This recap of the weekend's ride will have to be brief as I need to get back to grading.
Anyway, I underestimated the difficulty of Saturday's ride. Since we rode almost 50 miles on the first Blue Ridge ride, I figured this ride (despite the fact that it was a different route) would be about equal in terms of effort.
The first 20 miles was a repeat of two other rides - a fairly long descent followed by a steady climb on the way back. I should've stopped with Shawn, Kate O and Derek to gather some nourishment from the wild blackberries. I definitely needed every calorie by the end of our ride.
After a brief stop, we headed out on the next part of the ride - a 30 miler (out and back). It did seem like we were doing a lot of descending, although there were some climbs mixed in. The road seemed to be in better condition than the first part of the ride, so I began to relax more on the downhills. If I had to hit the breaks, I tried to make it as brief as possible.
We regrouped at mile marker 38 for the long, slow climb home. A huge shout out to new Blue Ridge rider Lisa - she had to deal with a major cleat issue that made it impossible for her to clip out (hence - a wipe out). After that, eyewitness reports stated that her whole shoe separated from her cleat. Essentially, she had to ride the rest of the way almost one-legged.
And I thought my legs were tired!
For the first time in my brief cycling history, I actually found myself hoping for a downhill. Yes - I really was looking for a little help from gravity to get me back home. Despite my fatigue, my increasing comfort level with descents left me feeling kinda happy. I still don't bomb down the hills with the reckless abandon of...Karen...or Ed...or Liz, but it's a step for me. I do believe it was Coach Blake who told me that he learned to ride downhills from time spent on the Blue Ridge. As always, believe Coach B. He is right - darn him.
On a side note, Cyndi, Derek and I did spot some wildlife on our trip. We did not see any goats (sorry Shawn) or bears (sorry Fave), but we did see the craziest looking turkey. Those birds are not graceful. And in our kind & gentle way, we laughed our heads off at the sight of the spazz bird.
Apparently, Mother Nature didn't appreciate that - as we found ourselves parked right next to an active and aggressive bee hive. Both Kate O and Coach Ed were the victims of angry bees.
Moral of the story: Respect the hills...and the turkeys