Well I survived the Tour Des Gaps in Mt Airy. It was advertised as over 10,000 ft of climbing, and it was all that and a bag of chips! The ride was definitely beautiful w/ some of the most gorgeous scenery I've experienced since living in NC. I think I'd like to make this an annual event for me.
The ride started fairly mellow, w/ the pack being led out of town by local police. The front pack stayed fairly cohesive until the beginning of the first gap. Gap is the name given to some of the roads that lead up these incredible climbs to the tops of ridges in the Blue mountain region of northern NC / southern VA. I took a brief stop before the first gap (too much coffee during the drive up from Durham) and then the first gap was underway. I quickly realized that I didn't have the correct gearing in that I have an 11-23 on the back and 53-39 on the front. This made it impossible to spin up the climbs. The first gap went okay, since my legs were fresh and the scenery took my mind off of the struggle.
The 2nd gap was the most difficult, the climb was extreme (not using this term lightly either). I was climbing and my speed was like 5 mph. Good thing for the cloud cover and moderate temps. I made it too the top. That was so hard. I kept trying to avoid looking up at the road and just looked down at my calves bulging w/ each stroke. Oh man what a climb, then some sport bikes flew by us and the fumes were not pleasant. Coming back down the gaps was an adventure as well. I'm sure I'll need to replace my brake pads, because I pretty much rode the brakes on the descents.
The 3rd and 4th gaps were not as hard as the 2nd. However, the 4th was so hard due to having 60 miles of climbing under my belt. I literally had my lips quivering because of the effort I was putting out during the climb. Also I was kind of slobbering at the mouth and I had snot coming out my nose. I know it was gross, but it was just so hard. I've never come close to doing something so hard, including marathons and my HIM.
Well I finally made it to the finish 82 miles later. I think my time was like 5:30 or something. I did a short 13 min post-ride run and enjoyed the post-ride fare. They had Subway sandwiches, fruit, chips, drinks. It was really first class w/ the food. Also the rest stops were awesome and I felt really good vibes from all the riders and volunteers.
Today I'm totally wiped. I feel so lazy. I need to get my behind in gear and start some housework or something. No working out today (well maybe a very very easy recovery ride) but nothing else.
"Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude"