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Old 05-18-14, 07:15 PM   #1
Let's do a Century
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Storming of Thunder Ridge Century Report

JimF and I did the 100 miler today. It is out of Lynchburg, Va and this is the 5th year of the ride. They had 400+ riders doing all 3 routes.

Gorgeous area this time of year. LOTS of rolling hills. In some cases some far off views of the countryside.

Jim and I caught up briefly before the ride. He had ridden it before and gave me a great overall description of the route and details on the major climb and descent.

Perfect day to ride-temps started out in the high 40s with sunny skies but just required arm warmers plus light long fingered gloves. It was a mass start but it was really hard to get the inertia started with this group. I'm used to folks sprinting from the start but today it was pretty sluggish. I wound up out front at about the start and stayed out front for the first 5-6 miles. I was doing a good TT pace which I knew was not how you wanted to start a 100 mile ride but the legs and lungs felt fine so what the heck. I finally dropped back a few riders since things had gotten off to the kind of start I was more accustomed to.

This was NOT a flat ride. In fact there was a little more climbing the first 25 miles than what I was expecting but I was with a good small group and we did okay for ourselves. The signature climb is 13 miles at an average of 6% on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was able to do the 13 miles in 1 hr 25 minutes which I was okay with. I am not a fast climber...I think that for every rider I passed 3-4 passed me. Jim had pointed out that the 13 miles went from 700 ft above sea level to around 4000 ft. It was a little cool at the top but tolerable. I made a brief stop at the rest stop at the top at 38 miles and then descended for several miles.

They had cautioned us about Hwy 43 being very technical and Jim had told me it really wasn't that bad and he was right on target. I think you could do it without touching your brakes if there wasn't any gravel in the turns.

What did surprise me was the stingers from mile 50 -60. There were lots of repetitive, short 10% hills where you could not get any momentum going down and they felt a lot steeper than 10%. They were relentless. It didn't help we'd ridden the 13 mile climb not long before.

I grouped up with another fella at the 75 mile rest stop and we rode the next 10 miles at a very good clip. We probably averaged 23-24 mph as we had a little tailwind and some nice downhill sections. We separated at about 85 miles on some long climbs. There were lots of hills the last 15 miles or so.

I finished solo in 6 hr 29 mins and had just shy of 8900 ft of climbing on my Garmin. I was really surprised that there was just about as much climbing the last 50 miles as the first 50 miles. The first 50 miles had fewer but long climbs. The last 50 miles and a lot more but not as long.

The start finish was at a Y so they had nice shower facilities and pizza, pasta salad plus cold watermelon to munch on. Lynchburg is a really nice town and area and those on the East Coast might really like doing either the Century or even the 75 miler.
Ride your Ride!!
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Old 05-18-14, 08:06 PM   #2
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Wow great ride and great ride report - you my new hero! (with apologies to all my old heroes)

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Old 05-19-14, 03:31 AM   #3
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Great report JPPE! Glad the trip was worth it for you. I had a pretty good day, for me, but did it at a lot more leisurely pace. (The pace was leisurely, but not the effort.)

I had a 7:25 riding time. 6.5 hours seems freakishly fast to me

My Garmin unit showed 10000+ feet, but when I uploaded to GC it showed about what you had, at 8980 ft.

The weather was so much better this year than last year, that there's no comparison. Imagine riding those 13 uphill miles on the parkway, and not being able to see a damn thing except for constant steady rain. Ugh. I'll take the cold start, no problem!
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Old 05-19-14, 05:21 PM   #4
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I'm sorry that I had to miss this ride this year. The Thunder Ridge climb is the longest contiguous climb on the entire Parkway. And those 5 or 6 sharp rollers will hurt if you're riding it hard. Really good route.

Glad you guys had a good day. I will be there next year.
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