Boone ya!

I need a serious altitude adjustment. I spent Memorial Day weekend in Boone NC. It was awesome and beautiful and it kicked my ass. Boone and the surrounding area sits at about 3,000 ft, with some of the higher areas and mountains reaching north of 5,000 ft. I think I’ve been living on the coast for too long. Oxygen becomes a rare commodity when you climb into the mountains.

I got into town on Saturday afternoon. Our still photographer Jim Bridges, and his lovely wife Laura Lyn offered up their place for the weekend. They were extremely gracious hosts and their house sits in a beautiful valley along some amazing roads. I got in a little later than I wanted so as soon as I pulled I said a few quick hello’s and headed out. Of course as soon as I did I got dumped on. The weather in Boone is strange. I could ride a half mile down the road and be dry as a bone and find myself in a monsoon in a half mile further. Smooth roads are awesome and slippery.I hid at the Zionville post office, which was just slightly larger than my bedroom, until the majority of the rain subsided.

I cruised around for about twenty miles and I was amazed at how winded I got. I would reach the top of a small climb and be sucking air.

After the ride, Jim and Laura Lynn toured me around the area and showed me a few different routes I could do over the next two days. They took me through one particularly undulating course that had a nice long gradual climb at the end. It seemed like a good route to start out with. Challenging but not killer.

I set out Sunday morning but ended up taking a wrong turn somewhere and found myself sitting at the bottom of this.

7 Devils is the last big climb

Since I was already at the 7 Devils I decided to just go ahead and try it. This was a serious climb with enough switch backs to make anyone dizzy and there were sections that were so steep that it was all I could do not to fall over.

The photo does it no justice. This is steep as hell.

Switch back

Yeah bullshit

3/4 the way up. 4,500 ft.

There were times when I was completely bottomed out on my gears, stomping on my pedals trying to get to the top of the next crest. I had to stop more than a couple of times. My heart rate would hit about 195 and I just couldn’t put out anymore. I didn’t even make it to the top. I think I was about 3/4 of the way up when I decided that I would get it next time, and I was ok with that because I was utterly spent. This was my first experience with real climbs and I felt like I had given it my all. And actually, as tough as it was, the hills around Boone aren’t even the really real climbs. Guys in the pro peloton are tackling tougher climbs than before breakfast and then riding on for another 100 miles. Then they get up and do it again.

The descent was kind of terrifying. Releasing the brakes for just a moment had me shooting off like a bullet and switchbacks would come out of nowhere.

Descending with another rider.

I tried to go out for another ride Monday morning, but it was pouring up until the minute I left.

Blue skies as I was leaving. Of course.

I logged two short runs while I was there too. I would have loved to have gone out longer but my ankle still can’t handle it. I’ve kinda relapsed lately. Though, the short 3 and 4 milers I logged felt alright. I took it very slow and took many walking breaks. It’s super frustrating. I feel like I’ve kind of done everything I’m supposed to do and my ankle just won’t get on board. I’m going to head to Try Sports this weekend and have the guys there analyze my stride and gait to see if I possibly need to make changes in foot wear or my orthotics, which still don’t feel good.

It’s now the beginning of June and October 17th is appearing on the Horizon. I’m running out of time. I need to get some long runs under my legs and soon or else Mt Lemmon is just not going to happen. Not to mention that I also need to tackle some serious hills and spend a lot more time in higher elevation.

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~ by glennikin on June 1, 2010.

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