So this Saturday was my 39th birthday. I’m usually not a big fan of elaborate birthday celebrations. To me it is just another day and not a big deal. For some reason this year was a little different. Maybe it is because this is the last year of my 30s. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to do something fun. For whatever reason, my wife and I planned a little daytrip to celebrate.
We drove to Traveler’s Rest, SC, just outside of Greenville. We parked and went our separate ways for the morning. She went shopping and to a coffee shop. I, naturally, went up a mountain. I found a good cue sheet off the internet that went over Paris mountain, took me into Taylors through a country club, and then looped back to Traveler’s Rest. The loop should have been 19 miles. My goal was to ride my age, so after two loops and maybe a little extra pedaling, I would be done.
This was my first try at Paris Mountain so I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that the professionals did four loops at the Cycling Championships a couple months ago. They flew up the mountain, so it couldn’t be that bad, could it? It really was not that bad. It had a couple steep sections and kicked up at the end to about 10-12%, but overall it was in the 8% grade range and it wasn’t a very long climb. As I reached the top, I ran into someone who had just rode up the other way. He said that the way I had just come was steeper and more difficult. Coming from the Taylors side is easier because there are rolling hills and easier grades, but it is a longer overall climb. Descending was fun, and I decided that on my second loop I would go in reverse and come up the other way to get the entire experience.
Unfortunately this route turned out to be longer than I expected. When I reached Traveler’s Rest again, I had 25 miles already. Those miles were slower because I was following a cue sheet and trying to make sense of confusing road names. A couple times I had to pull over and check my GPS, and a couple other times I took wrong turns. On top of all that, because of the additional time taken, it was hot when I arrived back at Traveler’s Rest, and my wife had been patiently waiting. So I ditched the plan for another loop and finished my mileage on some Traveler’s Rest neighborhoods and a nice 3-4 mile stretch of bike trail.