Today's GTR was out of Atlanta Cycling in Vinings. We had a later start than usual, because of a bike cleaning clinic held at the shop prior to our usual pre-ride meeting. It started out chilly (added a second layer of sleeves), but warmed up quickly with the sun. We knew, too, that it was going to be a hilly ride (these were some of the same hills that I loathed at the end of last season) so the coolness was welcome.
I had expressed concern on the descents planned for the ride (up to a -6% grade), which can be terrifying for less experienced cyclists. I can't believe I was worried about that and not the climbs. Here's a map... notice the profile:
At mile 18 we started a 3% climb, which lasted a mile. At mile 23.8, we started a 4% climb that lasted for about a quarter mile which, believe me, was long enough. I hit that hill and immediately started doing switchbacks: there was simply no momentum and no other way to get to the top without walking. It was absurd. **I insert here that another mentor/part-time coach said that the second climb was actually 12%
Maximum speed: 40.1 mph (and I was feathering the brakes!! wooooohoo!)
Average speed: 12.1 mph
Distance: 26.33 mi
Absurdity aside, it was a GREAT ride, and I felt awesome after every ascent and, especially, after every descent. There's nothing quite so sweet as a payoff like that. I felt really good: I hydrated along the way, ate wisely before and during the ride, and just felt superb. I was able to ride a little selfishly today, having hung back the last three weeks (without regret), though I feel a little guilty. Fortunately, I caught the guys leading the pack, and we all joined up with C and L (teammates from the Wilson) and rode out the rest together. It was maybe a little slower than I would have done, but just as well, as I intend to ride the Stone Mountain ride tomorrow and it wouldn't do not to have any legs.