The weekend started with a 4am alarm clock buzzer. The night before I packed all my gear, and prepared myself for a 32 mile trail run, and a 70 mile bike ride the next day. I met up with Tito and Jim at 5am, and racked up the bikes on the car and took off. We were on the trail by 8am. We started the run at the Big East Fork trailhead which has a 4,000 climb in 4 miles. Then we hung a left on the Art Leob and took it all the way to the Davidson River Campgrounds. I finished in 8 ½ hours. My strategy was to conserve some energy for the next days bike ride, and this was not just any old ride.
That night we camped out in the Davidson River Campgrounds. We had a small campfire going, and the night became cold. A bit tired from the run, I decided to sleep early.
The next morning we had breakfast in Brevard at Julies. These calories would be very much needed for the next hours to come. I met with eight other cyclists that all were experienced. I just bought me bike last month, and have ridden around the neighborhood a few time, nothing more. I knew that this ride would be difficult for me, but I never expected what was about to come.
Within the first 20 minutes, I was riding in the back of the pack. We were heading north on 276 from the campgrounds. It was uphill for the next 14 miles, and the grade was fairly steep. Just before reaching the parkway I felt like my legs were about to explode. I kept pumping. The group was waiting for me at the intersection of 276 and parkway, they knew this was my first ride and cheered me on.
I downed a gel, slammed some water, and got right back on the bike. This next section was all downhill. What a reward, after climbing like an animal I was rewarded with a fast downhill. I reached speeds exceeding 40 miles per hour, which might not seem to be a lot, but it was fast. We then hung a left on 215 which was another big climb, just as big as the first one. I just focused on pumping my legs, and thinking about the downhill getting ready to come. Every corner I turned I thought for sure the parkway would be there and I would find a bunch of riders waiting for me. For five miles I kept thinking I’m right there, I was going crazy. My muscles in my legs were trashed from the run the previous day, and all the climbing thus far. The thought of turning around started to surface. If I turned around now, I would have to climb more than if I just kept going. Finally, after 19 miles on 215 I reached the parkway. What a relief. I knew that the parkway would be rolling hills. When I got onto the parkway, I had a small climb, which followed an awesome downhill. This is were I started coasting at around 45 miles per hour. I found myself in the middle of a Harley Davidson crew of motorcyclist as I matched their pace going downhill. One of the riders leaned over and said your going 34 miles per hour and was amazed at how someone on a road bike was going as fast as he was. I was amazed. The parkway was up and down, and then finally 276 appeared again, and I took that down all the way to the campgrounds. Elevation gain was 6,000 feet, and exact mileage was 71.45 Miles.
This bike ride was a challenge.
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