Monday, June 25, 2012

Paris Mtn Sprinternational Bike Course Preview

Sometimes, the best laid plans fail. Good thing, that there is always option B... and option C is maybe a good idea as well.

So the original plan was to hit the Paris Mountain trails for a little off road action. After my complaints from last week, that I don't have a trail running buddy, Lindsay offered to join me. Unfortunately, we were not aware that the state park would not open until 8am and we stood in front of the locked gate at 6.30am. Option B was to head over to the Swampy and knock 4 miles out there... Run and done. Can't even remember the last time I ran with somebody, so that was definitely fun!

The original plan also consisted of the idea, to head out and do the Paris Mtn Sprinternal bike course, right after completing the run. But since the trail run didn't happen, I headed back home and got changed there and rode to the course from the house.

I intended to ride the course twice, but Coach Katie mentioned that the route can get pretty busy, so I wanted to keep the option of doing a complete second loop open.

As I mentioned above, I rode from the house and it's about two miles to the bottom of Altamont on the Furman side, where I would pick up the course. In the race, you don't hit this climb until mile 11, about half way through. Since I just started riding and was planning on doing the climb twice anyways, I took the first ascent fairly easy... If you can ever call a climb up Paris easy.

Paris Mtn Sprinternational Bike Course
 Within the first mile of the climb, I could see three riders a little up the road and while I wanted to take it "easy", if you see a rabbit, you might as well chase it. It took me a while to finally catch up with them and pass, only to drop my water bottle one minute later, having to stop and being passed by them and then the chase started all over. I caught two of them, but the third guy made it up Paris before me...Dang! First ascent in the books with 19m 44s.... I am happy with anything under 20 minutes on this climb.

I didn't take a break at the top, just kept on rolling... Boy, do I suck at descending. I think for me it's probably going to be more important to practice that descend, because you can lose a ton of time and it's basically for free, especially when you about killed yourself getting up the mountain. During this first descent, I also decided that I am going to use the road bike for that race. The roadie (I used the road bike on Saturday's ride) just corners better and the whole course is either up or down, so really not a lot of opportunities to utilize the aero bars.

So the next section I rode today would actually be the first 11 miles of the bike leg and it's no fun... And yes, the traffic was rough and made me rethink my decision to ride this thing twice. On top of an already difficult course, I made my life even harder by turning on "Little Texas" early and catch the climbs on that road as well. Good job, Kat. Quite honestly, I was pretty over the ride, by the time, I approached the Paris climb for the second time.

I was already tired and it had gotten really hot in the meantime... There were no rabbits anywhere, but funny enough, the climb didn't feel harder to me than the first time around. I hit the lap button at 19m 24s on the second ascent... goody goody.... Unfortunately, I descended even slower the second time around... Practice, practice and more practice.

Instead of completing the whole loop a second time, I opted to find an alternative route back to the house, to avoid some of the traffice and quite honestly, more of those hills. But I still wanted to hit my total of 40 miles for the day, so I hit up the Swampy for the second time, but this time on the bike. At this point, it must have been close to 11am and the trail was packed!!! No way to go fast with so many people around, but I was toast anyways, so I pedaled up to Travelers Rest on the trail and the looped back home on the road.

Bottom line: I am glad that I took the time to ride the course in advance, but it's not going to become a regular thing. Traffic on Mtn Creek Rd and State Park Rd is just way too heavy. I am certainly planning on putting Paris on the calendar more often and not only work on the climb, but really try to improve my descending skills as well.

1 comment:

  1. I will run trails (legally!) anytime :) Hopefully the shade will keep us somewhat cool for future 8am runs.

    Is it safe to run from your house to altamont? (the roads) this morning I got a wild notion to do training runs up those roads for the PM20k road race in the fall, haha.