Tuesday, July 21, 2015


     My next time trial is November 7th, less than seven days after a three week European river cruise.  But my next race is the always brutal State Road Race at Fort Hood the last week-end in September.  In view of my lackluster showing in the time trial, I am trying to get more prepared for this event.  However, as I've often declared, my main focus is recreational cycling, so while I am bearing down, I'm not foregoing other pursuits.
     We just returned from a family (kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces, sister) get-together in Suches, Georgia.  I took my bike and re-acquainted myself with three of the six gaps of the strenuous Six Gap Century.  This is an annual thing, so I am very familiar with the roads.  Marilane and I arrive early and leave a day or two after everyone is gone, so I generally squeeze in a half dozen or more rides.  But not this year.
     Beginning at the beginning, this was to be my "down" year for racing.  My intention was to take it somewhat easy and be more intense next year.  I didn't intend to lose quite as much form.  For starters, the annual five pound winter gain turned out to be ten pounds.  The three month losing of the excess resulted in zero pounds lost.  The spring rains didn't help.  I was hoping to use Georgia as a springboard to returning to form.  I got rained out on crucial riding days there too.  Oh, I took my rain jacket and actually got caught several times.  Once I called my Uber driver (Marilane), since the rain was accompanied by thunder.  Remember, I'm not hard-core.
     Last year was the first time my highlight trip of riding up Brasstown Bald was skipped.  I missed it again this year.  I also missed Hogpen Gap.  These two climbs wring the best out of me and when I can make these ascents, I know my strength is good.  It isn't like I was totally bereft of rides.  The nine-miles of Neel's Gap, and the ever-popular Wolf Pen gap provided plenty of climbing.  A half-dozen rides were accomplished, just lacking the most challenging ones.
     Next up is the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls.  I've done this ride ten times, but the last one was in 2001.  I have my sights on a hundred miles, but the way things have been going, it may just be 100k.  Then comes a delightful trip to Colorado with Shannon Burke and Velo View.   That is my altitude training for the road race.  Following that is the river cruise, returning just in time for Gruene.  My partner, Dean, says it doesn't matter to him if I am cruising instead of training.  Dean was 2nd (10k) and 3rd (5k) at Nationals this year, so he can drag me around the course.  Then I let Shannon take me out to ride in the Big Bend.
     Next year is qualifying for Senior Games Nationals.  It is not a "down" year.