TAT CN Header

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Good news/bad news

The bad news which, to be fair, isn't really bad news unless you're superstitious. You see, I've had some really good rides lately, which means I'm due for a bad one just in time for Cedar Cross. That would be a real disappointment because a) it's Cedar Cross!! and b) it's probably going to be my longest pre-Dirty Kanza ride.  On the other hand, if it's just the kind of bad that ends my day early, I'd have more time hanging out at the finish line with awesome people and getting to see the leaders finish, which never happens. In fact, by the time I finish, usually a lot of people are gone. So even the (potential) bad news isn't terrible.

Source

The good news? Wow, do I feel good on a bike these days! Tour of Hermann was encouraging, and I had a great hilly 68-mile ride Sunday.  I'd planned to do a 3-hour mountain bike race followed up by 40 miles of gravel, but Mother Nature had different ideas and the race was rescheduled. Thankfully, I have flexible friends who worked around my last-minute change of plans. I met up with some of the Momentum crew at the lovely hour of 9 a.m.

1463160_10152926140757017_1693932765469063077_n
Rolling down the Katy Trail
We started out on the nice, flat Katy Trail until we turned off on Terry Rd and rode up up up after a quick regroup there so Joe, who'd stopped in Defiance to refill his water bottles, could catch back up. Melanie and Doug, who'd started at 7 and had about 16 miles on us, decided to ride on in case the hill took them a while.

I, despite knowing the hill would take me a while, opted to wait for the other guys and was, unsurprisingly, the last one to the top.  Mickey rode back looking for me, but I wasn't as far back as usual.  When we reached the rest of the group, he just kept riding.  OK...I thought to myself, I guess I don't get a break... 

11156215_10152926140872017_4679400792839256809_n
Finished summitting Duke and Terry Roads
Joe, who'd ridden from home and had quite a few miles in already, turned off after this section, and the rest of us headed through Defiance to Callaway Fork Rd.  I'd ridden this road a couple of times before, once last year and once on New Year's Day, and the first low-water crossing always makes me nervous.

Untitled
Success back in January
While I successfully navigated the icy, algae-covered slab back on our New Year's ride, I wasn't so lucky this time. With a higher water and lower confidence, I made it about halfway across before my wheels slipped out from under me and I was suddenly lying in the water. The best thing about my pitifully slow reaction time is that I never have time to throw an arm out to catch myself, thus protecting my collarbone from injury.

As I got up, Melanie warned me that my water bottle had slipped the cage and was floating away. Before I could grab for it, I fell again on the slippery crossing, then waded in knee-deep water to retrieve the bottle from the creek. My hip and hand hurt where I'd landed on them, but all I could do was laugh at the Keystone Cops show I was putting on.  While trying to help me, Melanie also fell, so we were both soaked and shivering in the 50* morning air.

"Get back on that horse and ride..." Hitting my first low-water crossing after wiping out in one just a few minutes earlier. #momentumracing #tothelimit #cyclingstateofmind #dk200training #scexperts #ridinggravel
Entering the crossing with some trepidation before realizing it was (safe) loose rock instead of a slippery slab.
Once that drama was over, we continued up Callaway Fork Rd, encountering a few more low-water crossings on our way. I think we were both a little nervous as we approached them, but the remainder of the road was far less eventful than the first crossing.  Still, I was really happy to learn that our route wouldn't take us back that way. I had no desire to attempt the crossing again, on foot or on two wheels; in fact, I probably would have waded across the creek rather than the slippery bridge.

11164818_10152926144252017_4925410068922474431_n
Callaway Fork Rd. is really pretty
Once at the top of Callaway Fork, we had about 6 miles of highway riding. My lack of comfort in a paceline was evident as I had a hard time maintaining a close enough distance to benefit from drafting. Despite the larger amount of traffic we encountered, every single car passed carefully, giving us wide berth, something that was the rule for the day.

11188487_10152926144412017_3826898329887280631_n
Abandoned bridges are cool.
After checking out an abandoned bridge on the way, we rode towards Femme Osage Ridge Rd. When we rode here in January, I had to walk pretty early on the hill. Not this time!

11193295_10152926144667017_1778764421557323033_n
At the top of the worst part of Femme Osage Ridge Rd.
Once you summit the steepest part of Femme Osage Ridge Rd, it proceeds to kick you when you're down with several more climbs before you emerge onto flattish gravel.  We turned from that back onto pavement. Mickey and Shaun were ahead while Doug, Melanie, and I chatted a little further back. Seeing the other two in the distance, I decided to see if I could catch them. It took probably 10 minutes and some seriously hard work, but I finally chased them down, much to their surprise.

We absolutely flew down Osage Ridge Rd, where I hit my new fastest speed on a bike -- 47.9 mph!! -- and were soon back on the Katy Trail and headed for lunch at the Augusta Brewery. Happily spying the Augusta smokestacks in the distance and enjoying the knowledge that I'd be eating in just a few flat miles, I was most unhappy when Mickey led us off the trail for some unnecessary hills; I actually waited to start until he was halfway up because I thought he was just messing with us. But no.

11070626_10152926145042017_1981596268885895192_n
This hill is pretty short but much steeper than it looks, hence the pained expression on my face.
From here, we cruised down into Augusta, making a quick stop for people who needed to refill their bottles. I'd brought two on my bike plus one in my jersey, and between the cool morning temperatures and the faster pace (which made it harder for me to grab a bottle) I still had about half of my water left. As much as I'd like to do without a camelbak at Dirty Kanza, I'm going to have to really focus on staying on top of hydration without one.
11182211_10152926145142017_3084984332122187406_n
Gatorade stop in Augusta
 We had a nice lunch in Augusta (though I did regret skipping my normal pulled pork in favor of a kind of dried out tenderloin kebab) until Mickey mentioned riding up into Klondike Park just to add in another hill. I'd had a pretty good day, but I was pretty much over hills, so Melanie and I decided to mutiny and just soft pedal along the Katy Trail until the boys caught up.

We rode back to the Hamburg Trail and then back up the hill towards the Mound. We'd all been relatively close until the uphill started, and when Doug and I reached the top Mickey and Shaun were out of my sight.  "Those guys really dropped the hammer, huh?" I remarked before deciding to see if I could chase them down again. I got close (it's easier to race when the other people don't know they're racing) but ran out of trail, reaching the parking lot about 20 seconds after the guys. My disappointment was eased by going home and seeing that I'd just ridden my fastest time on that segment...at the end of a hilly 68 miles.

Of course, I can't help but measure our ride against Dirty Kanza, so I have to note that our mileage would place us just past the first crewed checkpoint of the race, or just over 1/3 of the way finished.  Put another way, at 68 miles into Cedar Cross I'll still have close to 50 miles left to go. Somehow right now it's more exciting than scary to see how that plays out Saturday.

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like you're ready for DK. Maybe go out and have a bad ride so you can d well at Cedar Cross?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Look at you, speedy! Almost 50 mph is crazy! All that falling in the creek sounds right up my ally though!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Glad that the good news are always here!
    You are ready for the Dirty Kanza.
    The photos where you bike across the water are priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Falling in the creek sounds so not fun! You have a high low comfort level if that makes sense. I ride on flattish roads and get tired. You are riding on such high terrain such long distances! Yay you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Girl you just never cease to amaze me. All the miles and all the different terrain. You are fearless!! I hope you don't end up with a bad race....I'm betting you don't!

    ReplyDelete