I rode the 58-mile Wilderness Road Ride for the third year in a row (write-ups from 2010 and 2011). It's cool to be to a point where I am doing races and rides for a third time, and I pretty much recalled the whole route and knew where I was for once. Conditions were perfect and the company was great!
My instructions on Training Peaks were "have fun, that is the only goal today." This was followed up by a more direct email that said "keep the ride social and fun tomorrow...it’s not a race."
Yes, yes, I know. It's a RIDE with convenient friendly refueling stops. This is one of the few times a year where I eat and enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into four of those perfect little white bread triangles! YUM!
|One of the PB&J stops!|
I met up with friends Mark, Mike, and Tim for the ride. I did the best I could to not "race". But who is not going to drop down a mountain as fast as they possibly can, or take advantage of a smooth and straight stretch of road to whoop it up a bit? Plus we did a fair amount of talking (and smack talking, haha), so there's no possible way it could be "racing," right?
With 3000'+ of elevation change there were plenty of nice descents to enjoy. Here's the full Garmin map and data.
Tim and I turned out to be a pretty good match so we decided to push on and regroup at the support stops. (Mike was just coming off marathon training that ended with a fantastic Boston Marathon so his bike mileage hadn't been built up yet.) From mile 20 on Tim and I cruised about 19 mph and my average heart rate was still in the aerobic zone, so clearly, this was not "racing" -- but it sure was "fun"!
|Me with Tim|
At several points during the ride we passed by cemeteries, and spotted people placing wreaths and flowers for Memorial Day and my heart ached a bit.
The ride was safe and uneventful other than dropping my chain coming into a stop sign. Tim showed me a trick to use a stick to get the chain back on without getting grease all over my hands.
|Mark is a character!!|
I sure do love this ride that supports FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and brings us through quaint little towns circling Claytor Lake - places like Snowville, Newberne, and Rogers. Mark is the Outdoors reporter for the Roanoke Times so he knows a lot about the area (see Mark Taylor's Wild Life) and he shared stories of a 10-day cycling and canoeing trip through the area, and the poor town of Rogers that got dropped off of the map! We sure are fortunate to live in such a beautiful region that offers so much in the way of outdoor activities with rivers, lakes, mountains, and valleys.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone...a time to remember those who have died in service to our country.