad, because while I have been putting in miles, I have no long rides over 60 miles on my legs this year.

At the beginning of the ride, it was a who's who among Knoxville cyclists. Many cat 1 riders and also two world class riders for their age group. Kent Bostick and Dirk Pohlman. Click on their name and read about their respective accomplishments.

Now to the ride, it started like any other ride, on big bunch. Our group just kept moving up until we were in the 3rd group. Dumb me looked down at my cassette during a section and there was a slowdown. I ran into the rider in front of me and almost went down. I must say, it was a great save. I teamed up with a local rider who knew the route and we moved up to the 2nd group. Very soon, we found ourselves in the gap between the 2nd and 1st group. We took turns pulling and after about 6miles we joined the first group. I sucked wheel until the rest stop before the mountain at mile 38. I knew i did not want to race up the hill. The next 4 miles were all over 10%grade with many sections topping 20%. I left the rest stop after a couple of other riders. They had a nice gap and I was not about to close. I rode the hill at 6mph at 10 degree and 4mph at anything over. The last section is a 1/4 mi at 22%. I had passed one rider and caught another by the top. He and I descended a very sketchy downhill. About half way down, I came across a section that had many tree limbs laying on the rode. He blew by them, I could not. It just wasn't safe for others. I stopped and cleared the rode and finished going down. At the bottom there were 3 more riders stopped. I didn't know why, I had plenty of water and was fully recovered from the climb. I decided to push on and go the distance. So I was alone from mile 38 to 63. I felt good but expected to be swallowed up by the pack.
Not to be this day, I pulled in third to finish and felt so good not to have to run afterwards. the whole experience made me feel great about cycling. It is so enjoyable when it is your only event.

5,000 ft of climbing in 63miles in 3:30

just an FYI the entire 38 miles leading up to the climb were uphill. 3,800 ft in 38miles. Kent and Dirk continued on for the century as I am sure there were other studs who followed. On this day, I am glad to have chose the metric. Sphere: Related Content

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