Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

13' 16"

I'm starting to like putting these number titles on my blog! It means I have broken a new personal record. In the same week I set a new record for Cleveland Park, I set another one on Paris Mountain.

Tonight was to be the last Thursday night get together for the guys who ride out from Sunshine Cycle Shop. It is kind of like breaking up with that beautiful girl. You know it is dangerous, but you just can't help yourself. My guess we'll be out there next week taking a shorter route with our flashers going.

This ride started out pretty well. The regulars were there - Mike, John, Art, Matt, and myself. We were joined by Jay Mappus - he is the editor of the Greenville Spinners newsletter, the Yarn Spinner. Also on board was Jimmy Helms and his son Stradford. You might have come across Strad in the latest issue of Go Magazine. He is listed as one of the up-and-coming junior racers.

Before we headed out, Jay took a picture of us for the newsletter. I have a funny feeling I won't be in the picture. He wasn't able to get the whole group in the shot. I typically get cut out of such things. It is best for the picture!

We rolled off and really it was uneventful. Art and I got a chance to catch up on the doping news and there was the normal warm up talk going on. We were joined along the way by a father and son that ride with us sometimes. I need to get their names. The dad is one big dude - and I don't mean fat - and his son is probably 11 or 12 years old.

The weather was great and I was feeling really good. We followed our normal route to the base of Altamont Road on the Furman side and then it was time to climb. Stradford was in the lead, then John, the young guy, and then I followed.

Strad was starting to check out right off the start. The next three of us stayed together for a bit, but the little guy started to back off and John built a gap. A car was coming, so I was stuck. Once the car passed, I went around and worked to close the gap up to John.

10 mph. I kept looking down and seeing double digits on my speed. "Hey, I'm feeling good and my speed is holding up. This could be a good night!" I started trying to find a rhythm for my breathing. I bet John thought I was having some type of asthma attack!

Right at the end of the first sustained climb that I hate, John moved over to let me go by. Then it was only Stradford ahead of me. At some points, it actually looked like I might be gaining on him -- yeah, right! Still for the first third of the climb, I was able to see him around the next bend.

Then, as is often the case, I was on my own. I couldn't see anyone ahead or behind. It stayed this way through the middle section. During this section I couldn't believe it as I would look down and see speeds up to 12 mph. Unfortunately, I also was starting to feel things go away.

By the time I hit the last third, my speeds dropped. Now I was looking down and seeing 7 and 8 mph. Even worse, I looked behind me and there was Art! Doggone it! It was like a bad dream. Of course, the last time I was able to hold him off. This time I knew it as soon as I saw him, it was over.

He finally caught me and we shifted back and forth for a few yards. He got on my wheel then edged up. I tried my best to ride with him until we got to "the wall." At that point, I watched him calmly shift into a harder ring, stand up, and then so smoothly ride away.

I shifted, stood up, and not so smoothly followed. I finally stopped looking at Art and just tried to suffer my way up. I didn't quit and kept pushing the whole way. I was rewarded with my best time ever up the mountain - 13 minutes and 16 seconds. Art had made it in 10 seconds less.

Of course, young Mr. Helms was waiting for us with a time of 11' 53" - that will keep you in your place! Still, I know I'm not a racer. I really have one goal - beat my last time. I was very pleased to finish with a 10 mph average up the climb. Breaking 13' is doable.

On the way back, I really had fun. At the bottom of the mountain, John wanted to compare our seat heights and take a look at my bike. He let me ride his Specialized Tarmac back to the shop! Oh my goodness... I noticed the weight difference immediately. The next thing I noticed was just how smooth and yet responsive it was.

I attacked a couple of shallow hills and it just ate them up. After riding my Allez, it was really like not riding a bike. I was just floating above the ground. Must resist... must not... succumb...



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