Headwinds and Hills

Saturday I completed my first solo unsupported century. Well my loving bride did drive an hour round trip to drop me at the start and another 5 hour round trip drive to pick me up at the end. I dedicate this ride to her and her support. The start was near Siler City, NC and the finish was 110 miles later in the parking lot near the top of Pilot Mountain. The gave me a north and west route on a day with a nice NW and W wind that I definitely noticed.

I was hoping to see the fall colors as seen above but the only orange and yellow I really saw was a house fire.

All that is left is the chimney and some plumbing you can’t really see in this picture. The fire engines were there but they were just making sure it didn’t spread. There was nothing to save.

The temperature and wind kept it pretty cool. I kept my jacket on for the first half and then switched to my 2 Mile Challenge arm warmers for the next 25 miles. I finished with just my jersey. At mile 102 I was getting a little cold on a downhill when I got my first glimpse of my goal between the trees.

Around here I also saw a church sign that said “Pray and Trust God”. I decide that was good advice in general and at this point in particular.

I had been saving myself for the final climb, but it had been a long day into the wind and my legs were starting to feel a little shaky. I turned on a GPS app on my iPhone for the final section (the battery will not last all day with the GPS on). It shows the last 6.5 miles climbed 2258 feet and took 56 minutes of riding over 63 minutes. I stopped several times on the climb to let my heart rate drop. It seemed like more than 7 minutes but I guess I got moving again fairly quickly each time. Even with a triple chain ring, it was steep enough that I had start across the road to get a little momentum before I turned uphill again. I alternated between pushing the cranks while seated to standing and back to seated. My back had felt good all day, but started to hurt during some of the standing on the climb.

I meant to get a picture at the top, but I was just glad to be done and see my wife. This was the biggest climb I have ever done. I would have loved to made it to the top without stopping, but after riding 105 miles mostly into the wind I was happy to just make it at all.