Monthly Archives: October 2012

Fall adventure on double oak way

At the edge of the helicopter hill descent – me and Simon – you can see the ridges all the way out to Hugh Daniel, which blocks the view of the Double Oak ridge line.

I posted a message to Facebook yesterday that I wanted to ride out to Double Oak Way today, and three brave souls (Russell Fulmer, Simon Prentice, and Jonathan Soto) showed up for the first cold ride of the season. Temps never got much above 50 degF spending a lot of time in the mid to upper 40s. Combined with a stiff north wind, the temp made for a chilly ride. But the ride itself, was a great adventure.

I set the bottom of Old Montgomery as the starting point for the ride because I wanted to put my Strava KOM shootout effort in for the week. Russell had gotten there early and already put his effort in so he waited partway up and got this video of me on my effort to get the KOM:

My legs were feeling great initially, but I botched the switchback in the video and paid for it later because I had to dig deep to keep my speed out of the corner. I broke my old time by 24 seconds and Boris’s KOM time by 14 seconds. I set a new power record during the short 3 minute effort as illustrated below:

Critical power curve – KOM efforts highlighted – bulges in the curve. The only KOM I was going for on today’s ride was the Old Montgomery one. (click to enlarge)

Afterwards, Russell and I rode back down to the bottom to meet Simon and Jonathan to start our ride. We immediately began with the Cat 3 climb up Old Montgomery all the way to the high point on Shades Mountain on Vestavia Dr. From there we worked our way over to the Healthsouth Helipad Hill, which is where the photo at the top and the video below was taken.

Then it was onto a long 280 section taking us to the Hugh Daniel climb up and over into the valley at the base of Double Oak Way. The climb started out well (video below), but shortly after the steep part and rolling section, Simon had a stick kick up into his rear wheel lodging itself between the spoke and the non-drive chainstay. The stick not only broke a spoke but also cracked the frame. Because of how out of true the wheel was after breaking a spoke, there was no way for Simon to ride his bike. Nearly a mile behind a closed gate meant a mile of walking for Simon. So the rest of us took off back down the mountain to head back to Mt Laurel where we figured we could find a wheel to borrow from the scheduled group ride that was just finishing. I carried Simon’s broken wheel down and then returned with a loaner Campy wheel, which Simon was able to ride down to wait for someone to come pick him up.

During the wheel exchange (behind the gate), a property patrol vehicle came down and kicked us off the property. It was at the really steep part of the climb that the patrol agent was talking to us, so John pushed past not realizing what was going on — meaning that he was the only one of us who ended up making it ALL the way up to the top of the mountain. Luckily, the patrol agent wasn’t interested in going after him and turned to go patrol some of the trails on the property. After we all got back together, we headed over to Old 280 to do the Ebsco parking lot climb. Then we turned around, descended 280 past Lee Branch, worked our way across 280 (backwards at one point), navigated a hilly route through Meadowbrook, left out the back entrance to the Spain Park baseball fields cut-through, flew down Caldwell Mill to the Cahaba River bluff wall, climbed up to Dolly Ridge and then continued climbing on up to Vestavia Dr before descending down to the Brookwood Dental launchpad office cut-under (you ride under the office building, which is on stilts), through the apartments and finally back down Old Montgomery back to the start. I said good-bye to Russell and John before turning around and heading back up and over the mountain get home. What a ride!

I am officially a Friend of the Great Smokies…

Friends of the Great Smokies newest team member – me!

I am officially a Friend of the Great Smokies — both literally as a member of the FGS Cycling race team for 2013 and figuratively as someone who loves to spend time in the beautiful high mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. I am no stranger to the Smoky Mountains with my Gatlinburg and Clingman’s Dome adventures in 2006 2009, 2010, 2011, and coming up in just a few weeks here in 2012 and also with my end of the season epic adventure rides in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 I love spending time in the mountains.

I will be joining John Hart (Nashville, TN), Jeff McGrane (Knoxville, TN), and Kurt Page (Murfreesboro, TN). We are already looking to our first training camp sometime this winter — where I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone on the team. We complement each others strengths really well with all the disciplines of cycling well represented — climbing, sprinting, time trialing, and all-rounding.

Sponsors for 2013 include FGS, Litespeed, SRAM, Zipp, Enve, Michelin, Rudy Project, and Primal Wear. Primary shop sponsor is MOAB (Outdoor/Bikes) for the Tennessee guys, and for me here in Alabama, Craig at Brick Alley is keeping me and my bikes up and running.