Not sure what happened yesterday, I had gotten things in order to do Paris repeats and thought I was ready for an afternoon of riding. Driving towards my normal parking spot I was feeling a bit tired from the day, but I’ve been used to the afternoon grogginess and have always been able to shake it off with a warm-up spin on the Rabbit.
Once I was on the “hill” near Furman I began to have my doubts. By this point I thought that maybe an after lunch coffee could have been useful.
Reaching Altamont, I started the climb in normal fashion for repeats – find a cadence, don’t go too hard and settle in. Except there was no settling in – the the further up I went, the more it felt like my fourth time up the mountain. Struggling up some pitches, I had to stand where I normally could stay seated. I pushed through the final grade to the top and finished the climb as a total mess, in just over 19 minutes. Normally, I could get this first climb under 18 minutes and still have plenty for three more. I knew I had to have a plan B.
I pulled the plug on the repeats plan and descended back to the Furman side. Taking a break in the “parking area” at the base of Altamont I was welcomed by another surprise – a flat!
At least this didn’t happen on the descent … looks like I picked up some glass somewhere. Why do people treat the roadside as a trash can, and on top of that throwing glass bottles on the road?
Thankfully I have a Boy Scout approved bike tool kit (always be prepared) and started in on the repair. This time instead of replacing the tube, I thought I’d try out some new adhesive Park Tool patches (always have a backup plan), while only dismounting the portion of the tube that had the puncture. This all went surprisingly well, the stairs to the old building at the lot had a handrail that (barely) served as a workstand, and I was able to find the tube puncture despite all the traffic noise.
Once it was all together, all I had to do was pump up and go. Oh yeah – I don’t carry a floor pump with me. Here we go frame pump, it’s just you and me for awhile …
Just when I was getting in the dumps again about having to limp back to the car with a partially inflated tire, a car rolls up. None other than Boyd Johnson (didn’t I see you last week?). He hops out and produces a mack-daddy floor pump, gets my tire pressure good to go and then all my excuses for pulling the plug on today’s ride disappear. On his way back to the car, Boyd says “Have a fun ride!”
… Have a fun ride? If this is fun I don’t want anymore! I wanted to bag the top of Paris four times and head back with another day of significant elevation gain and continue with my training for the Big Mountain. Have a fun ride?
Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Time to make some lemonade.
I knew I had no afterburners for any kind of strong effort, but I could keep moving at about a tempo heart rate pace. A couple weeks earlier I had mapped out a route around TR, combining roads I had wanted to re-visit since Cycle to Farm 2014 and others I wanted to explore. In the back of my mind it was sort of a “bail out from Paris Mountain” type of ride. Looks like this was the time.
First up was Tubbs Mountain Road:
There is one spot where you get a nice view of the mountain escarpment in the distance:
Next to White Horse Rd (not US 25 but the other one) and Belvue – a sign I always like to see:
Crossing over US25 and a couple more turns heading south and I discover this place – Bunched Arrowhead Heritage Preserve. 178 acres of DNR land set aside as a preserve, very close to Greenville and yet I never new this place existed:
I also found that part of my chosen route was also marked for Meals on Wheels, MS and Miracle Hill. A little bit of a mental boost as I made my way up some of the hills.
Next up I crossed over State Park Road and finally had the chance to get my bicycle out on Little Texas Rd. I have been on this many times via motorcycle and car – but it’s at the (slower) speed of a road bike that you can really take in the views. This could be somewhere in western NC (or up near the Watershed) but you’re just next door to Greenville!
And since I didn’t get a photo of Double Blessing Farm during the Cycle to Farm event, I caught one this time around:
This brought me right back to the “scene of the flat” at the base of Altamont – really feeling sluggish I made my way back to the Rabbit and to my car at Bike Street. About 33 miles, but with that “I just rode a metric” feeling. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure what was going on. Maybe it had nothing to do with training fatigue (I had 4 days off and have come back from a ride like the Fabulous 4th just fine before) – but it has been a tough week at work and I do recall my body “suggesting” that I get more sleep. Maybe it is as simple as that. Early to bed this time.
Today is another scheduled ride, where I had hoped to combine the (planned) climbing mileage of yesterday into a subsequent country ride for about 70 miles total. Scratch that. If the weather cooperates, it’s an easy spin on the Swamp Rabbit and maybe some window shopping in TR. If I get rained out, there is always indoor spin at the gym 🙂