Some days I just don’t know what gets into me. I haven’t been riding a lot lately so my fitness is down, but the seed was planted a few weeks back with the thought that I should check out the foliage at Kings Gap. Sloth and I had been there during our micro-tour and I was impressed by the views as well as the steady but manageable climb up the mountain.
But for some reason, even though it was at least a week late, I had it in my head that I needed to get some miles on the X bike with a longish ride. After mulling over different routes, most of which were a more sensible distance, I threw caution to the wind and took off due west.
Despite the overcast skies, the ride was great. The X bike, even though not a speedster, just seems to respond to a little more leg pressure by surging forward. I’m used to the Trucker, where the order of the day is to drop a gear or two and grind up a hill. It’s hard to restrain from lifting out of the saddle and swinging the bars from side to side as the crest of a hill comes into view.
Like I said, it’s hard; and ultimately my legs paid the price for the joy of speed. Without really trying, I’m guessing my average speed was 2-3 mph faster than usual.
The first stop didn’t occur until Boiling Springs, and then just long enough to eat a banana and say hey to the boys.Mount Holly was a blur, and I remember seeing a soccer match going on at South Middleton Park. Looked to be about U8. Pines Road has the look of an old cattle trail used by farmers in the 1800’s, and they just happened to pave it. Many of the old stone homes are right up against the road, and are great scenery with the twists and turns while rolling along.
The first 30 miles seemed to pass by quickly, but I slowed down noticeably as I got into “climbing mode.”
My thin wool shirt was soaked with sweat from the climb, and my jacket was pretty damp as well. Still, the temperature seemed to be dropping slightly, and I could feel it at the top. I opted to put the jacket back on and dry it out as I coasted the 3 1/2 miles back down the mountain. It’s not silly fast, but it’s still great to lean into the turns and hit 25 mph on the stretches for that distance. The level pavement comes up much too soon.
By the time I headed for home, a breeze had come up, but not too bad. I think I was doing pretty good until about mile 45; then I noticed that I was getting a bit tender down below, and there was little snap left in my legs. I tried coming out of the saddle for a small hill and bagged it halfway – drop the gears and grind.
At mile 55 I took a break and sat for a bit, but the rest of the way was a slow and somewhat painful trip, only buoyed by the satisfaction of the miles already covered. I had reached my limit for the day, and all I wanted to do was get a hot shower, stretch, and sit for a bit. That happened soon enough.
Distance: 66.3 miles 2012: 1186.5