Last week I asked for help with gearing choice and climbing tips for The Grizzly bike ride. Here is a link to the thread http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-advice-needed
Well the ride was yesterday and I'm proud to say I completed it successfully. It was without doubt the hardest ride I've ever done, 65 miles, over 7,700 ft of climbing, most of which was done in the mist and rain. It was a very scenic course through the NC mountains with elevation changes ranging from 2,800 to over 5,000 ft. It was also very humid in the last half of the ride. I had my bike fitted with a Rival mid cage derailleur and an 11-32 cassette for the ride and although I tried not to use the 32T cog, I had to on the Cat 1 climb up Beech Mountain which was brutal. I now know why Lance Armstrong used this climb to train for the TdF!! I finished in 5 hrs 35 mins and probably lost about 20 mins when I was beset by a calf cramp. I did have to stop a couple of times going up Beech but never had to walk!! Thanks to everyone for their advice which I found helpful.
Any joy I might have felt for finishing the ride was replaced with sorrow for a fellow rider who was killed in an accident close to the start of the ride. Apparently he lost control of his bike rounding a sharp blind curve at about 40mph and slid directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The accident must have happened just a few minutes ahead of me, I was in a pack that rounded the curve and passed him laying in the road and being attended to. We did not find out till half way through the race that he had died. It was tragic and I still feel shaken up. My thoughts and prayers are for his family.