Stage 4

On the road again.

Oh man. The Queen Stage, advertised as 100miles, 12000ft of climbing with enough fireroad to satiate the hungriest of all scorchers. The route, head out to Stokesville from town with a Mole Hill KOM and a Dry River Sprint along the way. Then thru the National Forest to Braley's Pond to 250, up and over the Confederate Breastworks towards WV for the first refuel. Then beeeyoooootifull high mtn valley farm riding to the high point of le Tour, Reddish Knob via SR620 & FR85. Finish with a parade to the Ottobine sprint for Mexi Night at the Little Grill.

Somewhat accurate Routeslip profile....

I've been looking at/fearing this stage for a looong time, long time. I do love this loop, one of the best road rides on the planet, but anytime you contemplate 100miles on a fixed, I think there's reason to be skeered. Throw in 15-18hours of riding and racing in the three days preceding, and my knees are shaking, stomach is turning and anxiety is high. This is the peak effort to date for the year, could be the ride of the year. Simple survival w/out dismounting the stead is the goal. I've stood alongside the LeMond with 39:25 gearing on the CR25 climb from Sugar Grove to Reddish, I've almost walked my 2:1 mtn bike on the hundo miler climb to Reddish, which just happens to be in today's parcours. The Rt 250 appetizer is also a tough little kick in the teeth, a smidge bit harder than Doubling Gap I'd guess, and the three 'rollers' before it on the way to Braley's are a pain in the ass. This is a tough, tough, tough stage.

The rollout was nice, I took my place in the wind when needed and had a nice seat for spectating the KOM on Mole Hill. Rode in the group across some valley pave' and even threw down for a 30ish mph pull during the Dry River sprint, showing those fools what a real spin looks like.....or something like that.

Then we went on the clock and I once again got dropped like it was my job on the drag race to Braley's. Imagine that I made up some time on the Rt250 climb and surprisingly didn't get caught on the final stretch into High Water. Legs felt ok, but the mind felt weak, Reddish looms large. Helped set tempo on the short parade up the sweet mtn valley, then we made the right hander where the clock gets punched again. Fawley flats 10yds in, so the start is neutralized and we regroup. I'm actually on the front on the way up over Buffalo Knob, but of no concern to the heads of state. I don't dare try to hold a wheel when the fireworks begin near the summit, so I drift back, wayyyy back, over the rolling terrain to the base of the Reddish climb. Then it's me and my iPod in that comfortably painful & quiet place. Just turn 'em over, keep those pedals moving. Be Like the Squirrel. Finally, after rolling that 40:15 for about an hour-ish, I'm on top. I fucking made it, without taking a god damn step, booyahh!

Cycling is Geigh!

Wasn't quite sure if I had it in me, but somehow I found what I needed. Dug down deep into that dark corner, found some inspiration and just kept rolling. One foot in front of the other, using the entire body to turn those pedals round and round and round. Liked the climb up Reddish better than the Nutt, a bit less pitchy, and better traction. Only soooo much longer, a solid hour's effort with a mild break here or there near the top, picking off one rider after another after another, so many dangling carrots. I somehow only lost less than 15minutes to Bishop over the section, something I'm kinda happy with.

The ride back to town was relaxing, once my hands got their feeling back after the looooooong brake skimming descent. I simply rolled the gear over those last couple rollers into Dayton and we settled into a nice cruising tempo gruppetto. Cheryl's bike gizmo flipped 100miles a block or so from Carp's house, 7ish hours of ride time I think, 8:08 elapsed on my watch, other fancy gizmos showed 8000ft of climbing, will let the false advertising slide, this time.

Dragon slayed.

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