45 miles 4500 feet

Earlier last week, the beautiful redhead asked me if I could stay with the kids on Saturday while she spent some time with her mother and sister-in-laws.  My initial reaction was that cold feeling you get when you realize you are caught between a rock and a hard place… this was to be the first UWBL with points!  Everything else had been a warm up for today and I didn’t want to miss it.

However, you have to understand how wonderful my wife is about my riding.  Of course I told her I would watch the kids.  When I told her about UWBL, she started feeling badly about having me miss it.  I had to convince her it really was okay.  It really was.  Sure I wanted to go, but she sacrifices a lot in order to give me time to train.  This was just a small way to pay her back.

Not long afterwards I received a call from an acquaintance of mine who asked me if I would like to go on a ride Friday.  This ride would leave from Greenville and go about 47 miles up to The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center near Rosman, NC.  It would be a good solid ride that could help make up for missing the UWBL.

Then Wednesday I started coming down with a cold.  By Friday morning I didn’t even think I would ride up to the camp.  I went into work fully planning to call and cancel.  However, around 10 AM I was starting to feel a little better.  I rushed, got my bike ready and made it in time to join the guys for the ride.

The riders were a varied group.  John Lehman, the organizer of the ride, is quite the runner but only gets on the bike occasionally.  His future son-in-law, Ben, would be making his longest ride ever on this day.  Doug and Web I knew would make it.  I’ve seen them ride plenty of Hour of Powers and know they had the fitness.  Mike was the last of the group to start off with us.  He has really gotten into riding and has surprised me with his fitness.

Still, I knew this could be a long trip.  It took us some time to get to Marrietta where we were to meet up with two other riders, Chris and Dean.  We got there in about 45 minutes.  Chris was waiting for us.  Dean was running a tad late.  We waited for a bit and then the group started off leaving me behind to wait and help pull him back to the group.

He showed up shortly afterward and he and I rode on together and met the group at a station at the intersection of Hwy. 11 and Hwy. 178.  After getting some snacks there, we started off again on the main leg of the ride… the one where we climbed.  What started out as a social ride turned into a ride of survival.

For me, I settled into a pace that had me riding between 200 and 250 watts.  If figured I could do that all day, so I found the rythm and kept at it.  I believe I am really starting to understand my abilities in relation to my power.  I know how long I can go at certain power outputs and that really helps me manage my riding.

Chris had turned around at Hwy. 11 to go back to Lake Robinson where he was going fishing with his daughter.  I arrived at the camp 20 minutes or so before Web.  Then Mike and Doug arrived another 15 minutes or so later.  John and Ben came in after that.  Dean was still out there.

He was cramping.  John and Ben offered to stay with him.  Several of the people coming up for a weekend conference also offered to help.  He would have none of it.  He was going to finish this ride!  As Mike and I were driving off the camp site to go back to Greenville, we saw Dean coming in the front entrance.  Way to go Dean!

This morning (Saturday) I woke up feeling like crud.  Turns out I would have been killed on the UWBL ride.  Frankly, I’m not so sure my ride yesterday helped me.  Things have turned out to work perfectly.  I wouldn’t have been able to do the ride today anyway and I got a chance to have an awesome ride the day before.

Here is my video from yesterday’s trip.  It was 46.75 miles and just under 4500 feet of climbing — most of that coming in the last 20 miles.

By the way, I got a message from my friend Matt Tebbetts when the UWBL ended.  His assessment?  “It was fast.  George (Hincapie) led the entire way… a tune-up for Down Under… The pace between sprints was like intervals at times.”  Man, my heart tells me I should have been out there!  My body and head tells me it I shouldn’t have.

Another friend messaged me, “Glad the rain held off but one rider got cut off apparently and went down. A couple others piled up as a result.”  It appears this was a rider in the B group.  She was taken to the hospital for observation and word is she is fine, though she will have a headache for a couple of days.  Hey, I’d love to have some other reports from the ride… send them in!