Sunday, January 19, 2014

Back at it

After a few days of taking it easy on my leg, I had a long ride scheduled for Saturday. I decided to go all in and test the leg out by hitting some hilly areas in Madison county. I posted ride details and in the end, Joe and Ron showed up for a 9 AM start. It was 34F, and the forecast was calling for an alberta clipper to come through, dump a couple inches of snow and crank the NW winds up to 30MPH or so. Since my route took us west to start, south for some hills and then a couple of miles back north for the return leg east, this had the makings of a tough day.

We rolled a mile or so north and then headed west into the wind. The rollers on 105th and the headwinds made us work. About an hour in, we stopped for a quick bio break. While we were stoppped, we were greeted by a very friendly farm dog. He sprinted from his spot on the porch as soon as Joe and I stopped. I think he was just happy to see someone.

As we continued to ride west, gravel dog ran in front of, behind, and between the three of us. Despite his friendly nature, I was still nervous as he sprinted up behind my calf. Left over fears from TIV9 that I need to overcome. Not too long afterwards, we turned south and enjoyed a bit of tailwind as we headed to the meat of the ride, which was a couple of laps of a hilly area near the north river valley. We hit Cemetery Hill, a little .3 mile hill at an 8% average grade, and Joe sprinted off the front. At the top, both he and Ron though we were done with the climbs. That's when I informed them that I planned on doing a couple of laps in this area. We dropped down into the river valley onto North River Trail, and then turned north to finish the loop. As we topped Cemetery Hill for a second time, I was beginning to rethink my plan, but then saw that Joe had started the descent. I rolled downhill to him and we started the second loop. Near the end, I had Joe veer back east so we could continue north on North River Trail and hit a longer shallower climb. About half-way through, we were hit with a two to three minute blast of heavy wind and thick sleet. It looked like rice was falling from the sky as I watched Joe climbing ahead of me. As we headed back north and started our "back" portion of our out and back, we could hear and feel the wind picking up. I was happy that we only had a couple of miles to fight it before we headed back east to Cumming. The trip back was easier, but still hilly, with lots of small rollers putting the last bit of burn into our legs. After we got back to our vehicles, we dropped into The Cumming Tap for a cold beverage then headed home. My leg is finally feeling normal. No residual tightness or aching after the ride, so I'm ready to get "back on the plan" this next week. 

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