One of the lovely Greenville Watershed views
This weekend is the Cherokee Foothills Bicycle Tour
out of Tigerville, SC. For awhile there wasn’t a lot of information about this event. Even though I was registered, I wasn’t sure if this would be the right event for me. The question was how tough these foothills would be. I’ve developed an affinity for mountains and they would be ideal for my training at this point. After all, Bridge to Bridge is not even three weeks away.
Fortunately I got a hold of the cue sheet and found that this ride will be perfect for me. The century begins in Tigerville and rides around a lot of the rolling country roads before heading up to Saluda. We will take the Greenville Watershed, always a nice ride, up to downtown Saluda. From there it looks like we head up 176 towards Flat Rock, which will mean some additional climbing before heading back down again. My estimation is the century ride will be between 6000-7000 feet of climbing, which is perfect.
Rather than stay overnight, I’ll be leaving early in the morning — VERY early in the morning. I will probably get up around 4am and hit the road before 5am. Depending on the night’s sleep, which probably won’t be too great, I may be a bit weary for the ride. I’ll try to get us some good coffee along the way and I may bring a 5-hour energy to drink before the climbing begins.
My approach will depend on how I feel. It will be tempting and probably good for me to open it up and try to get through fast. But that won’t be necessary. I may go at a moderate pace if it’s hot, I’m tired, or both. For now it looks like terrific weather with a high in the mid-80s. There is a small chance of rain, but it looks like it will hold off until late afternoon or evening.
After pushing the mileage last week, this week I have taken it easy. This is not tapering, but more giving myself some recovery time. I will participate in easy rides on Wednesday and Thursday and rest Friday.
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.