Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hills with a side of fog please

Just got back from my FIRST bike ride out on the Blue Ridge Parkway! This was no where on my Training Peaks for this weekend and not even a consideration until yesterday's bike plans kinda sank. I find that sometimes the best trips/experiences are the ones NOT planned. The impromptu nature of this ride prevented me from over-thinking and over-analyzing what this ride entailed (descents).  I did loose some sleep last night though thinking about it and this morning I had jitters similar to what I sometimes feel on race day!

The day did not start off too well but what can you expect when you get up at freaking 4:30. I needed gas but the Exxon up the road wasn't working and for the life of me I could not remember my PIN number. This is the same PIN number I've had for YEARS. I had to scramble to the nearest Sheets and hit the road to meet up with the crew at the park-n-ride.

I enjoyed the ride up to the Blue Ridge with great/easy convo with JB but inside, I was kinda nervous. When we got higher up to our starting point the fog was insane. I couldn't see the car that was 15ft in front of me! When JB mentioned that it may be unsafe to ride, I gotta admit that I was a little relieved. Luckily, Lynn was already waiting for us and let us know that it was clearing up.

When we first started, I felt strangely out of place. The air temperature was in the 70s which seemed cold compared to the 100+ degree temps. That, the fog and the gentle misting made me feel like I was in Forks on an early fall day. Less than ideal to start but I ended up being grateful for the milder temps and cloud cover/fog.

Once my legs warmed up a little, I started to relax and soon I found myself enjoying the ride. It's also important to note that this was my first outing on saddle #3, the Terry.  I was nervous about doing a longer ride on a new saddle but I figured nothing could be as bad as last year. I must say that this saddle  is at the top of my short list. I've tried a many saddles and so far Terry>Cobb>Deva. Thank goodness for people like Craig at RCC that are patient with picky people like me!

During the ride, I kept thinking how lucky we are to have such an amazing place to come ride. There was minimal traffic, amazing views and just clean, fresh mountain air. The fog did make a few of the descents a little sketch and my hands will definitely be sore from squeezing the shit out of feathering my brakes so much.  I snapped this with my POS droid at the top of a climb. I'm getting my Christmas tree from here this year! So pretty!

After about 13 miles of climbing/descending, JB and Lynn went off to do Vesuvius because they are crazy insane good on their bikes. The more sane people, including myself, just did an out and back and met back up with the girls to finish up the ride. Of course, now Vesuvius is a goal of mine now but mainly to check out Gertie's Country Store! what a great name:)

The way back to the cars seemed to be more descending rather than climbing and I found myself remembering all of the advice Karen has given me over the years. I relaxed my arms, pushed my butt back, leveled out my feet. and kept my line of vision out ahead of me. I'm getting the hang of it slowly but surely with every ride I do. Progress.

After about 3ish hours, we made it back to the cars. Some did t-runs while others texted significant others to let them know we survived and some tried to help a cute doggie that clearly didn't want our help. Lynn mentioned Devil's Backbone Brewery and I perked up at the thought of a burger and a beer. We enjoyed an unseasonably mild lunch on the patio which was the perfect ending to surprise impromptu ride. 

And I get to do it again next weekend at the Wintergreen TortureFest!!

1 comment: