Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thursday Centuries

I'm still trying to roll through all the road routes in the Knoxville book, and decided they would get done quicker if I did two at a time. This was especially true for the ones that started at Coulter's Bridge, as it is about a 35 min drive to get there. A few weeks ago, I did three of the routes at once for 100 miles, which was definitely painful. I was hurting on the first 30 mile flat route for some reason, then Butterfly Gap racheted up the pain screws, and I limped around for the last 30 miles to finish up in 6:04.

I decided to start the Thursday Centuries up last week, and kicked it off with the death ride. The death ride started off nicely enough, with a 56 mile rolling loop out rocky branch to Kyker's Bottoms wildlife refuge. I refueled at the car after averaging 17.3 mph. The remaining 46 miles were the pain miles, as it went straight up and over the Parkway, then up Happy Valley and Flat's road, and then a big coast back down the parkway. [~4500 ft of climbing] I died about 2 miles up the Parkway, and never really recovered. I finally got to the top, and went to the campground to dump water on myself and reevaluate my decision to keep riding. I ignored the voices in my head and plunged over the other side of the parkway. My neck and shoulder's were killing me, so I couldn't really descend in any sort of aero position.

I turned the corner at the base and started up Happy Valley. Lots of rolling, false flat type sections were ok, but once the climb pitched up, I was toasted again. I sloooowwwwly made my way up the switchbacks, and turned right onto Flat's road. For those of you that haven't heard of it, Flat's road is about the steepest climb in the knoxville area. Whoever named it, I hate you. Death was upon me at this point, and I did some serious SS style mashing to get myself up the road at 3 mph. [Sadly, not a typo...] After another dousing of water at the campground, I headed down the parkway, and got back to the car with 102 miles in around 6:18. My average had dropped to a rockin 15.9 mph...

The third century installment finally went better. I felt great all day. Started out with a ride up the Parkway, and then down flat's road and Happy Valley, and then rode 129 back to Maryville. The rest of the ride was another loop around Maryville, that was mostly rolling hills and wind. I got doused with rain for 20 minutes or so, but by that point it was mostly refreshing. Finished in 5:44.

I'm not really sure what I'll do this coming week... Maybe one day I'll be cool enough to do the death ride of all the ascents up the parkway. I'm guessing this would be about a 110-120 mile ride with god knows how much climbing... hmm... Maybe a Mt Larry double ride?


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