The six of us who were able to make it to camp early on Friday embarked on a swift little 55 miler I had decided on. Side note about being the only one who knows the roads – your fellow riders have to trust your judgment on how hard the ride will be. Too bad for them because, as they learned Friday, I am highly untrustworthy. We climbed Bob’s Creek and then hit the wall that is Sassafrass Mountain. Looking up the road from the bottom, it barely looks walk-able, much less ride-able. And it goes on and on. So with contorted faces of pain, we all began zig-zagging up the steep pitch.
After we all made it to the top, we began a long gradual descent of Gladys Fork and I assured everyone that the climbing was over except for the backside of Caesar’s Head that lead back to the house which, comparatively speaking, was an “easy” climb.
As I stated before, though, I can’t be trusted. I had completely forgotten about 3 good climbs on East Fork and as I was forcing the pedals over to get up those bitches, I could only think that I had successfully made five enemies that day. I was sure they’d be mad, so when I arrived back at the house I began my apologies. To my relief, no one was upset with me. At least that’s what they told me. Although, they could be liars, too, right?
But, I learned my lesson. The next morning I went out early and drove the intended course so there would be no surprises. By this time, everyone that was coming to camp was there and by 11am, we were suited up and ready to ride. The weather was warming; the roads were rolling; the valley was stunning and the snow covered mountain tops were uplifting. We had a great ride with a moderate amount of climbing. Add in Beer n’ Brats for lunch, a bit o’ wine, great company, good conversations, a huge pasta dinner and the day was pretty much as perfect as it could be.
Even warmer weather greeted us for the final installment of Team Camp on Sunday. I had a good hard ride planned for this day – no reason to ease up on the last day. Along with a bunch of shorter and steep climbs, we would also do the front side of Caesar’s Head which is a good 9 mile ascent that only gets steeper as you approach the top. Those 9 miles would be the last miles ridden for the weekend. As we rode that day, I heard rumblings from some that they didn’t think they’d be able to do that climb. That they weren’t quite in shape enough to survive it. So, we decided whoever made it to the house first would grab a vehicle, drive back down the mountain and pick up those who couldn’t finish.
Well, I’m happy to report that when the sweeper vehicle arrived back at the house, it was empty. Everyone decided to tough it out, grinding out the miles one pedal stroke at a time.
Beginning with Sassafrass on Friday, at least once on each ride, I surprised myself by doing something I was SURE I couldn’t do. And by Sunday, I saw a bunch of my teammates doing the very same thing fighting through what they thought they couldn’t do. That was a very proud moment of the weekend for me.
The defining moment, in fact. Bring on the race season.