Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cold Weather, Bum Ankles, And Such...

Well, this week's riding has been limited to enjoying the Tour of California in between late evening appointments. I'm not sure I'll ever complain again about riding conditions after seeing the first couple of days of this year's TOC. Wet and rainy... A tip of the old helmet to all of them. Leipheimer's crossing of Lance's back wheel should be training video somewhere. The TV camera angle certainly presented it well. "Look kids, see what happens when you cross the back tire of the rider in front of you..."

I have had some time to ponder on potential new training routes for myself as I try to prep for my late spring - early summer goal of following the "Wood-Man" from Lake Junaluska through Rush Fork, over Betsy's Gap, out to Spring Creek, on to Del Rio, TN and ending at Cosby, TN. To prep for that near 75 mile ride, which would be a personal best in distance and probably other areas for me, I've laid out a 25 mile route that stays on this side of the Smoky Mountains. You can see it here: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2572658.

The ride starts at the I-40 truck stop where NC 209 intersects I40 (35.34.02 N, 82.57.27 W) and rides a loop across Rush Fork and back to I-40 at the White Oak/Fines Creek intersection (35.40.01 N, 82.59.40 W). From there, I hope to follow White Oak road back to US 276 and the intersection with Coleman Mountain Road. A climb over Coleman Mountain should deposit me back at the starting point. This looks to be approximately a 25 mile ride that includes some decent climbs. The first is a 2 mile ascent over Rush Fork, which according to my calculations has a grade of 6.5%. There is an additional grade of 8.5% to be climbed (approx. .75 mile)beginning at the White Oak Road bridge crossing the Pigeon River. After crossing over US 276 onto Coleman Mountain Road a climb of .70 mile with a grade of 7.5% leads to a long descent before the final climb back to the starting point.

This route is almost entirely rural two lane roads that should offer some great scenery and some breath taking interludes (yes, pun intended). I've ridden this a number of times on my Harley but never when relying on my own power. It should be interesting...

Until later,

-- Zeke
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