|Proud of my accomplishment and my legs for that day!|
Overall, I finished 12th. In my age group (18-24) I finished 2nd. My legs found a rhythm on those climbs like I hadn't seen since the Morgantown Road Race and Penn State at the Nittany Cycling Classic. Those were climber's races and this was no different, except that people I was passing on the climbs gave me words of encouragement to keep pushing on and keep driving for strong finishes on each ascent. I either thanked people or tried to pop a joke to spring a smile while we ticked away to the finish.
|Here's my Alpine Loop. (Missed turn much? Though, I wasn't the only one.)|
My Strava profile from the ride (my first "epic") indicates how well I felt going up each of those climbs. I didn't know what to expect beyond suffering. The climbs seemed to keep going, and not knowing how far they went after the next turn or what it would feel like climb a dirt/gravel/mud ascent with a difficult average gradient could be construed as a significant disadvantage. Yet, my legs just didn't seem to mind as they slotted into a rhythm and pumped away. Even between the major ascents and descents, I was feeling strong and able. At different points I helped drive a high pace with other riders and even rode away from and passed groups out on the road driving to the finish. I was in a rhythm and did not want to wait any longer than I had to to get across that finish line.
I was careful to keep eating my Nutri-Grain and Cliff bars between rest stops as well as my bottles topped off with liquids throughout the ride. Those rest stops were great to have as fully-stocked, calorie and endurance specific refueling stations for everyone. Experience told me to make sure I left Bryan's car with enough in my pocket to fend for myself against the distance and grueling unknown. Bryan, of course was my ride, and I want to toss full props to him for lugging me back and forth with full participation in the loop; encouraging me to do it in the first place. We both really enjoyed the day and I will say we are looking forward to next year's event. Though neither of us paid too much attention to the "King Of the Mountains"(KOM) competition in preparation for the ride, we now are looking forward to putting our best legs forward in those two sections next year. I will also make sure I don't miss a turn mid-way through the ride either as Bryan and I both missed turns and added to our loop accordingly, though not at the same time.
|Doing my best to finish strong after a long dirty climb. (soleport flickr)|
Mid Atlantic Timing results show the overall times and where the results lie (missed turns not factored).
I only wish I could train like this all the time (or for races of this nature)... I really could get used to it. Thanks for reading.