Thursday, April 24, 2008

Virginia Training Camp - Day 1

76.0mi, 11,790ft vert, 4:54hrs
It's late, so brief report. Mark, Brett and I hit a lengthy portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) as an out and back to start our ride today. We went out to Irish Gap from Reids gap, then back to Tye River Gap for a marvelous descent through Montebello to pick up Cub River Rd over Ramsey Gap. Ramsey is gravel, it had just been graded, and was pure torture for three miles. It was loose as marbles, maybe worse than the Battenkill climbs this year. I was sure I would walk the last bit to the summit, but all three of us cleaned it. The descent to the final climb of the day was paved. This was the infamous Wintergreen climb. The local club runs USCF time-trials up this beast. From Rt 151, the summit is gained in nearly 3000ft of vertical. It is steep. I did not bring nearly low enough gears for these hills. I'm using the Dean still set up for the Battenkill race with 42t x 27t min gear. Some of these climbs contain 17% max grades or 14% for two miles.

Weather was warm, 80F+ in the valleys, significantly cooler on the ridgeline. Felt about four drops when we passed under a dark cloud. Roads stayed dry.

Had one mechanical. Coming down from Montebello, I could not keep rear derailleur from skipping around. Multiple adjustments did not remedy the problem. This could mean only one thing - failing cable. Sure enough, I had TWO strands left at the derailleur cable clamp! I brought spare cable in tool box, but not on ride. I was screwed with 4000ft of climbing to go, or so I thought. Mark Luzio carries a spare Campy cable which worked with my Shimano setup and saved my life.

The last climb up Wintergreen killed us. As we turned into the resort access road, first Mark bailed, then Brett bailed, leaving me to summit solo. I had known about this climb for many years, and I was not going to let potentially my only opportunity to ride it slip away. I reached high point. I could not find where to get water up there and ended up asking at a nature center of some sort. The gave me a free bottle of water and I supplemented that with a Mountain Dew from a machine in the back room. I was good to go to finish the ride. It wasn't all down hill. I still had to climb 800ft of Reids Gap with some heinous grades to cross the BRP and descend other side to our cabin. Ride was epic, scenery awesome. Starting to look like summer in the valleys but still early spring on the ridgelines.

Yeah, Baby!


Glen F said...

I wish I was there. It's on my list of places to go, sometime. Have fun.

solobreak said...

Nothing like taking it "easy" on the first day, huh?