Two of the Ramblers made it to Pilot Mt to ride the 2008 edition of 3 Mountain Madness (aka 3 Mountain Metric). Red and Chum lined up, and Red would like everyone to know that he was in front of Chum for a good 30, er, meters or so. The peleton quickly splintered, and it was each Rambler for himself.
Red was sure it was going to start raining — maybe even thunderstorm. Climbing Sauratown, riders made it into the clouds. Red missed the better photo op by not getting in the road sign which read “Road Ends 500ft” — that would’ve been cool, but shoot, he was climbing a mountain at the same time. How’s he supposed to do that and get the stupid phone out of his middle-back jersey pocket, out of the zip lock bag he put it in to keep it dry, and turn on, and…. You get the picture. It’s still a cool photo.
Anyway, Red worked a little harder than he was expecting to stay in contact with some riders. Thankfully they had a tail/crosswind most of this leg. Sauratown and Hanging Rock at this stage in the ride are not too awful bad. (Granted, they’re awful bad in Feb-Mar, but Red’s had some training.) And in this ride, the climbs are early enough that your legs are still a little fresh — that changes though.
Everything was a-okay through the ascent and descent of Hanging Rock, but Red was worried. Why, you ask? Cause he knew that Pilot Mountain was coming up, and he knew he had about 30 miles of headwind to contend with. What did he need? Yep, he needed a train. Luckily he hooked onto a group of Velo-Project-Fitness Center-High Point-Greensboro-Paceline types. And who was leading this train? For a good part it was Greg Kerr of Channel 2 Sports. In his blog, he notes his concern as to whether he’d make it okay. He did great. And I am so thankful for that train to Pilot Mountain. The headwind, had I had to face it alone, would’ve taken as much of a toll as a fourth mountain.
And so, there’s last but definitely not lease, Pilot Mt. I ride Pilot Mt once a year — this ride. Each time I do, I realize why I only do it once: steep and hot. By this time, the sun had come out and combined with the humidity, it was August-hot. Pilot averages 10%, which on its own and with fresh legs wouldn’t be too bad, but that’s not the case here. In particular there’s one nasty switchback where the grade is over 15% — I gotta believe. Unfortunately, that switchback comes after a switchback which looks much the same but is not as steep. You forget this cruel trick and think you’ve dodged a bullet, but the mountain shoots you down. At any rate, after about 45 minutes Red made it to the top and back down. He can’t say how grateful he is when that climb is over.
The ride’s last ten miles was marked by a good tailwind — so Red was flyin back. Thinking he had a best time, he tried to bury himself, but when all was said and done, Red did it in about the same time as he’s always done it. Well, what can you say? He did it didn’t he?
Red guesses some of you’ll be doing Ride Across Wilkes this weekend, or better yet, joining Chum and the Good Dr. for a little Assault on Mt Mitchell. Looks to be hot and steamy next Monday, so you boys and girls be sure to drink a lot.
Red’ll be layin low for the next couple of weeks, but then he’ll jump back in at Blood, Sweat, and Gears. See out there.