Monday, April 11, 2011
Over 3100' of climbing in 28 miles. That was an awesome ride! Mostly dirt (mud) and lots of climbing. There was tons of climbing too! With all of that climbing, there is magnificent downhills. It was easy to hit around 35mph and at some point I recorded a top speed of 47.25 mph. It was 100% adrenaline. I felt great and we had the most excellent weather. I felt extremely good on all the climbs, powerful on all the flats and I never have a problem falling like a brick on the downhills. All I did for this ride is pull the commuter tires off, mounted up the Maxxis MudWrestlers and dropped the fenders. All the rest is the way its been.
We did a neutral roll out for a bit and then the first climb (what a bitch) comes up with a big slap in the face. Once you get to the top of that climb, you get some breather time as well as some great views of the Green Mountains. (Sorry no pics. I find it getting harder to want to stop to shoot photos). Lots of elevation change on this ride. We rolled into the second aid station (which is also the first aid station, just from a different direction) and they had the usual helpful foods. I asked to fill my bottle, NO WATER! But wait, who cares, they had whiskey. That's right, there is water in that stuff if you didn't know. With only 8 miles to go and one more climb I decided to take a shot of each of the three brands of whiskey that was being offered. It was very surprising to me how little negative effect that had on me. Hell, I think in someway it loosened up my muscles if not doing anything else. The last climb was gradual but damn was it long. We got to the top, turned on a dirt road and dropped in (the 47mph part) for a fast descent and up the other side. The climbing was done! It was rolling for the 4 miles.
We got done and quickly made our way into the line for some nice authentic chicken tacos, beans, salsa, the works. It was catered again this year by a local eatery that makes great food. What a blast it was. This was my third year doing the Gravel Grinder and by far it was my best one yet. All of it was enjoyable, even the lung burning climbs!
We are now into some Spring weather and we will be getting some good rain to clean things up and wash all the yuck of winter away. I was waiting until after this ride to switch out my drivetrain. I put a hurting on the front ring and the chain over the winter. The rear cog on the Alfine is steel and wears really good. Right now it is 38/20 and I will be replacing that with a 42/18 and a brand spanking new chain. I will also try to find some nice 28c or maybe even 25c tires to run for the commuting.
April 30th is our 300k Brevet. I want this thing rolling better than it was on the 200k. That one was an eye opener. I will enjoy it knowing that others are out on route with me, unlike the pre-ride that was solo.