Climbing – Cheaha Mini-Challenge
On Wednesday, I had an Alabama Academy of Science meeting at Jacksonville State University, which is not too far from the highest point in the state – Mount Cheaha. So, after my morning classes, I drove on over to the foothills just off the interstate and then went for a mini-Cheaha Challenge ride. Here is my route and climbing data from Strava –
Got lots of on-the-bike pictures for the ride. See the gallery after the training race recap below.
Racing – GSMR Camp Sumatanga Training Race #3 – 2nd place!
The training race yesterday (Sunday) at Camp Sumatanga turned out really well for Tria Cycling, with our team taking 1st through 5th place! Of course, we did have half the field on our team (literally) as only 14 people showed up for the race with 7 from my team. A quick race summary is that we tried to animate the race early to get several riders in a break. Eventually, my teammates Sammy and Wes made it into a break with me and Joe from Madison. We worked together, but we didn’t crush it because we wanted to see if more of our team could bridge up to us. About a lap into our break, my teammate Justin Bynum bridged up to us by himself. Another half lap later, my teammates Chris and Pat Allison bridged up to us by themselves. So this led to the day’s break with 6 of the 7 riders in the break from my team.
At this point, we were trying to figure out how to get a podium sweep because Joe was riding very strong and looked like he could certainly spoil the party on the climb. We had a good rotation going, and everybody (including Joe) worked well together. The temperature was plummeting, and by the time we finished the race it was below freezing (31.7 degrees Fahrenheit on my Garmin). Here’s how the last lap played out. We wanted to try to get both of our sprinters up the road well ahead of the climb, but Chris was cramping up so we decided to send Sammy first and then a few miles later send Wes to bridge across. So Wes and Sammy reached the bottom of the climb about the same time, while back in our group Joe was having to set the entire pace. I let him lead us to the first switchback in the climb, but when he started to slow down, I accelerated and took Pat and Justin with me. Joe was dropped after all his earlier work chasing, so Pat, Justin, and I were free to set a hard pace without fear of pulling him back up to Sammy or Wes. We caught Sammy just before the Eagle Eyes Cycles bar/shop about 500 meters from the finish. Pat and I decided no matter what that we were going to give Wes the win if we caught him, but we couldn’t catch him because he was crushing the climb. I ended up pulling away just slightly from Pat at the end to finish 2nd (I think because Pat sat up a little early) with Wes crossing the line about 25-50 meters in front of us. Sammy held on for fourth with Justin coming in for 5th in front of Joe giving us a sweep of 1st through 5th place! We started to head back down the climb and turned around when we saw Chris who was still plugging away on the climb despite cramping really bad. We escorted him up the climb for moral support, and then turned around to head back to the start before we froze to death.
Note the temperature in the Garmin Connect data below! Also, the US-231 climb was so beautiful with all the waterfalls from the previous day’s heavy rain.
Pictures from my mini 50 mile version of the Cheaha Challenge