Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 Storming of Thunder Ridge

2013 Storming of Thunder Ridge
     "Kneesee, I'm getting ready to have a really bad morning." Rain is bad, but not being able to use your bike is worse. As I was driving to the 2013 SOTR in a steady rain I had reached that moment when things went from bad to worse as I realized I had left my cycling shoes at home and, if you don't know, cycling shoes clip into the pedals, so no shoes essentially rendered my bike useless. 

     In an odd twist of fate, I had insisted that Kneesee bring her bike even though she refuses to ride on wet roads. With no end to the rain in sight, it seemed I had a back up bike. I ended up doing the 2013 SOTR 75 miler on a flat bar hybrid with standard flat pedals...in near constant rain.

     I mentioned rain is bad, but its really just another obstacle...something else to push past. Riding an unfamiliar bike would be an additional obstacle, but I was grateful to still have two tires to work so I could ride the course. The lack of aerodynamics on the hybrid would cost me a good chunk of speed, but I was interested to see just what I could do with it and compare it to prior years.

     I started off towards the back of the pack and just kinda stayed there. I had only done 40-45 mile training rides, so I was committed to a strategy of pacing myself conservatively anyways. I adjusted well to the hybrid and found that holding a moderate effort was yielding me about a 14-15 mph avg speed.

     Rather than break it down into segments like last year, I'm just going to say that the decent from Aid Station #3 near the radar station on the Blue Ridge Parkway down to the Peaks of Otter and then continuing down rt 43 into Bedford was incredibly chilly this year. The lower temps, the rain and the fog made for an awkward ride at times, but it wasn't anything I wasn't mentally prepared for, so I persevered and when I reached the bottom and Aid Station #4, the temps were warm enough and the rain had tapered off considerably, so I was able to finish the ride relatively comfortably.

     75 miles was a good distance to cover. I had done 100 last year and found the effort to be somewhat unrewarding after about 80 miles. Just doing 75 proved to be a good decision. I finished with minimal soreness, but still knew I had achieved a respectable workout.

     My total time ended up being 6 hrs and 34 minutes which represents an 11.7 mph avg pace, but that includes roughly 52 minutes spent snacking at the 5 Aid Stations. My Moving Time of 5 hours 42 minutes represents a 13.4 mph avg speed and all things considered I can be happy with my effort regardless of where the numbers fell. 

     My Garmin died about 6 miles from the finish, so some of the numbers are a bit fuzzy since I don't have an official Garminized distance. 76.6 miles seems to be in the ball park from what I've seen other Garmins record, so I'm using it. Besides it was a fun ride and the numbers are close enough, just not exact.



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