We made it!
Today Kirk, Brian, and I left Cleveland Park this morning around 7 AM and headed up for Caesars Head State Park. I'll tell you, I was a little apprehensive. I have climbed the route before, but after leaving from Slater-Marrietta which is much closer.
I ate a Power Bar and a bowl of cereal before leaving the house. I had my two Polar bottles and two smaller bottles full of water. I had the two smaller bottles stuck in my jersey along with two flasks of Hammer Gel (Raspberry) and my phone (in a plastic bag along with my license and debit card).
|Feel like climbing 2000+ feet in a distance of about 6 miles?|
What a beautiful day for a ride! When we started out it was 75 degrees. That early in the morning there was hardly any traffic. We just enjoyed the morning and looked forward to the climb.
As we came onto the Furman campus on our way, we ran into a kids tri there. I saw a couple of friends who must have had their children participating. From there it was pretty uneventful.
The one thing that brought some interest to our ride during the nearly 30 mile trip was the "virtual partner" on my Garmin. You can create courses and embed in them data about another rider - for instance the average speed. I had him set at 17.5 mph. We actually kept up with him pretty well. We ended up naming him Miguel Indurain. He kicked our butts for the whole course finishing well ahead of us.
Then it was time for the climb. I started off too hot (just like I normally do) and by the last two miles, I was slipping back from the Flinte brothers. I ended up finishing the climb in 46 minutes (about three minutes behind those guys). As you can see from the chart above, the incline winds up about 2000 feet in 6 miles. If that wasn't enough, there are portions with a 24% grade.
Of course, that makes it fun coming down! How great it felt to be rounding a curve and see those poor souls who were climbing where we had just suffered. How quickly you forget the pain when you are flying down that road.
Actually, by the time we got to the bottom I was feeling pain. My shoulders and neck were stiff. I am stilling dealing with the effects of the Thursday night crash. Coming downhill, I was tucked low with my neck bent so I could look for the next curve. I was hurting pretty bad. Even as I type this, I feel better but still have pain when I lift my right arm above my shoulder.
Coming back we were just wanting to get home! We stopped at least three times to get water or Gatorade. The temperature had risen to about 88 degrees, but more than that we were just bushed! About five miles out, I started cramping. Cleveland Park could not come too soon!
I made it! I almost felt like laughing, but that stopped as I found that when I went to push the accelerator on my car, my leg would cramp! I made it home and just laid down on the floor and my wonderful wife massaged my legs. I then got in the shower and just let the warm water work on my muscles.
I'll recover. However, I'm finding that it takes a little more time than it used to. I guess I'll have to start counting the cost of what will happen after I do another one of these types of rides.
For now, the pain and cramps start to fade in my memory and I just think, "I did it!"