Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wilderness Road RIDE...not RACE

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’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.