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Bicycle Toy and Hobby T2T Training Ride Report

timv's picture

Yesterday morning, I joined Blake and Andy to skate the final training ride for the 2007 Tour to Tanglewood. After several warnings that this would be the hottest weather of all the training rides this summer, we set off from downtown High Point at very nearly the official starting time of 8:30 AM. The skate out of town was mostly downhill, as you might correctly expect when leaving a city named "High Point," and it was nice road surface on four-lane divided arteries with traffic stopped by the police at most intersections.

This was my first long on-road skate in several years. Unlike most other events that I've done, it didn't offer multiple distance options, which I suppose makes some sense when it's the last chance to prepare for Tanglewood. According to the route sheet, the length was 38.4 miles, which was just a bit longer than my previous long skate of the summer, 32 miles at Country Park the week before last Tuesday, so I wasn't too worried about the distance. I was concerned about the heat though.

The first 15 or so miles were pleasant and not too hard. This was the first time I'd met Andy and we chatted about various stuff and settled in for the distance. We spent a few minutes at the first rest stop at the Horneytown fire station then set off to do a loop that I figured was maybe five miles long or so.

I'd guess that it was probably about 10 AM by now and the temperature was climbing noticeably. We did a pretty long pull up a hill under intense sunshine and stopped to take a breather at the top, then continued a bit further down the road. I can't really remember how far at this point, but I think I heard Andy said that he had a sore foot and was heading back to the fire station to rejoin us on the way in. So he turned back and Blake and I pressed onward.

That loop section turned out to be considerably longer than I had guessed, surely at least ten miles in length. The condition of the pavement was also a lot worse than what we'd been skating on. I was getting some very intense and not particularly pleasant foot massages on the fast downhills and really struggling to get any kind of roll going back up. But Blake and I kept the pace slow and steady, and we enjoyed two unhurried stops at the shady and comfortable Baptist church rest stop along the way. (I'll leave it to Blake to comment on their breakthrough innovation in Gatorade dispensing.)

Some time in here I started wondering about Andy and whether he was waiting for us at the first rest stop or what. It had been over an hour since we had parted company, and we tried to call him but weren't able to get his celphone. He had seemed to be paying closer attention to the route sheet than the other two of us, so I hoped that he would figure out why we hadn't gotten back to him yet and understand that we hadn't meant to abandon him. We didn't see him again. And, Andy, I hope that the rest of your skate went really well.

The folks at the fire station stop were just about finished packing up their stuff when we made it back. But we got some nice cold bottles of water to drink or pour over our heads as we saw fit, and an irrationally exuberant butterfly became hopelessly smitten for my leafy green roadskater.net jersey. We were about three hours and fifteen minutes into the skate at this point and were pleased to learn that we had only about 8 miles to go to the finish.

It was pretty hot the rest of the way in, with mostly good pavement but more traffic than I would have liked, and (approaching a city named "High Point") more uphill than downhill. But no big dramas were encountered and we made it in with a total time of just under 4 hours. My longest roadskate to date was 50 miles in the Tour de Furniture in 2001, but this one took longer to do, I guess mainly because of the heat but also to some degree due to the rough asphalt on the loop section. It felt just as hard to do.

But I was pleased to have completed the skate and didn't feel totally destroyed by the effort. The folks at Bicycle Toy and Hobby and all the rest stop workers couldn't have been nicer, and as usual the cyclists were super friendly and generous with their praise for us skaters. This latter fact alone makes skating the training rides more fun and rewarding than doing them on bike, and I had a very good time doing this one yesterday morning.


eebee's picture

A Good Read

I enjoyed your write-up, Timv! Good that you got out to skate, and here's to 'no big dramas' :-)


timv's picture

It wasn't the same without you

We missed having you there, Elizabeth. A lot of bicyclists asked where you were. The roads could have been better (less busy streets in town, smoother smoother surface out of) and I was pretty worn out afterward--staying up all night to be at the starting time didn't help there--but it was ok and I'm glad I made it out.
eebee's picture

Night Owls

That's good to hear! Thanks. You night owl skaters'd be well suited for the Montreal 24 hr skate. Sleep from 5am - 11.30am, get up, skate through the pm and early am, and then go to bed at 2pm! You'd have an advantage over someone like me who starts hallucinating by 2am if not yet asleep...

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