May 16, 2013

Sunday is the Storming of Thunder Ridge, and I'm going into this not feeling as well prepared as I wanted. I was only able to complete one big climbing ride the entirety of March/April/May, and though I was riding my Commutotron Bike, it still clobbered me mentally. I had really wanted to get some extended punishment in so I could get my mind around what I was going to need in preparation for the Tour de France Trip. So, if you didn't know, Thunder Ridge is a peak along the Appalachian Mountains, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Lynchburg, VA. From the intersection of US Route 501, its a 13 mile (21km) climb up 3505 feet (1068m), maximum gradient of 12.8%, average of 4.8%. In comparison, the climb up Mont Ventoux from Bedoin (which I'm doing July 15th) is 13.miles (21km), up 5574ft (1696m) maximum gradient of 24.9%, average of 7.1%. So though Thunder Ridge is equal in length, the pitch is half in comparison. The really nice thing about doing the SOTR is that it seems to be (from what their site describes) a very well supported ride (though no one can be as well supported as the Five Boroughs ride) with 7 rest stops, and a very energetic staff (from following them on Twitter and on Facebook). But the doubt is starting to creep in. The mind is already starting to play the loser's game with me. "Oh, you'll never be able to finish it, your knee will give you problems, your foot will become unbearable, you won't be able to finish the climb..." and so on and so forth. My training isn't what I wanted it to be at, but everything else I can take care of. I'm now at 186.6 lbs (as of this morning). That's 98 pounds from where I started. Amazing as that is, I'm still looking at a wattage deficiency. It will take me an hour and a half to climb the 13 miles at 212 watts, or 2.5 watts/kg, which is what I'd expect. Put hat at 70 rpm, that's 12,600 pedal strokes (6300 revolutions). Just have to start counting, like I do steps, and focus on that and not on the pain or my lungs, and get to telling my legs to shut up. I'm going into the LBS to have my bike re-fitted, since I got my new frame, I really want to make sure it's right for me again, and I'll look at getting a wedge or something to aleviate the pain in my heel. I did some shifting and testing this past weekend, and when I lifted the bridge of my left foot up, the pain was aleviated. I'm also thinking the angle of my right cleat might help my right knee pain. My friend Brian is doing the Assault on Mount Mitchell on Monday, and they have a more intense training blog for preparation. I've been trying to follow that in preparation. I do wish I was able to have purchased a bike trainer in the last month to work on power training. Hopefully everything will go well. I had to deal with my chain popping off my front gear tonight, but that was easy to fix. I'm praying for no flats/punctures/bonking. Also for better weather. Right now Weather Underground is listing it to be rainy on Sunday in Lynchburg.

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