Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh, yeah, it's Rollercoaster time

Yesterday, I headed out to Emmaus, Pa, hometown of Rodale publishing who puts out Bicycling. Also home to some really really strong and really really crazy riders. Every year for the last several years, a group of these crazy riders have done what's known as 2/5/10 on the 2nd rest day of the Tour de France. Here's a little bit about the ride:
Ride the 3 hills of Emmaus (2nd, 5th and 10th streets) with a group of people who love bikes. And then, keep riding those hills 10 total times.
Simple enough right? These are no little road bumps. Some more about the ride:
Mileage per lap: 10.19 miles
Elevation per lap: 1,473 feet
Approximate time per lap: 47 minutes
Approximate time climbing per lap: 26 minutes
Approximate avg. speed: 13.1 mph
(I averaged 11.3 for the whole ride)
Highest % grade: 22% (on 10th)
Avg. grade of all climbs: 6.3%

My intention was to ride 6 laps. I'm not in shape to ride 100 miles right now and certainly not when it involves so much climbing. I got in touch with my old pal Kristy who lives and rides out there to see if she was riding. I know she had done the entire thing last year. She was in.
We rolled out of South Mountain Cycles a little passed 7AM, about 30 of us. We start the first climb on 2nd st right away. A nice flat warm up would have been nice, but oh well. I hung on to the back of the pack and tried to find my legs. I managed to hang on to the back until we got to 10th st, the 3rd climb of the loop. 10th st has a section that is 22% grade. The rest of it isn't too much better. Bye bye, doggie. I was off the back questioning my sanity. On lap 1. Kristy, kind soul that she is, rode with me.
After every lap, we roll through the bike shop where our times and laps are recorded on a white board. When I rolled in on the first lap, the group was gone already. Lap 1 took 47 minutes. HA! The rest of my laps would be about 57 minutes.
2nd time around, I actually felt better. Now I knew what was coming.
Before the 3 lap, I stopped to fill my bottle and have a gel. It was getting warm and it was humid. Climbing 2nd st wasn't too bad. It's fairly long but not too steep and in the shade. Climbing 10th st, I would sweat so much I would be soaked to the bone and sweat running into my eyes. On 10th st on lap 3, I looked at Kristy and said, I'm sitting the next lap out. I hadn't enough very much before the ride started and I was feel a little cooked. My hands hurt from pulling on the bars up the hills.
I spent the next 50 minutes or so drinking tea, having snacks and chatting with the folks hanging out at the shop.
I jumped back in with Kristy for my 4th lap, her 5th. I felt much better. The break was a good one. Somewhere on lap 4 I decided I was going to be done at 5 laps. After my 4th lap, same routine: stop, fill bottles, snack, go. I was pounding fluids. The bank clock next to the bike shop read 92 degrees.
I knew Loren was going to join the ride on her lunch break. Just before Kristy and I turned on to the 5th st climb, there she was. She had taken a short cut to find us and rode the rest of the lap with us. New legs in the group is nice (ha group, me and Kristy. But people do rotate in and out all day which helps the people going long keep going). This was my last lap. Last time up 10th st. UGH. It was a nice feeling knowing I was going to be done for the day and lunch would be waiting for us back at the shop. The whole group was back together wolfing down pizza. Kristy was in for some more and Loren went out for full loop. I rehydrated and relaxed, my day DONE. Kristy did 8 laps.
I rode just over 50 miles and climbed over 7000 feet. Ya know, just an easy day in the saddle. Check out the elevation chart from my garmin, it looks like an EKG.


Elizabeth said...

WOW! That is amazing. Really interesting to read about this biking tradition. You did such a great job, considering you are relatively new to biking longer distances. That course sounds so tough! Did Loren do the entire thing, or just one lap on her lunch break?

DogPound said...

I've actually been cycling for about 15 years, I just took some time off to focus on the ol BQ.
Yea, Loren snuck for a lap which was enough for her. She's smarter than I am :P

L.A. Runner said...

That looks like an amazing course! Great job getting out there and DOING it:)!