Tag Archives: Cycling

Tired legs near Lumberton

Paratenonitis

I’m pretty cranky this morning. I get that way with pain… especially pain that affects my mobility. Welcome to Achilles Paratenonitis.

Webmd.com tells me it is “inflammation of the covering of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It can cause scarring that restricts the motion of the Achilles’ tendon.” Tell me about it!

Image for reference from MendMeShop.com

Image for reference from MendMeShop.com

I started feeling it when I awakened the morning of the second day of the 2016 Ride For Mike. Once I got on the bicycle and got warmed up, I felt okay. The following morning things were a little worse but manageable. I went to work Monday morning stiff more than in pain. The pain came later in the “Grade 1” area seen in the graphic up to the lower calf muscle.

Tuesday I was noticeably limping. By the end of the day, the limp was a jerk as the pain shot up the back of my lower leg each time I bent my ankle. I wanted some relief.

Remembering that warming my leg up on the bicycle helped, I decided to do a lap of the London 8 on Zwift. Sure enough, after a painful start, my muscles stretched out and warmed up. I wasn’t without pain, but it certainly felt better.

Until I was off the bicycle for several minutes. Oh. My. Word. It felt like my leg seized up. I was not feeling more pain than before. That is when I went to the web to find out what might be up.

“Achilles paratenonitis is caused by overuse or repeated movements and poorly fitted shoes,” was the reason Webmd.com gave for the cause. Well, I don’t know about the poorly fitted shoes, but I certainly had some repeated movements!

One question that came to mind was that the article went on to say, “Symptoms are usually worse during activity.” This isn’t really the case for me — when I am on the bicycle. Walking and especially going upstairs is awful. However, riding the bicycle isn’t nearly as bad.

Whatever the case, I’m going to be good from now on! I’m taking the advice of the article, “Treatment consists of rest, pain relief, stretching exercises, and changes in sports techniques and footwear to reduce stress on the tendon.” I’ll be off the bicycle for a few days. I’m taking some acetaminophen, putting my leg up on ice when I’m home, and trying to gently stretch.

One thing I have learned from this is that as you get older, you can’t just jump out there and do the things you could do when you were younger. Next time I’ve got to do a better job of training. I’ll pay with the work early, or pay with the pain later.

2016 Ride For Mike – Greenville to Bladenboro

Here 2016 Ride For Mike by the numbers. This year’s version took me from my current home in Greenville, SC to my childhood home in Bladenboro, NC. I continue to ride in memory of my friend Michael T. McMaskill and rode this year in honor of my father recovering from a massive stroke. Here is a little data insight into I Ride For Windell.

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Day One

2016 Ride For Mike - Day One Route

Day One: Greenville, SC to Ruby, SC.

<img class="size-large wp-image-11834" src="http://lowcadence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-03-at-7.24.38-PM-1024×170.png" alt="Elevation profile for 2016 Ride For Mike" width="625" height="104" srcset="http://lowcadence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-03-at-7.24 cialis livraison.38-PM-1024×170.png 1024w, http://lowcadence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-03-at-7.24.38-PM-300×50.png 300w, http://lowcadence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-03-at-7.24.38-PM-768×128.png 768w, http://lowcadence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-03-at-7.24.38-PM-624×104.png 624w, http://lowcadence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-03-at-7.24.38-PM-900×150.png 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 625px) 100vw, 625px” />

Elevation profile

Greenville, SC to Ruby, SC
Distance: 143.6 miles
Time in saddle: 7 hours 37 minutes
Total elapsed time: 10 hours 23 minutes
Average speed: 18.8 mph
Weighted average power: 200 watts
Elevation gained: 5,663 feet
Calories: 7,022
Read recap

Day Two

2016 Ride For Mike Day Two Route

Day Two: Ruby, SC to Bladenboro, NC

Elevation profile for 2016 Ride For Mike

Elevation profile

Ruby, SC to Bladenboro, NC
Distance: 95.1 miles
Time in the saddle: 5 hours 3 minutes
Total elapsed time: 6 hours 59 minutes
Average speed: 18.8 mph
Weighted average power: 178 watts
Elevation gained: 1,529 feet
Calories: 5,013
Read recap

Totals

Distance: 238.7 miles
Time in the saddle: 12 hours 40 minutes
Total elapsed time: 17 hours 22 minutes
Average speed: 18.8 mph
Weighted average power: 191 watts
Elevation gained: 7,192 feet
Calories: 12,035

Funds Raised

Total: $3,025

The ride itself was a success. I was able to keep a goal of riding yet another year in memory of Michael T. while being an encouragement to my mom and dad. I must admit that the amount of money I was able to raise is discouraging. DON’T GET ME WRONG, I am very, very thankful for those who have given. The discouragement comes with the knowledge that while $3000 is going to help maintain the foundation for another year, it is not enough to advance it as I hoped.

If you have not given, would you please consider donating event small amount? The opportunity continues through October 31. Thank you!

DONATE HERE

 

The roads: We’re in this together

Yesterday, I returned from a 240-mile ride that took me across northern South Carolina and into southeastern North Carolina (read about it here and here). It was a physically demanding solo ride. I was glad to get home but even happier to be alive.

Returning to Greenville Sunday evening, I was sitting down to catch up on things I may have missed while cycling. I happened upon a news report of a Michael Roberts who died while riding his bicycle in northern Greenville county. Having just spent so many hours covering all those miles across two states, this really hit home.

I can assume that Michael was riding recreationally judging by his bike brand and the fact he was riding north of Travelers Rest when his home was in Greer. I do not know much about him, but I do wonder if he has children. At 55 he’s not that much older than I. Maybe he has a highschooler or maybe a college student like I do.

It brought one specific instance to mind from the ride. It was one that shook me. It was the first thought as I read the report about Michael.

Now, don’t get me wrong. During that 240-mile trip, I was passed by many, many drivers. The vast majority of them gave me plenty of room and treated me well. I received some thumbs up and some friendly “toot-toots”.

One instance comes to mind was as I approached a narrow bridge on a two lane road. I could hear the exhaust modulation from a semi as I heard him let off the accelerator as he approached me down a hill. I pulled off to the shoulder so he would not have to come to a complete stop. He passed blinking his lights in thanks. Then a jeep driver was next. I looked at him and waved him on. He blinked his lights back at me and I could see him motioning for me to go first.

There are good people in the world. In all my years of cycling, I’ve found that for the most part when cyclists and other vehicle drivers take notice of each other and work together, we get along fine. Really, on this weekend’s ride, I could count on one hand the number of drivers who expressed displeasure with me.

Those don’t really scare me. They annoy me, yes. Sometimes they make me angry, but they are aware of me. Their expressions of annoyance toward me are evidence of it. The guy who gives me plenty of room, but holds his horn down as he passes me is not a threat. The redneck in his pickup truck who accelerates to blow diesel smoke in my direction is merely an annoyance to me.

The one moment that struck fear in my heart was one instance on Highway 9 in South Carolina. It was four lanes at that time. I was nearing a town and had only a mile before I would make a turn onto a parallel road that was less traveled cialis livraison rapide canada. For the most part, drivers were giving me the entire right lane as they used the left.

Then I felt a car go by me. The wind ruffled my tight-fitting cycling jersey. I held my line and watched the car move away from me. When it did, I saw it wobble a bit. I could see the driver’s head jerk.

I am guessing, but I would be willing to put good money on the fact that this is how it went down. This driver was following along with traffic. Pretty much it was the flow of traffic guiding this individual as the driver was looking down at a cell phone while keeping track of the road with peripheral vision.

The fact that I was on the road did not register until the car was pretty much beside and then beyond me. Most likely, the driver had the same feeling of panic I had as the realization sank in that we were both nearly involved in a tragedy. The wobble was caused by a too late reaction to what could have happened.

This person was not out looking for cyclists to annoy. The problem was that this driver wasn’t looking for cyclists — or anyone else for that matter. This is the great danger of our roads today… for cyclists, for pedestrians… for everyone.

I love to ride my bicycle. I ride for the opportunity to get outdoors and feel the freedom of the road. I also ride for the exercise. I’m not getting any younger and I know that staying in shape becomes more important if I want to live a quality life in my older years. On the other hand, I want to live long enough to enjoy my fitness!

That is one of the reasons why I find myself riding indoors using the computer cycling simulation called Zwift. It minimizes my time spent on the road while helping to maintain my fitness. The vast majority of my riding in preparation for this weekend’s long ride was done in my basement.

Still, I will be back on the road. I choose my routes carefully. I have a follow car when I can. I operate aware of the vehicles around me and contrary to many opinions, I give way to the cars. I do not seek to “own my space.”

This approach, along with Zwift, has served me well. I know that when it is my time to go, I’ll go. At the same time, I’m not into taking unnecessary risks. But that goes for everyone else on the road…

Ride aware. Drive aware. Ride to be noticed. Drive with expectation. Give room.

We can get along.

Ride For Windell Day Two Recap

After enjoying some pretty good Tex-Mex at Fiesta Tapatia in Cheraw, SC, the Beautiful Redhead and I headed back to the hotel. We ended up going to bed around 10 PM.Of course, I had to write the Ride For Windell Day One Recap first.

I had good intentions of getting up at around 6 AM in hopes that we could get going by no later than 7:30 AM. The alarm went off and I awakened. Getting out of the bed was another matter.

I got some waffles yogurt, and juice — oh and plenty of coffee — from the hotel breakfast and then started to load up the truck. We were going to have to drive me back to the point in Ruby, SC where I had stopped the day before.

It is a nerve-wracking feeling when you are driving in a car the opposite direction that you are supposed to be going in on the bicycle. The ride to the hotel didn’t seem so far when we covered this ground on Friday! Watching the rolling terrain didn’t help either.

Unloading the F1

Getting ready to start day two in Ruby, SC.

Finally, we came to the small “station” where I had pulled the plug the day before. I unload the bicycle and we were off. On the way to the start, I noticed there were a number of cyclists on the road. I would be awesome if I could come upon some and pace along with them.

I only saw one cyclist as I crested one incline after another. I kept telling myself that the climbing would stop on the other side of Cheraw. This business of pushing out watts on cold, tired legs was not enjoyable!

The good news was that Annette was with me this time. Just knowing she was there and hearing her voice over the radio was an encouragement. It was like going back in time to the Memphis-Raleigh and Greenville-Charleston rides. It made me feel warm inside on an otherwise chilly morning — even at 8:30 AM.

Somewhere between Ruby and Chesterfield, SC

Another hilly start on day two.

Cheraw came faster than I anticipated. For a good amount of the time, I was averaging over 20 mph. However, that average got wiped out as I neared town. There are some pretty long grades and I simply could not power up them without my legs starting to get that expanding feeling.

In Cheraw, we took our turn off of Highway 9. We were going through some residential roads and then turned onto a street lined with businesses. In the distance, I could see the bridge over the Great Pee Dee river. I knew for certain the terrain would begin to change on the other side.

It did. It just wasn’t as much as I hoped. When I was on flat roads or descending, I felt great. I could even get some power down. However, as soon as I hit any sort of grade my power dropped. It wasn’t that I felt sore or anything. It was just that my legs wouldn’t produce it.

This became my existence for the next hour or so. I got a reprieve right at the North Carolina state line when my sister and her daughters drove up from Florence to cheer me on. Thanks, Suzanne, Grace, Melinda, and Stephanie!

North Carolina state line

Welcome to North Carolina! Two counties to go…

Buoyed by the visit, I climbed up from the line and then started to descend to the next intersection. As I neared it, I could see the road I was supposed to take on the other side. There were orange signs plastered on either side: No through traffic. Detour.

I could think of no option but to follow the detour. Even if I could make it through the obstacle, Annette couldn’t. The question was how far out of the way would this take us? I figured it couldn’t be too far since this was a local detour.

A slight deviation from our plan.

Detours add the ad in adventure.

As it turned out, it wasn’t that bad. Maybe we went a mile out of our way. The best thing was it was a distraction to my mind and gave me something to think about other than my legs, back, and neck.

We reached Laurinburg, NC and I loaded the bicycle in the truck as we went in search of something to eat. I always have to remind myself that these rides are not a race. It is okay to eat at a restaurant along the way. There is no rule that says I have to eat on the bicycle!

Ahhhhh, here were the flat roads I was looking for. It took 50 miles, but this is what I hoped for back near Cheraw. I was able to keep a pretty good pace through the landscape becoming more and more numerous with pine trees. I knew I was heading in the right direction.

Tired legs near Lumberton

These puppies were tired!

Then the wind came. It started as a headwind. I saw the flags along the route waving toward me. A particularly disheartening scene was a small balloon on a mailbox. It was out straight to the right of the mailbox straining on the nylon ribbon as though it was trying to escape.

Wind changes, though. It swung to a cross wind from my right to left. I wondered if I could use my upper body as a sail. Maybe if I moved my right shoulder forward and my left shoulder back I could turn it into a bit of a tailwind. Can you tell I was starting to get a little warm under the afternoon sun? Now it was just settling in for the long haul.

As I neared Lumberton, NC, the wind seemed to die down. I looked for flags and found them gently swaying. Now I had another battle. It was with my body. I found more and more that my head was hanging and I had to remind myself to look up and not get mesmerized by the white line along the shoulder.

Then Annette came over the radio. “Why don’t you draft off the truck for a bit?” That was not something she would normally offer! I was willing to give it a go.

So, for periods of time I would slot in behind the Pilot and Annette would hold a speed around 24 mph. Then she would radio back to me that a car was approaching us and I would go off to the right while she would drive ahead, pull over, let the car pass, and then move up to be my shield again.

It helped. I’m not so sure that it made me that much faster, but it certainly was an awesome emotional lift. In some ways, it was an effort as I accelerated to get in position and then had to stick my nose back in the wind. All I know is that before I knew it, we were at the Welcome to Lumberton sign.

Entering the far side of Lumberton

Happy to see Lumberton!

Wow! I was almost home! I knew from this point on I would recognize all the landmarks. I started through the city streets with a renewed energy. Still, by the time I reached the intersection that would put my on Highway 211 — and just two turns from home — I was needing to find some shade.

We pulled over and I got new water bottles from the cooler. I poured one of them over my head.  I was now 17 miles to the finish. That was exciting, but also a realization that I was going to have to spend another hour on the saddle. There was nothing to do, but to do it.

211 is a pretty flat road. It is also a pretty straight one. Once again, I started to find myself staring down at the computer screen. Annette offered to draft again and I took the offer. As it turned out, I didn’t get to enjoy it for long because we were closer than I thought.

Welcome to Bladenboro

Reaching Bladenboro! Only a few miles to go.

We stopped to take a photograph near the Welcome to Bladenboro sign. Then I started to roll over the next five miles to my parents’ house. Now I was feeling great! I’ve ridden this road many, many times.

As we turned onto the road to my childhood home, Annette came over the radio to tell me that my mom had called to say that my dad was looking at his watch and trying to communicate the question, “When will Jonathan get here?” I was happy that it would be less than a minute!

Windell and Jonathan

The man I was so please to honor with this year’s ride!

The whole trip was worth it when my dad stood up from his porch swing and came over to hug me. Of course, I didn’t let him! I didn’t want to kill him with the sweat and smell! I’d get the shower out of the way and then we could spend more time together.

And so, the 2016 Ride For Mike comes to an end. I was glad to honor my father in the process.

Please support the I Do It For Foundation with a gift today!

Today is the day! I Ride For Windell

Today at 6AM EST, I leave out on 240-mileile solo ride raising awareness and financial support for the I Do It For Foundation. Ride along with me on social media. I could use all the “Ride Ons” you can give me along the way!

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 9.24.58 AM

Here’s what you can do…

As I type this there are only 30 minutes to go before I leave. I’m nervous… mostly about dealing with traffic along the route. However, there is also that nervous excitement that always comes before an event like this. It’s a good feeling.

Ride On!

What about you? Countdown Day 1

Tomorrow I roll out on the 2016 Ride For Mike. I’ll be doing it for my father, Windell Pait. I hope you’ll follow along with me throughout the day on Twitter and Instagram. More than that I hope you will make I Do It For your own.

There are two ways you can, as our slogan says, “Do it for someone you love.”

Many people reading this blog are active in different sports. There may be a few who are looking for motivation to get involved in a more active lifestyle. I Do It For is here to help add a little motivation to your training… or to your desire to get started with a more active lifestyle.

The "Doer" Dave Vandeventer

The “Doer” Dave Vandeventer – 2012

Here is how it works. Dave is beginning to train for a local marathon. A friend of his at church is also enduring an ongoing battle with cancer. He learns of the I Do It For Foundation and decides to start an I Run For Juanita project. His objective is to raise money for the extra expenses that Juanita faces while rallying others around her in emotional support.

As Dave begins his training, he launches his IRunFor.org/Juanita website. He encourages friends to give money to support Juanita, but he also asks them to join him the day of the run… either as a fellow runner or just along the route wearing “I Do It For Juanita” t-shirts.

Through social media, he keeps people aware of his own journey toward his goal of the marathon while also telling Juanita’s story. The two journeys become intertwined. Dave’s run is no longer simply about a PB. It is about Juanita and her battle.

The day of the run Dave starts with a group of “Doers” for Juanita cheering him on. But they are there also to cheer on Juanita. She is too sick to be there, but people keep her up-to-date with the progress. The day ends with Dave accomplishing his goal of finishing the race, but think about what more he accomplishes in the process.

Juanita receives money to help her with the expenses surrounding her treatment not covered by insurance. More than that she is bolstered by the outpouring of support of the many who give, encourage her online, or express their love for her wearing I Do It For Juanita tees around town. That’s what it is all about!

What is your next event? You’re training anyway… why not use that time training drawing attention to someone else in need? Why not make that event mean even more? Do it for someone you love!

Maybe you aren’t even exercising, but you want to get started. Perhaps making your exercise routine about someone other than yourself will give you the extra motivation to follow through. Choose an upcoming event — charity walk, local 5K event, or organized cycling ride — as your target. Start an I Do It For campaign and tell your stories as you reach your target.

Start your campaign today!

The other way you can help is to support the I Do It For Foundation. There are many ways we would like to aid our “Doers” as they support their “Inspirations”, but it takes money to build and maintain these tools. Also, we are committed to giving 100% of the funds that come in to the Inspirations.

That is why I am riding the I Ride For Windell tomorrow morning. Yes, I am riding to show love for my father, but I’m also riding for all the others who in the future will inspire doers to make a difference. I’ll be thinking of my dad and the many others who have inspired us to do a little more as they run their own races in challenges far greater than sport.

Give to I Ride For Windell now!

I am not a ribbon, a color or a disease.

I am a person. I have a name. Do it for me.

Do it for someone you love!

Somewhere between Greenville and Saluda

2016 Ride For Mike Route – Countdown Day 2

Now that I’ve talked all about “why” I am doing the 2016 Ride For Mike, let’s take a moment to look at “what” the ride will entail. When the rubber hits the road Friday morning, where will I be going and how will I get there? Here’s the low cadence low down.

2016 Ride For Mike Route

2016 Ride For Mike Route

The plan is to have everything packed and ready to roll by Thursday evening. I’ll have the car pointed out the driveway and the bicycle tuned and prepped. Once it is all in place, I’ll try to get to bed a little earlier than usual.

I’ll awake Friday morning with enough time to eat a nice bagel and egg breakfast sandwich, take a wake-me-up shower, and get dressed for the ride. The weather is supposed to be awesome that day, so what I wear shouldn’t be complicated. There really won’t be much more to do at that point than to start the ride.

That will be simple as well. The ride starts at my driveway. I’ll head down my street with the Beautiful Redhead following me in the Honda FIT. Then we’ll make a right turn onto Highway 29 for the first long leg of the journey.

This stretch will take me from Greenville to the outskirts of Spartanburg. I’m hoping that by starting on the road at 6AM, I will be able to avoid most of the traffic and more importantly catch as many green lights as possible on this traffic light infested ribbon of asphalt. Even so, it will be tough because of the undulating terrain.

If I get the lights right, I might be able to average 18 mph through this section. An hour and a half into the ride I will make my next turn to by-pass Spartanburg. The road I’m aiming for is Highway 9 on the eastern side of Highway 29. At that point, I’ll be heading due east with a little southern bent.

I’ll pick up Hwy 9 in Pacolet, SC. There will be a couple of turns along the way as I move through some towns, but it is a pretty straight shot until I reach Cheraw, SC. Then I’ll move off of Highway 9 as I make my way over the North Carolina border. I’ll be heading through towns familiar to me from my childhood as I loosely follow Highway 74 into southeastern NC.

Laurinburg, Maxton, Red Banks, Pembroke, Lumberton, and finally Bladenboro. I won’t actually enter the Bladenboro city limits, but will turn into some rural farming roads that will wind away from traffic and bring me to my parents’ house. I’ll finish the ride as I pull into the drive on JA Carroll Road on the edge of Crawley Swamp.

Elevation profile for the 2016 Ride For Mike

Elevation profile for the 2016 Ride For Mike

I’ve broken the ride into two sections. The first is 125-mile section to Pageland, SC. This is going to be the toughest part of the ride. While the overall topography flows down toward the coast, the elevation graph looks like a saw blade. It is my intention to reach this waypoint on Friday.

Then I’ll decide what to do…

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-12-20-amThe second section is really the “horse smelling the barn” section. At this stage, there is an actual  negative grade toward sea level. The jagged rhythm-breakers of the first 125 miles gives way to more gently rolling to flat roads. Depending on detours or wrong turns I should have 115 miles to go.

So, depending on how I feel when I reach Pageland, I’ll decide if I keep going. In the back of my mind, there is a little voice calling me to make a day of it. Of course, that would mean a 14 hour day in the saddle. That is why the other little voice in my head is telling me to go into this with a two-day plan.

Stay tuned…

There is one more hurdle I have to get over. It is my fundraising goal of $20,000. Right now things stand at $1825. Can you help me with that? Learn more about the project and give at IRideFor.org/Windell.

 

Miles for money

I know I keep writing about Zwift. As soon as they stop doing things that give me a reason to write, I will probably stop. Today is not that day.

As a company, one of the things that has impressed me about Zwift is their savvy use of the social aspect of cycling. An important component of the cycling community are charity rides and causes. They’re not waiting until they have the product complete. Even now in the beta testing period they have used their program to show their support for a charity ride.

irf_gear

This means a lot to me because of my own involvement in using cycling for a cause with the I Do It For Foundation. So, when I saw that Zwift was encouraging riders to download the promotional jersey for opportunity to raise $5000 for the Tour De Pier and fight cancer, I knew I would need to log in and do some laps!

zwiftTDP

 

Here’s what Zwift has to say about it…

Make Your Miles Count! Today May 9th thru May 16th, you can join in and help the Zwift community raise funds for cancer charity. All you have to do is unlock the  Tour de Pier kit in game by pressing “p” and enter promo code “TDP2015”. While you are wearing this jersey your miles will count towards our ultimate goal of 50,000 miles. If we reach that goal Bank of America will $5,000 dollars to Tour de Pier! So lets unlock those jerseys and Ride On!

So, what is Tour de Pier? It isn’t technically a bicycle ride… at least not the way you might think. It is a stationary bicycle event raising money for Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach, Hirschberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and Uncle Kory Foundation (brain cancer). Participants line up on stationary cycles overlooking Manhattan Beach.

When you understand that, this seems to be a charity event tailor made for Zwift! So, if you are a Zwift’er, let me encourage you to grab your promotional jersey and join us in knocking out those 50,000 miles. I took are of 58 of them yesterday… we’ve got a few more to go!

Today Zwift will be posting their first update on the Zwift Facebook page with how many miles the Zwift community has ridden so far in their Tour de Pier kits. My guess the Zwift community is going to rise to the occasion and Bank of America will be handing over the cash! I plan to do my part.

Well, that didn’t take long

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.

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Came upon Towmater while riding my route.

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.

Paris Mountain in the distance. Home is on the other side.

Paris Mountain in the distance. Home is on the other side.

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.

The battlefield. The segment starts at the bridge and ends around the turn at the top of the hill.

The battlefield. The segment starts at the bridge and ends after the turn at the top of the hill.

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 toward home.

Coming over Piney Mountain Road toward home.

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.

Click to see the full leader board.

Click to see the full leaderboard.

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.