Better late than never...
The Fabulous 4th Bike Tour takes place every year on the 4th of July. The course is 67 miles long and starts/ ends at Harmon Field in Tryon NC.
This is a hilly ride and honestly, I didn't know how it's going to go down especially since I haven't done any serious hill rides since Mitchell.
With that being said, I was very happy, that my partner in riding crime (Stacy) was doing the ride to and we both had the same goals... Getting it done and taking it easy.... Fairly easy anyways.
To follow up on my comment from the other day... When I told Terry that Stacy and I are going to ride together and that it's going to be our first ride since Mitchell, he just said: "Finally, you and your bike wife are going to be reunited!" Hehe. And really, we spend as much time flapping our traps than we pedaled! ;-) Looks like we needed a couple of hours to catch up on stuff!
Got up and had some breakfast before heading out. I was kind of running late and got to Harmon Field with not a ton of time to spare. Picked up the package and ran into Stacy right away. They didn't have t-shirts for the events, but cycling socks... You won't hear me complain, I always appreciate when my extensive active apparel collection gets an addition that is not a white cotton t-shirt!
While lining up for the start, we also found another team mate Lou and Coach Katie... We talked a little and then the gun went off and that was the last I've seen from them! ;-)
The first 30 miles of the ride are on rolling hills around Tryon and Landrum and when I say rolling, I mean ROLLING. The type of stuff that is not a ton of climbing, but just slowly and surely fries your legs... up and down and up and down. Not my personal favorite. Fortunately, the first half of the ride was also cooler, but it heated up FAST. Just in time when it we started to hit the longer climbs after the 2nd water stop. But before we embarked on the second half of the course, I got stung by something and it stung the rest of the day... Awesome. I didn't have much of a reaction, but the stinging was highly uncomfortable.
Onto the second half of the course: There was Callahan Mountain and the Greenville watershed. While the watershed is one of my favorite climbs, Callahan Mountain is the hill, I am always afraid of. But before we got that far, we started some longer hills and actually on some roads that I rode a couple of days earlier on my way back from the lake. And it had gotten HOT! We stayed a little longer at the 3rd rest stop and fueled up. Right before we came to the turn with the water stop, I told Stacy that I have to stop and eat something, because I felt like I was running out of steam. I think, I stuffed around 600 calories in me within a couple of minutes and felt much better after that. Right in time for playing chicken on Hwy 11 for a couple of miles before turning on back roads again and climbing my dreaded Callahan... which once again wasn't all that bad, I should really stop making this thing bigger than it is.
Last big task was climbing the watershed and while the climb is always a climb, at least there is some shade. At the end of it, I was mentally done with the ride... Good thing, that the way back to Tryon was done the Saluda grade and mostly cruising! SWEET!
We got back to Harmon Fields and basically empty parking lots... Well, I guess I am kinda used to that kind of thing. But, they still had food and drinks for us and that's all we really can ask for... Oh... One more thing: They had an air conditioned indoor space to sit down and eat and after burning up all day, it just felt great.
This event is in it's 20 something year and it's organized very well. From what I heard, they ran out of food on some of the water stops last year especially for those in the back of the pack. I packed extra food because of that, but I didn't need it. There was plenty of food when I got through... They had water and gatorade, fig newtons, chocolate granola bars and fruit... plenty.
If it fits in the schedule next year, I think I'll be back.... Hills and all.