I was in a meeting at mid afternoon when the Beautiful Redhead texted me to invite me to a dinner with the cast of a play she is acting in this summer. Their plan was to have a quick dinner and then do a table reading. My plan was to join her for the food and then head out on the Felt. I had some work to do.
The menu consisted of hamburgers and hotdogs with fixings, potato salad, chips, and strawberries. I downed the grilled burger and about a third of a hotdog along with potato salad and chips. I topped it off with three strawberries. After thanking the host and kissing my wife goodbye, I headed back home to prep for my ride.
I rolled off shortly after 6PM. My plan was to make my way out to the scene of a thief. As you may recall from yesterday’s blog, John James had called me out in the street at noon for a shootout over a Strava segment. He had stolen the Walker Wimps segment from me by one second.
First I had to get my brain to sort out how best to get to the scene of the crime. I typically come upon this segment while riding with the Sunshine Cycle Shop Saturday morning ride. I don’t even need to think about how to wind my way through the Hour of Power route. However, when I tried to navigate my way there via a more direct route, it took a little bit for me to get it clear in my head.
That done I found myself on Locust Hill Road nearing the area of the segment. It was then I regretted my dinner. You see, I sometimes have a bad problem with acid reflux. Char grilled meat is something I love, but something that doesn’t return the charity!
I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll just say that I had to pull over to the side of the road and relieve some of the acid (what is it, bile?) from my stomach. Actually, I didn’t have a choice. My stomach made me pull over!
Anyway, with that done, I was starting to feel much better. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to carry out my plan, but as I neared Walker Road, I was feeling the best I had since starting the ride. I decided to give it a go.
My plan was to go as hard as I could in my 53×11. I could then evaluate that performance and return another time to go for winning back my KOM. I was guessing I would need to go up a bit on my cassette to get my best time. After making the adjustments, I could return with my GoPro and use the attempt as one of my Strava Segment videos. It’s always good to get the KOM when you’re recording it.
I rolled down and hit the flat portion over the bridge. So far so good. I felt strong coming into the first part of the grade. I had no idea how much wattage I was putting out. That would be discovered later. It wasn’t until about two thirds up the climb that I started to feel bogged down in my gearing.
In my mind I thought, “Well, here is where I’ll lose it. I’m not keeping my momentum very well.” Still, I kept trying to grind to the finish and then through the finish. Immediately, I knew if I was going to go any faster, it was going to be done through technique and not effort! I had given it a pretty good go.
From there, I took it easy back toward home. My mind was wondering what the results of the effort might be. It then turned to the beauty around me. The final portion of the ride was in the cool of the evening with the sun beginning to set.
Coming over Piney Mountain Road, I stopped at Pleasantburg and looked toward the west. Right where the sun was beginning to slip behind the hill was the knoll where George Hincapie’s house is located. I wondered what his view might be of the sun setting over Paris Mountain casting its shadows toward Greenville’s skyline.
About that time I heard the sound of a well maintained bicycle coming up behind me. It was Matt Tebbetts. He had just come over the mountain and was delayed because he had to stop to help a motorcyclist who had wiped out going too fast down the east side. It made me thankful I had made it this far safely.
We rolled off talking and I mentioned I was sorry I couldn’t stay with him when we formed a break during the Tuesday night training race. “Oh, not a problem,” he said. “I’m just glad you’re back.”
At home, I loaded the data up to Strava from my Garmin. This happens automatically as soon as my Garmin connects to my wireless network. I then log in to the Strava app on my phone to change the name and adjust any details about the activity. Before I could even do that, I got a notice I had received a Kudo for the ride. When I did log in I found a crown graphic.
Turns out on my test run, I had won back my KOM by one second. It was kind of fun to toss it back at John. I imagine it won’t be long before he’ll be gunning for it. It will be fun trying to defend it. Yeah, I guess I am “back.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I like the way it feels.