Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cheaha Challenge

This was certainly a challenge. I rode the 102 miles with Richmond. It took me almost forever but I made it. That was the hardest thing I have ever done. We started off in a rainstorm. We were riding out from Piedmont with the spray flying up off the wheels. The soaking rain got into the shoes, clothes, socks, helmet, eyes, ears.... everywhere. It also wasn't that warm. The sun only came out in bursts. Each time we began a climb, the sun appeared. On each downhill, it clouded over. I think it was conflicted because it always rains on my rides and the sun beats down heavily on Richmond's rides. With us riding together, the weather never got on track.

The first steep climb up to Horse Block is an experience. Kinda like Bull Gap on steroids. 3 miles of steep climb with a final bonus of 18% grade. Then came the steep downhills. I got up to 50.3 mph on a downhill. Then the computer quit working. I guess it couldn't believe it! When we arrived at Adam's Gap, the half way point, I was pretty tired. The ride back out and over the mountains (17 miles) was long and my legs began to cramp. I could stand 1 leg cramping but when both hit, I had to take notice. The final 22 miles are "flat" compared to the rest. But a nice headwind made sure it wasn't a cakewalk. I was beat but did the last 22 miles on guts. When I crossed the finish, someone called out "congratulations". I felt mixed emotions about being proud of taking so long to finish, but I did feel proud. The SAGS were taking folks off the mountain in loads. But I did finish!