Friday, March 20, 2009

Best bike ride EVER!

Not that the "Tour De Taverns" wasn't awesome, but the ride that I did this week solidified our reasons for moving to the south...

It was a beautiful cool crisp sunny spring morning on Wednesday. We met at the Trek bike shop (Andy's shop) at 2 North Shore on Manufacturer's Row at 8:45 am. Andy had just finished putting my road bike together. BTW...I finally named her! The Felt AC1 is now named Beatrice. :) Anyway, back to business...there was a group of about 7 of us. Pretty good for a middle of the week ride.

I was really nervous. This was my first time on a road bike/tri bike on the road since Ironman (way back in November). The first ride of the season is always a little trepidatious for me. Over the winter I have forgotten how to steer, worried about turning, finding my balance, etc. For those of you not familiar with the "first ride of the season" jitters, sitting on a stationary bike all winter does not hone your bike handling skills. If anything, it hinders them.

We headed out of town through down town Chattanooga heading south. Riding through downtown at 9 am was interesting. Lots of traffic and new terrain. I got over the jitters pretty quick. I jumped onto someones wheel and we were off! We did about 70 miles, 2 states, and 1 mountain. I am pretty stoked about that for my first ride.

It was a beautiful ride. I had never seen back country like that. Georgia is gorgeous! Not sure I want to live there...lots of meth labs on our route ;-) but it is an awesome bike ride. We were chased by only a couple dogs. The worst dogs on the route were the little dogs. Man those Georgia pups are fast and M-E-A-N. We skirted around Look Out Mountain and Sand Mountain and headed straight up Raccoon Mountain in Tennessee. Andy and I have driven up Raccoon Mountain to go mountain biking at the top, but I have not had the opportunity to ride up the mountain. Andy and the group reassured me I would be fine and we would all regroup at the top. At this point I think we were about 50 miles into our ride. Climbing a mountain on tired legs is interesting to say the least. At the base Andy told me we were going to be climbing for 20 minutes straight. I thought he was kidding until we were about 5 minutes into the climb. He was NOT kidding. It really did take that long! Holy crap. I climbed a mountain on my bike. When we got to the top I felt like a million bucks (on the inside), physically--I felt like hamburger.

I discovered why climbing a mountain on your bike is so much fun...the decent is killer! It was so much fun coasting down. I didn't have a computer on my bike, which I am glad for. If I knew how fast we were going, I might have tapped my brakes more. :) Andy said later we were going over 45 mph at times. I have only done that once in Madison. I went 47 mph on a down hill on the IM course. Keep in mind that was for less than 1 minute and during my training season. This was much longer of a decent and my first ride of the season. Very exhilarating.

All in all, a great ride. I took Thursday off from training and am glad for it. My hamstrings were really tight going into the ride (from Yoga and running) and now they have loosened up. I am sore in areas I wasn't before and am ready to really start MIM training. May be a little too late, but who cares? If I get to ride courses like the one I just did, I will be happy with anything I accomplish in Memphis.

Take care all, Heather

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