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Saturday, July 03, 2010

And now, the rest of the story

What Peter didn't mention...

So we drive to the start of the race and get there about 6:15 a.m. Parked in a big field. Soon, some people from Cincinnati who were staying at the same hotel pulled in after us. One man was wearing his bib shorts inside out.

Inside out. The red chamois exposed. As Peter said, he looked like a baboon. But none of his friends were saying anything, and although I desperately wanted to, neither did we. (Aside: When Schultz drove up and I showed him, the look on his face was priceless.)

After the ride, as we were leaving the post-ride pizza tent, he and a woman (wife? friend?) came in. So as we walked by, I stopped, pointed at his shorts and said, "Hey, I've got to ask you. Is it more comfortable that way?"

"What way?" he asked.

Then he looked down.

Then she looked down. And she started to howl, a laugh that meant either it was a complete surprise to her, too, or she is the best actress this side of Meryl Streep.

With sort of a sheepish grin, he looked up and said that no wonder he was feeling a bit of a hot spot (or something like that, I don't remember his exact words).

Needless to say, I posed, ass-to-ass, with him.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

"We got this" or Blood, Sweat & Gears Ride Report

Left Thursday for Boone in the A-Team van, one year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. Dinner at a great place in Boone across from Appalachian State U called the Red Onion.

Friday morning out for a 20 miler that took us out to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Within the first few miles is a one mile climb up a road call Deck Hill. Nice climb and I'm guessing around 6% on average. Reached the to of the climb to a spot called Flat Top where there is a ski resort. I've never seen snow makers and they look like Boeing 757 jet engines mounted on poles. About 15 miles in we did a one mile descent that was spectacular form both a technical aspect and was incredibly scenic! Probably one of the top 20 mile ride we've ever done.

Friday afternoon took a drive out to Snake Mountain just to pay some respect, well actually get out and come to some kind of acceptance of just how freakin steep of a climb.We did the same thing last year where I uttered the infamous line "we got this." Uh stoopid! Once we accepted the fact we were walking Snake we were at peace and could head back to town to check out the new A-Team flick.

BS&G starts Saturday at 7:30am. The ride allows 750 riders for the century and I think 500 for the 50 miler. Some Nashville recording star, not a famous one (not famous to me?), does the national anthem on his electric guitar, very cool.

Most of the first 50 miles feels like it is up hill although there are a couple of fun but short descents. After 10 miles the 100 and 50 rides split at the Blue Ridge and this year the BRP was open giving us 100 milers about 20 miles on the parkway. IT was very windy all day, no joke that the wind was in our face all day. The views on the Parkway are breathtaking.

The fun begins at mile 56 where there is a rest stop before the climb up Snake Mountain. At this point the ride has "softened" you up with plenty of climbing. The ascent up Snake isn't too bad for 3.5 miles but then, holy crap! I've heard different numbers on the pitch of Snake form 18% to 22% suffice it to say on a bike it is one tough stretch of pavement. Mike and I both walked this 1 mile section last year but that was last year.

I went up using the zig zag method and got into the first nasty steep section forced by my heart rate to stop for a moment. I was able to clip back in and continue up, at this point it looks like everyone is walking their bikes up, one guy walking looked at me pedaling and said "go guy!" Well now there is no way I can stop, gotta gut this thing out and make it to the top. After a sharp right turn you make a sharp left to finish up a steep section, that's where I think my right calf fell off but was still able to summit ON THE BIKE!

What a great feeling to climb Snake, feels like an exorcism of sorts. OK, a little dramatic there but great to get to the top and high five some others who had just finished climbing the whole thing on the bike. Mike got to the top after only being temporarily forced off his bike by a Fedex truck during the toughest part of the climb.He was able to clip back in and continue...ON THE BIKE. Now get this; on the steepest section some goober asks Mike if this is a good place to "clip back in." Uh, go for it buddy just wait until I clear the area.

The descent down Snake is a rush, very technical so couldn't get over 50mph but think I got about 47ish. From there you pedal a long 10 mile or so downhill to mile 84ish or the cut off point. You have to make it there by 2:30 or they send you directly in cutting the ride short. We arrived with 30 minutes to spare and our reward was climbing George's Gap a steep 4 mile ascent of switch backs similar to Wolfpen Gap at 6 Gap in Dahlonega.

The climbing isn't quite done yet as they throw a 2 mile steep ascent at you in mile 93 the in mile 102 of 104 another 1 mile steep hill just to remind you why it's called Blood, Sweat and Gears.

A phenomenal ride, very challenging and one of the most beautiful rides I've ever done. We're back next year and looking for more Jax folks to join us. Most importantly there is now one thing we can confidently say about the ride, "we got this."