Let’s do it again! This Sunday will be my 2nd attempt at Bridge to Bridge.
Last year’s Bridge to Bridge was an epic endeavor. 98% of the ride was spent grinding it out in nasty, drizzly, foggy weather conditions, while the last 2% was in the bright sun. However painful that climb up Grandfather Mountain was, it was elating to climb out of the sludge and into the sun.
The early forecast looks promising. It looks clear and actually a little cool, which is perfect. It will most likely be in the high 50s or low 60s when we leave Lenoir. When we finally reach higher elevations, it’ll probably still be cool enough to keep riding with arm warmers. I seem to remember there being a good forecast last year, so there’s still a chance it could change. The weather is tough to predict at higher elevations.
Even though my training has been sidetracked by every excuse in the book (illness, hurricane, work, school, long vacation), I still feel alright. My strategy will be to beat last year’s time, which should not be a problem. On the last ride, I had to stop more often than I’d wanted, trying to coordinate with my ride home. This time I’ll be traveling solo.
My strategy will be similar to Mitchell. I’ll find a strong group for the first 50 miles to get me to the climbs as quickly as possible. No, it won’t be the front group, but hopefully not too much further back. From there I’ll just power my way up at a steady cadence, while not burning myself out for the final assault. I’ll eat more and stop less.
Grandfather, with grades in the upper teens and a finish above 20%, will be the real test. Aside from Blue Ridge Brutal, I haven’t tried to climb on tired legs since Mitchell, and have climbed few hills this steep all year. I’ll see how I feel, and give all that I can.