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Screaming Descent, Taxing Climb and a Steady Ascent Back

September 15, 2009

Tried again to catch the bike shop open in Yellow Springs.  It was actually closed, but the manager was standing outside chatting and had me come in to discuss stems for the handlebar.  They have a nice selection for comparison, so I got one that was close to my adjustable stem angle and took it out for a spin.

I didn’t really feel like riding the trail again, so I took Grinnell Road down past the back entrance to John Bryan State Park.  This is a screaming descent I max’d out at 34mph.  I could have pushed harder, but near the beginning of the descent, I startled a large deer on my side of the road.  Fortunately as it looked at me, it darted back into the woods rather than across the road into me.  At 30mph, it wouldn’t have been pretty!!  That took some of the steam out of my descent, especially as I stayed up high on the handlebars rather than in the drops for aerodynamics.   I reached the bottom and looked ahead at the twisting ascent, realizing that my legs were going to be PISSED when I reached the top.  I pushed as hard as I could, but my legs were toasting pretty quickly.  Eventually, only half way to the top, I was in my lowest gear ratio of 30:27 and spinning my way to the top.  My lungs were screaming and my legs were yelling, and all I could think was… Bob… you’re still a WUSS!!! What I would have given to be at least 50# lighter… LOL!  Hauling my 230# frame to the top was no treat!   Really… I was just glad to reach the top of the hill and the stop sign to turn onto Clifton Road.  Not knowing the topography ahead of me, I chose to stop here and eat a Cliff Bar, chug some water, and let my heart rate settle back down.

The caution was for naught.  Clifton Road, back toward the Little Miami Trail, is a pleasant series of rollers, so my cruising speed was pretty good.  I can’t believe how glass-smooth the road surface was!

Once I got to the trail and headed back to Yellow Springs, the pace slowed considerably.  I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t seem that the trail is conducive to maintaining a decent average pace.  It doesn’t help that the return was a steady 200ft climb for that last 4 miles… not taxing… but I wasn’t flying either as I used it as a chance to cool down and relax my legs.

This is one of those routes that I need to endeavor to do more often.  Steeper hills are still my enigma, and I just need to keep churning through them until my legs and lungs grow sufficiently strong and can say “Bring on the Rockies!!!”

Even though the new bike stem is a slightly different angle and a bit shorter, it worked out pretty well.  My arms noticed the difference, but they’ll quickly adjust.

12 miles, 40 minutes.

Tomorrow is definitely a rest day for my legs!!!

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