Metric Century. It sounds cool, and it’s one of those goals that usually makes it onto my annual to do list; but it also goes against my so-called Riding Philosophy. The point is that one shouldn’t ride just to rack up miles, but one should ride both for the pleasure of riding, and to go to some place.
Lately, I have been focused on mileage because, no surprise here, I want to get my fitness up for longer rides/tours. The reality is that not every ride can have a destination – some are just a ride…and miles. So while I had the goal of doing a metric century, this ride was redeemed in that it had both a destination, and a worthwhile journey.
Kings Gap is a great ride, and just happens to be a hair over a metric from my driveway and back. Other than the ride up the mountain, it’s pretty level; and it follows the Yellow Breeches most of the way for some nice scenery. Scott signed on earlier in the week to provide some company and make a day of it.
Earlier weather reports had a nice forecast, but an intermittent drizzle moved in Friday evening, and we faced that not long after starting out. Given the warm temperatures, though, it made things kind of comfortable. My only concern was my padded liners, which ended up getting soaked.
Just past Williams Grove we came up on a group of riders that Scott recognized from HBC and played leap frog with them into Boiling Springs. Here we caught up to them on Creek Road as a train was coming through.
They seemed to be a nice group of folks, but Scott and I have strong opinions about the whole lycra/clipless pedal crowd, and looking at their kit, the two of us started talking about unracers, country bikes, and being comfortable. (I was riding my LHT, Scott had his MB2; both with upright bars, wide saddles, big tires, and a bag or two.) In the midst of all this, a roadie comes along who was much too focused on his workout to bother a wave or a nod to two rubes on old man bikes wearing ball caps and baggy shorts. It brought on a good laugh.
We kept the pace between 11-12 mph, with an occassional stop to stretch the legs. We saw emus, deer, llamas, donkeys, dogs, snakes, and an assortment of roadkill.
The mountain at Kings Gap was shrouded in fog, but it seemed to be trying to clear as we made the ascent. There were even some patches of sunlight coming through the trees as we got close to the top.
While we weren’t on a mash fest, I could feel the miles and the climb. Reaching the summit was a nice challenge, and taking a few minutes to admire the view was in order. There were some people mulling about, and also a few roadies making the climb.
The descent down Kings Gap is fun. Not too steep, not too fast; but a couple of blind turns to test the brakes and coasting for miles. Once at the bottom, we stopped in at the store and ordered sandwiches, which were enjoyed on a bench outside.
Stomachs full and legs rested, we started for home. I could feel myself steadily tiring, but it wasn’t until around mile 55 or so that my legs started feeling heavy. We were smart to make a few stops to stretch or refuel.
Once the sun came out the temperature seemed to creep up, which brought people out for tubing along the Yellow Breeches. We passed quite a few cars, and at one point we saw what must have been a group of 25 linked together, floating along and having a great time. They picked a nice day for it.
The last few miles always seem to be the longest, but we dug deep and slogged along, wishing that the route was just a few miles shorter. The driveway never looked better, and no regrets for what amounted to a great ride.
Distance: 67.3 miles 2013: 588.8