Monday, September 14, 2009
Climbing four mountains near Wheeling, WV
I slept terribly last night and woke up this morning drained and soon to be dissappointed when I looked out my window to see a thick fog covering the ground. Definitely not a good morning for a bike ride. So I decided to be productive and got working on my proceedings papers before heading down for the conference around 9am. Well after lunch there was a brief industrial demonstration session that I decided to skip to hit out on the roads for my ride. The weather was great, low 70's and sunny, a bit windy, but nothing too terrible. Got started following a 20.6 mile route I found on www.mapmyride.com, starting off with a steep decent into the valley near Wheeling, before turning up into the first climb of the day, a 556 ft climb over 2.45 miles for an average grade of about 4.3% with grades hitting up to 10% (approx. equiv to a Cat 3 climb). After reaching the top I reached the decent where I deviated from the online course... BIG MISTAKE. WOW, terrible road conditions on the descent, had to ride my breaks the entire way with a ton of pot holes and debris. Well then I reached the intersection where I turned left into the second climb of the day, this one starting off more moderate, a 2 mile stretch to start climbing only 160 ft so I was able to just keep the cranks turning and drive my way up. About 1/2 way up I turned onto my second deviation from the online route, again BIG MISTAKE. THis one I quickly figured out as I was chased by 2 dogs and forced to turn around and adjust my ride. Thank GOD for my Garmin Edge 705. I was able to use the map to make the adjustment without getting lost, picking up on the route shortly thereafter. This deviation of course also led to a more difficult effort, as the grade quickly steepened, leading up to a difficult finish, with the final 1/2 mile at an average 5% grade with values up to 11%. This descent was actually rather enjoyable and led quickly to climb three, a brief (0.8 mile) climb, but the steepest of the four, with an average grade of 6.9% and multiple sections > 10%, which is consistent with a Cat 4 climb. This led to the final descent, a nice winding drop into the valley before the final climb back to the hotel. This was a 1.2 mile, 5.3% climb, again another approximate Cat 4 climb. Tough riding and has made me realize that I need to reconsider my route length and choice of path for tomorrow. Will be figuring it all out shortly. Overall, a really challenging, yet enjoyable ride through some new country with significantly more difficult terrain than I am used to!
This year, like last year, I will be riding for Mary Payton's Miracle - My friend Steve Kogos from Trigators informed me that his friend Joe's daughter, Mary Payton, was diagnosed a number of years back with Late Infantile Batten Disease. This is a disease with no cure, however, there are special experimental (and extremely expensive) treatments which have shown some significant signs of success! In order to assist with the costly treatments and research, Mary Payton's Miracle was created to raise money to find a cure, hopefully in time to save little Mary Payton as well as the many others affected by this terrible disease!