Saturday, January 16, 2010

Group vs. Gravel

I folded and went with the CLM crew today.  Truth is, I enjoyed the ride with friends despite needing to train.  I selfishly kept the pace high when I could to meet the goals for today (40 miles with 20mph avg).  After discussing it with Barry, it was the best idea for one particular reason - our buddy Scott is moving to Spain in a few weeks and there is only so much time left.  True, we could go hang out and get a beer, or go bowling (like we did today), but there is nothing quite like the time you spend with friends while in the saddle.  It's just different.  Anyway, here we go...

The crew:  Duane, Whit, Mitch, Sirena, Scott, Brad, Barry, and me.  We rolled out from Paceline to Shallowford and just kept going.  At Fish Brandon, we rolled back to Old Stage and headed towards Lewisville via Powerline Hill.  After Whit brought us scorching down to the foot of the climb, Brad pins it on the early steep section.  I swear he gave me a 'look' right before stomping it - as if to say 'you coming?'  The answer was 'yes' of course, so I jumped out of the saddle.  At this moment, Barry goes by both of us like a flash...


Powerline Hill has three sections and is not a short climb.  Section 1 is steep and has a few curves.  Section 2 flattens out a bit allowing some recovery, while Section 3 is where the final attacks come before a stopsign.

*we're back*

Barry was new to Powerline, so his attack was disconcerting.  Did he know what he was doing?  Was he going to carry that pace all the way up, or was he trying to lure others out of their comfort zone?   Turns out Barry was stretching the legs and wasn't sure how long the climb was...THANK GOODNESS because that would have been quite painful.  Brad, Duane, and I rolled to the top as a trio, with Duane taking the sprint. 

As we regrouped and returned to Lewisville, I had unfinished business.  Although I couldn't talk the group into hitting the dirt sections with me, I knew I needed to start the process of trying it out.  I hung a left on Conrad Rd. and zipped across the Yadkin River and toward East Bend.  Just past a Taxidermy stand (no kidding), there was a road to the right Barry mentioned to me as having gravel I took it. 

What a rush.  The feeling initially is very strange, then less so as one gets used to the dulling of usually sharp road bike responses.  I tried speeds up to 25mph with no problems.  This section actually has a steep downhill (with s-curves) and a gnarly pitch coming up the other side.  With plenty of loose rock and sand, I got a chance to try climbing in and out of the saddle.  I can already tell that my mountain bike experience will come in handy as I balance power and traction on skinny road tires.

I was pretty tired by this point, but followed Butner Mill until it returned to Flint Hill, then rode back to Lewisville.  The solo sections gave me a chance to up the average just a bit, so I moved closer to goal than expected. 

Here are the stats:

Route:  As above, but briefly:  Shallowford to Fish Brandon and back Old Stage to Powerline Hill.  Conrad to Flint Hill then a Butner Mill loop before returning Flint Hill to Grapevine (ouch) to Shallowford. 
Time:  2:06:44
Dist:  41.33mi
Avg:  19.5mph

Addendum:  Adding the extra bit I did solo, total mileage was 60.11.  Whew.  I didn't track average speed over the extra 19 miles, but I am sure it was below 19.5.

A few shots from the fun.  Here we paused at the end of Fish Brandon so Mitcher could grab a Mellow Yellow. 

The first dirt section begins...

A grey sky loomed all day, but we stayed dry.

The Yadkin River valley had a smoky appearance today, but is striking nonetheless.

The hard work over, I took a break and enjoyed the river park.

Next up:  Time trial to determine training zones (for intervals) on Monday.  Better get some rest...


Northstar Bikes said...

nice write up, wish I would have came along for the gravel portions...I would have been hurting, but it would have been fun!

cameron said...

love the write up. your first few lines got me thinking. you're right. scott's gonna be gone soon. got to get some rides in with him while i can. hitting the trainer tomorrow. gonna try for next week. it may be ugly though....

Erich said...

you are always pretty, cam. some others felt less than 100% and just sat in when needed. come on out.

Northstar Bikes said...

Cam, we'd love to have you along for the next ride. I know Scotty would like it too!

Mitch said...


Post a Comment