I was fortunate to get a really nice ride in on Saturday morning. 26 miles with 1882 feet of climbing in about 2 hours of ride time. Here’s the details.
I left my house around 6:45 A.M. with a decent amount of light. I started the ride with my LED light on the front flashing, as well as a blinkie flashing in the rear. With little traffic on State Route 50 at that time of the morning, I road the shoulder all the way up to Radford Road. There was a decent amount of fog on Rt. 50, so I was thankful to have the lights going. I took a right at Radford and rode it all the way to State Route 56 and then made may way into Uptown Athens. As I got closer to Cable Lane, I began to question whether on not I should ride it today. I had ridden my trainer three times during the week, as well as getting some good cardio workouts at the gym. My legs felt a bit fatigured, but I pressed on. As fate would have it, Carpenter Street was closed (construction), so the only way that I could get to my turnaround point (Strouds Run boat ramp) was to take either Madison or Cable up to Strouds Run Road. So I took Cable Lane. The webpage for Cycle Path does a great job at describing this hill:
As you roll along the flat section of brick road through the quiet residential neighborhood, Cable Lane doesn’t seem as if it is going to be very difficult to conquer. Guess again. As the road turns to macadam it gradually gets steeper into a 10% grade at about the .5 mile mark. You think to your self, “This isn’t that hard.” You get a slight rest into the “S” turn and then the fun starts.
The last .25 miles has almost 200 ft. of elevation gain. The grade shoots up to 13% and every 100 ft. is a slightly different steepness with one ugly section at a grade of 21%. Momentum is the key to a good assault on Cable. If you loose your rhythm, think of a heavy metal tune and sing it. It could help you to get up the hill faster and it never hurts to be prepared for the day when you get the chance to audition for the new lead singer of AC/DC.
I was just getting into singing “Stairway to Heaven” (my favorite in my head song for hard hills) when I met a runner coming down the hill. He looked at me, and his smirk told me that he must have thought I was crazy. His look didn’t exactly inspired confidence, but I pressed on. In the steepest grade of the hill, I felt that I had to keep pedaling, as I knew I would fall over if I stopped. I pushed on, and made it to the top of the hill. I wish I had taken my Flip video camera with me, as I would have loved to record myself at the top, heaving to force oxygen back in my lungs. I had beaten the hill the first time I had attempted to ride it, and I was proud. I spend a few minutes catching my breath, texted my wife my location and status, and pushed on to Strouds Run.
The ride out of Strouds has a long hill with a gradual grade. In the past I have used my 32 for this one, and this morning was no exception. After riding Cable, I was a bit tired, but confident. The ride up North Blackburn and Wonder Hills Drive ( both of which are shown well on the elevation profile below) were both very tough, but I knew that it would be pretty wimpy to let these hills beat me, particularly after conquering Cable Lane. I made it up every hill in the ride, despite this being the hardest ride I have ridden this year. I’m already looking forward to the next time I can get out on the road and meet the next hill that comes my way.