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My what big hills you have (a ride report)(long)...(5 posts)

My what big hills you have (a ride report)(long)...JL
May 5, 2003 5:14 AM
To continue the thread from below Ride report; Ride the river metric century OR

I had read the info. before arriving and Mark(KG361) had warned me to "bring your climbing bike". I thought I would OK with my 39x25 as the information had stated that to be the "minimum" and I had never had a problem with that combination before. This ride was part of a full day of activities at the "Turkey Hill Classic". Racing, running, and organized rides. If you don't know, Turkey Hill makes food products. Their specialty has been ice cream and they've been around a long time.

The rain threat had seemingly past, but the cloud cover was making the day start much colder (mid 50's). I had on my short sleeve wool undershirt and arm warmers and tights. I had arrived a little later than expected and quickly found Mark (KG361), then ran in and registered. He had mentioned he was bringing his friend "Joe". I quickly threw on my gear and saddled up to ride. I went to where KG had been waiting and said "Hi" to the fellow that was waiting with him ("Joe?"). We asked an official where to start and took off with another group of 5. The first 10K followed the "runners" course from the race later that day and we followed the orange arrows. The first bad move of the day was following the arrows into the sewage treatment plant. We all realized that wasn't a good idea and quickly turned and followed the arrows out. We continued over rolling terrain, back to the "start/finish" and continued onto the route. At this point we were informed that the route was "unmarked". Looks like we'll be looking at the cue sheet a lot today. The route continued out of the lot as the first 10K did and proceeded down to the Susquehanna and River Road and proceeded toward the namesake "Turkey Hill". This was a taste of things to come. At 6% with much of the main hill at 9-10% or more with the occasional 12-13% kickup, it could be a long day. The eight of us were strung out up/down the slope but regrouped along the summit. We continued on River Road about 6 miles to the first "warning" on the cue sheet (Caution Descent avg. 30-40 mph).
re: Ride Report continued...JL
May 5, 2003 5:59 AM
After the fun descent (some sections were 16% luckily down) we turned to follow the Pequea River and the continued on River Road. A short time later the road began to go up again. There was a fire tower on the hill (Holtwood Pinnacle) above so I started to think this one could be another tough one. This hill quickly went to 9-10% and kicked up to 14-17% frequently. Over the next 2 miles the road would continue to bite us. Every time we thought we were going down to the river it would kick up again, many times at 10% or more. During one of the sustained avg. 10% sections "Joe" said, and I quote, "I guess I shouldn't have picked this ride as my first one since August!!!". I'm thinking this guy is nuts!!! He had decided to take the "year off from his team" and had chosen this ride as a "3 hour or so ride to start up again." Mark was doing well up all the hills, and I was always able to keep him in my sights, so I figured I was doing OK. We passed a few riders who had started before us and we eventually arrived at the first rest stop.

A much needed potty break and a banana with peanut butter later and we took off again. The temp. felt like it had dropped about 10 degrees at this point in the ride and after another screaming decent and a long bridge across the Susquehanna and we were climbing a nice, "easy" hill again. This one was a piece of cake after what we had just finished prior to the rest stop. We meandered along through the rolling countryside to the next "Caution Descent" on the cue sheet. A ripping descent into the Otter Creek area, with heavy breaking at the bottom to make the very sharp hairpin at the bottom. We continued to meander along the river and came to the next big turn in the road. As we followed the turn, the road began to rise sharply. It was at this point Mark heard me say, "Oh my God", as we proceeded to avg. 14% for a 1/2 mile. Some sections were around 18%, and my RPM's were easily 39 with a speed of about "standing still", or 3 mph. My quads were screaming and cramping slightly at this point, but I never stopped for fear I wouldn't be able to start again. "Joe" was doing circles trying to sling shot up, while Mark held a steady pace up ahead. The next 6 miles were mostly uphill with many more steep sections. I continued to pull away from "Joe" and Mark was just around the next bend from my view, until we arrived at the next summit rest area at the Craley Fire House. "Joe" arrived a little after me and promptly stated "I'm done!" He couldn't go anymore. After refills and a quick snack Mark and I said goodbye and proceeded to the next screaming descent (another warning) and down to the river.
re: Ride Report, the last chapter.JL
May 5, 2003 6:18 AM
I had thought it strange that Mark was leaving his "friend", but I figured they had arrived in seperate cars. We continued up and down for the next 10 miles into Wrightsville. My legs would "scream" at many of the ascents, but I was able to stick with Mark better (or he was going slower), as we continued on. We again crossed the Susquehanna on a long bridge with great views and worked our way through town down to River Road again. At this point we just paced lined to our next turn away from the river. As we proceeded we came to short hill and as I said "Not again", or something more colorful, my legs actually started to cramp up BEFORE we even started climbing. I made it without incident and Mark eventually took off on the last straightaway to make his "under 4 hour" time. I rolled in with a 4:02 ride time. As we proceeded to talk, I found out that "Joe" in fact was not his friend, but somebody he had met prior to start that had asked if he could tag along, but I was happy I only called him "Joe" once. So I only felt slightly dumb for ASSuming.

Like Mark said in his prior post, we indulged in the free food/drink and watched the finishes of some of the bike races that were in progress. We both took advantage of the free massages, where my feet and legs severely cramped up just as the masseuse was finishing.

Mark was great to ride with and a very strong rider to boot. Hopefully we can get a PA RBR ride together later in the year and ride again.

If you like big and frequent hills this is the ride for you. I think I would do this ride again, albeit with a larger rear cluster. Hopefully, the organizers would put "new" markings on the road, even though there was faint "remnants" of prior years rides. It's amazing that after all the "pain", you still can say you enjoyed the ride.

Happy riding and thanks for reading.

John
Thanks JL. FWIW-that's comparable to about 10,500 ft/100 miles..KG 361
May 5, 2003 6:36 AM
good report. with grades and gain, sounds like 6-Gap. nmJS Haiku Shop
May 5, 2003 6:52 AM