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Old 06-30-08, 11:14 AM   #1
jppe
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Just another century

I rode "Blood Sweat and Gears" near Boone this past Saturday-103 miles with just short of 9000 ft of climbing. It is limited to 750 riders as it uses the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 25 miles and the Rangers limit the participants. Another 500 riders did the shorter 50 mile event.

This is becoming one of my favorite rides as it's a loop and has really nice roads and a number of different climbs. It is really something to hear and see folks screaming in pain riding (or a lot walking) up the featured climb-Snake Mountain. That climb easily tops out above 20% and is unrelenting. I finished within a minute of what I've done it in the last couple of years but I did move up to finish in 167th spot even though it was a pretty blustery day. For the first time on this particular ride I felt strong enough to be able to spend a lot of time riding in groups which helped immensely.

If you're interested in doing a mountain century this one would be a good one to do.

It's the second ride I've completed after using the V8 Fusion juice as prep the day before (tons of potassium and sodium) and I had very limited cramping.





Here are the more noteworthy climbs (information from my Garmin)

Climb Name-Start Mile Point for the Climb- Climb Length (miles)-Avg Grade (%)-Max Grade (%)

Shulls Mill-5.1-3.76-4.55-7.4
BRP #1-21.2-2.2-2.4-8.0
BRP #2-27.5-.65-5.6-10.0
BRP #3-29.9-4.1-3.2-8.0
Bill Hill Rd-53.0-2.4-2.2-14.7
Snake Mountain-58.6-4.2-5.2-21.0
Hwy 88-70.2-3.1-2.0-5.6
George's Gap-83.6-2.4-5.2-12.8
Bethel Rd-92.9-1.0-5.6-9.0
Mast Gap-99.9-0.5-7.3-10.0

Here's a picture of last year's start with everyone riding over the mats. I think this is what is called a Mass start. I was fortunate enough to be at the very start as it only took me about 10 seconds to get across the mat-and I only had to shove a couple folks out of my way!!!


Last edited by jppe; 06-30-08 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 06-30-08, 11:31 AM   #2
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Sounds like the V8 is the ticket plus I suspect your conditioning is better than last year. I started adding some salt to my oatmeal in the morning of the days that I ride just to get something in the pipeline.
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Old 06-30-08, 12:33 PM   #3
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How much Fusion did you drink? A full bottle? A glass or two? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 06-30-08, 04:42 PM   #4
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No amount of Fusion would get me up a 21% grade! Awesome, riding though.
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Old 06-30-08, 07:26 PM   #5
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Sounds like a wonderful ride! Also seems a bit like Ride Around the Bear here in SoCal That's 101 miles and 9,200 feet of climbing. Nothing as steep as that, I think 12% is the worst of The Bear.

So what were your overall and bike times (just for comparison to The Bear sake)?

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Old 06-30-08, 11:07 PM   #6
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That sounds right up our alley. I love a hilly century.

I've only done one mass-start century and didn't like it. We were close to the front of a crowd of nearly 8000. We were so relieved to get away from the inexperienced and unsure riders; their lack of bike handling skills was frightening. So more power to you for going for it.
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Old 07-01-08, 07:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainycamp View Post
How much Fusion did you drink? A full bottle? A glass or two? Inquiring minds want to know.
I drank most of the 46 ounce bottle during the day. Several of us are now looking for cheaper bottles in bulk. I can handle the blueberry and orange/pineapple but the strawberry/banana just doesn't do much for me.

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Sounds like a wonderful ride! Also seems a bit like Ride Around the Bear here in SoCal That's 101 miles and 9,200 feet of climbing. Nothing as steep as that, I think 12% is the worst of The Bear.

So what were your overall and bike times (just for comparison to The Bear sake)?

Rick / OCRR
  • 103 miles total distance
  • 8700 or 9700 ft of climbing (depends on which device is correct-I tend to go with the 8700 ft-BTW the ride advertises it as 13,000 ft)
  • Saddle time was 6hr 22 mins
  • 3 stops for a total of 5 mins
  • Total time was 6hr 27 mins
  • Max speed 48 mph-not many long straights on the descents-many of the steeper descents are more technical
  • Avg Speed 16.2 mph
  • 30% of the ride is climbing, 32% is descending and 38% is flat
  • 46% of riding time was ascending, 19% descending and the rest flat
  • Max HR 166 and Avg HR 142 (these are on the low end for me-which was intentional!)
  • In fact I was in the 80%-90% of max for only an hour total-and in the 70%-80% for 4 hours (very comfortable effort as you know)
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Old 07-01-08, 11:13 AM   #8
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Jeepers.

jppe, I think that you, Will Denhe and Hermes (and some others around here) must be related to the Hulk (and I don't mean Hogan).

FaSST, motor pacing, AoMM, BSaG. It's all brain stretching for me. Some more than others.

Oh well, back to my Walter Mitty existence...
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Old 07-01-08, 11:23 AM   #9
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The 5 minutes of "rest" is what gets me. I could do a less hilly century in 6:22, but I don't know if I could not eat lunch on the ground. Great going. I love the picture of the mass start, but have to second what Red Rider has said about being in a pack with inexperienced riders. Whew! But hey, I was one of 'em.
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Old 07-01-08, 12:25 PM   #10
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So V8 Fusion is the key, eh? I've got two bottles of that in my pantry. Hmmm ... I'm thinking century this coming weekend.
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Old 07-01-08, 02:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Jeepers.

jppe, I think that you, Will Denhe and Hermes (and some others around here) must be related to the Hulk (and I don't mean Hogan).

FaSST, motor pacing, AoMM, BSaG. It's all brain stretching for me. Some more than others.

Oh well, back to my Walter Mitty existence...
I think all of us would attest that doing these types of rides is just not something you do right after you start back into riding........but is very doable after some miles on the road. I've said over and over that I never intended to do these types of rides but now they've become fairly routine. It wasn't all that long I ago I was 55 lbs heavier and thought riding a bike 20 miles was beyond my abilities. If it's something you think you'd enjoy doing you can train and learn to do it. I think that for me I've learned over the past couple years I've discovered I enjoy doing these rides but I now try to ride within my capabilities and avoid viewing them as "races". It would take an inordinate amount of effort for me to get a lot faster and I think I'm happier at the level I'm at.......

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The 5 minutes of "rest" is what gets me. I could do a less hilly century in 6:22, but I don't know if I could not eat lunch on the ground. Great going. I love the picture of the mass start, but have to second what Red Rider has said about being in a pack with inexperienced riders. Whew! But hey, I was one of 'em.
It's interesting but I've just learned to eat and take breaks while I ride and only stop when I need fluids. I'm probably not the speediest rider but can generally ride at a comfortable speed for hours and hours. If I rode harder I suspect not only would I need more breaks I'd probably feel more trashed at the end. As many of you have pointed out varying positions on the bike by standing and moving around helps tremendously as well. I do stretches, swing my arms around, neck and shoulder scrunches, etc. Even wiggling your helment around helps!!!

I guess it also dawned on me that my latest saddle purchase is now okay. Nothing like giving a saddle several 100 milers and multi-hours of testing!! It has been a non-event the past few long rides and my butt has been fine the whole time. I think we've all learned not to take a good fitting saddle for granted!! It will be interesting to see how long this model works........

The key to mass starts is making sure you get in the front 1/4-1/3 of the group. 90 percent of the incidents seem to occur behind that-and probably fairly early in the ride. Believe me, I've ridden in enough large groups to have seen it all. I now plan to be at the start line and am not bashful about getting right behind the fastest riders.

I just wish they would outlaw lightweight carbon bottle cages that don't hold bottles on a bike.....or at least outlaw them after I've sold the ones I bought!!
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Old 07-01-08, 08:41 PM   #12
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Mass starts can be difficult. However, last year at the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in Texas the start had 11,205 bikes. They were able to get everyone moving in 20 minutes. They have been putting this ride on for about 30 years. Guess they have learned some tricks on getting a mass ride going. I will be going back this year.
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Old 07-01-08, 10:45 PM   #13
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That's a pretty d*mn impressive ride! I've got triple on my road bike, but I don't think I could do a single 20% grade, much less 100 miles of hills.
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