Monday, February 12, 2007

bike riding. brr. cold. yep. mm huh.

so the final short track event in charlotte was yesterday but in lieu of my bike breaking, my legs feeling the 9 hours of riding from just a few days before, and well, general excitement about having a new road bike, i decided to stay in boone and test out the road bike and its sram shifting!!

my new road bike (still gotta pay for it though) is a 07 specialized roubaix expert with sram. its got the rival ie cheaper version, but its supposed to work as well as the force just without the fancy carbon and lighter weight. its got ksryium elite wheels. i would like to do something unique in the wheel department, i just haven't figured out what yet.

so, my route consisted of leaving boone on 321 to deerfield to the steady climb known as wilson ridge road. i turned left on bamboo and then crossed 421 to get on brookshire rd. after navigating the gravelly crossbike friendly section of brookshire i turned right on 194 then right on castleford. this was my first experience with the famous castleford rd and i liked it. nice and rolly, not too hard, but nothing like the road following it. finishing castleford let me out onto railroad grade road and that was a relief, though it was windy. oh yeah, and between 20 and 45 degrees the whole day. it may not have even made it into the 40's. dont know exactly. so railroad grade in the drops moving right along found me stopping at the store across from the floridiot owned todd general store. the lady there was a local and wasn't afraid to have her store open during the colder winter months. i stayed there way too long, but the crackers and diet coke and new supply of reeses and salted peanuts was keeping me there. we talked about possible routes to get back to boone. i was planning on using 194 to get me back into boone at 421, but i realized that would only be about a two hour ride. i wanted four hours.

remembering a ride we'd done in the summer that continued on three top rd and then some highway 88 i verifired with the nice lady, owner of the todd mercantile, that my mental map was correct and headed out on three top rd. after just a short rolly section i crested "the divide" as the lady called it, and it got much colder. i wore my fleecy windproof bib tights, matching jacket, fleecy long sleeve jersey and ridiculous almost snow-worthy cycling gloves. i was still cold on this stretch. once i reached nc-88 i felt much better as i was in and out of the shade, not consistently in it. i stopped and peed in some person's yard on 88 because there were no wooded sections to hide in. this was the scariest point on the ride. second only to descending into tennessee and facing crosswinds from hell. speaking of tennessee, the climb to the state line was only really the second or third climb to deal with. and an easy grade. thanks for 34 teeth. compact wussy. anyways, reaching 421 and turning uphill, i mean left, was the only thing left and i would be home. i marveled in mabel at the view of beech mountain, AND sugar mountain AND sugar top. and grandfather mountain. and the hawks bill down in the linville gorge. seeing things in plain view that are twenty to thirty miles away reminded me why we are so lucky to ride in the high country.

blah blah blah. i sound like a tourist. so 421 wasn't entirely uphill like i thought. i'd never been on the stretch between old 421 and the tater hill area, at one point i was in my 50-11t spinning, i imagine thats around the 40mph mark, for probably a mile. that was a relief. and then into vilas and back to the other end of my gearing. 34-26t back up to the 105 bypass, then left on 105 and left on 321 found me back at boone bike. i forgot to take my camera for pictures, but i did steal and modify a map from Google Maps:

that's all for now. i'm excited about training and getting fit and faster. hopefully i can score some top tens and maybe a top five at a SERC race this year. i'd like to be consistent enough to be forced to upgrade to expert, but if it takes another year for that, well, so be it.

thanks for reading.


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