Rapha Rising Day One and the Woman’s 100


62.6 Miles

6400 Ft climbing


Renate rolls up and out of the mist that has settled in on Woody’s Gap. Pasty white, overweight teenagers wearing “lids” and wannabe gangsta shorts hangin’ off their hind-side listen to Hip Hop thumping from the trunk of their car. “I’m a grinder, I’m Supah grinder…”  It’s a surreal picture for a Sunday morning deep in the North Georgia Mountains far away from any real urban center.

From the mist Renate emerges

From the mist Renate emerges

Renate happens to be an accidental participant in the Womans 100 challenge from Rapha. “why do you always do this to me?” the reply reads on my Facebook post announcing I had signed her up for a challenge to ride 100km in a single day. “First the Spartan Race and now this” she chides on but finally concludes with, “Ahh, let’s just do it!” Yes, that’s the girl I know and love.  To be fair, I think she has ridden a road bike about 3 times in the last 6 months and frankly has no business attempting 62.5 miles let alone doing it over 3 of the 6-Gap century course.

New Rapha Imperial Works Kit to commemorate the first day of the Rapha Rising Challenge

New Rapha Imperial Works Kit to commemorate the first day of the Rapha Rising Challenge

I have learned through the years to let Renate ride her own pace. If you ride alongside or too close and push the pace, she gets aggravated. She prefers to look around and observe the life that is happening around her than to forge ahead at breakneck speeds, suffering through the miles with nothing but a blur for the memory of it. So I ride to intersections or a hill crest then stop and wait. When you see the world through Renate’s eyes, you cannot help but smile and revel in the wonder that is nature.Renate Wolfpen

We crest Wolfpen Gap where the rough pavement has been replaced with fresh tarmac. Smooth roads are one of Renate’s simple riding pleasures and she conveys her approval with enthusiasm. We collect and use a jug of water hidden in the forest to refill our bottles and re-hydrate our bodies. “So this is Neels?” “No”, I reply “this is Wolfpen, Neels is next”. She looks at me with the face of a child after receiving a no to the eternal question, “are we there yet?” We take a long break while we chat with a woman from Atlanta and then her husband, and later their friend, who has resorted to pushing her bike up the steep side of Wolfpen.Horse in Field

The ride down Wolfpen was a bit precarious as roadwork was incomplete leaving a 3-4 inch step down the center-line and loose, sticky tarmac coated gravel along the fall line of the remaining side. Using the whole road to negotiate the sharp switchbacks to control the speed was not an option today. I waited at the base of Neels for Renate to arrive. When she did we began the slow arduous climb.Renate Millers Gap



“I’m delirious” she remarked upon her arrival at the top. I laughed as I steadied her while she dismounted her bike. Coca cola and Honey Stinger waffles from the Mountain Crossings Outfitters satisfied our sugar cravings while we spent a long deserved pause. Some spicy beef jerky was a welcomed departure from the sweet Honey and Probar chews we had been consuming. No need to stash water here, the facility provides outdoor access to a water faucet for use by Hikers, bikers, and cyclists alike. A collection of wore torn boots with stories to tell, hang from the ceiling of the outfitters, paying homage to their purpose.

Boots hang from the ceiling in homage

Boots hang from the ceiling in homage

The descent off Neels provides wide cambered switchbacks that are not only a pleasure to ride but allow for safety at speeds of over 45mph. Half way down I scrub my speed and wait for Renate to pass. As I ride well behind her, I watch in horror as an impatient motorist driving a Porsche, passes dangerously close and then cuts in front of her, missing her by about 6 inches. These things often take Renate off her game yet she soldiered on like a trooper without a hitch.

We stopped briefly at the bottom near Turner’s Corner Café to regroup. 28 miles and 4,000 ft were now logged. Renate was not thrilled to hear that we were less than halfway through with the challenge. The look she gave me when I told her we needed to repeat the wine route two times was just precious. Together we agreed that we would ride it once, and then stop at the café for some coffee and pie before deciding what to do next. Renate, after all, was shaped by her mother who was skilled in the fine art of Pavlovian Conditioning who would dispense chocolate treats to her children during hiking adventures in order to keep them moving when morale and motivation was low. The idea of coffee and pie at a streamside café sent Renate spinning down the road in Pavlovian bliss.

"No rest for the weary"

“No rest for the weary”

The winery loop, as the folks from Hiker Hostel call it, is a series of punchy climbs and undulating rollers that challenge the legs and provide some additional elevation to our ride. I ride up a short, wall-like hill that requires some quick planning to ensure the proper gearing needed to complete the climb. By the time I put my cleat down at the top and before I can turn around I heard the slightly anticipated “whoaaahuuuhaah”. I turn slowly to find Renate is literally, upside down in a ditch! I refrain from laughter until I can get her safely separated from pedal and bike. With more than a little cachinnation, we collect ourselves and ride on. A fieldstone chimney stands hauntingly solo in the middle of a field. An orange truck amongst a collection of forgotten automobiles marks the intersection with Damascus that guides us along the wavelike rows of grapevines that is Frogtown Cellars.

This orange truck has not moved in 4 years.

This orange truck has not moved in 4 years.

Before we turn right towards the café, Renate is in quite deliberation. We can take a left, return to a warm shower, hot food and then rest in failure or take a right ride two miles, take a short rest at the café then repeat the wine route one more time. We ride slowly towards the café while Renate mutters, “I want…..no….. No more hills”.

The waitress’ at Turner’s Corner Café were extremely friendly and very attentive. We were quickly served up hot coffee, sweet tea and peach cobbler while we relaxed outside on a deck as the Chestatee River runs beneath us. The warm peach cobbler was absolutely delicious and it certainly filled the void created by the hard 50 miles and 5000 ft of climbing. Casual conversation and jocularity with other friendly cyclists at neighboring tables provide the distraction Renate needed to keep her mind off the last 13 miles we needed to complete the challenge.

Staring at each other

Staring at each other

Rerunning the wine route was probably not the best way to get in the balance of the miles as Renate prefers not to retrace steps, but I do not know the area well and this is the “flattest” section in Dahlonega I know. The closer we get home the more the miles wear on poor Renate’s fading will. With only about a tenth of a mile to the hostel we realize we were half a mile short of our goal and so we ride repetitive 0.15 mile loops on the crest of a hill until the inevitable scream bellows from her lungs and her hands thrust skyward like she had just bagged a TdF stage win.

The Face of Exhaustion

The Face of Exhaustion

That night, sleep came easy and the next day, I rode alone.

The Road Contains Memories

June 28, 2014

45 Miles


I return to CT once a year to visit with my family. This year I will use the time to train for my upcoming trip to Georgia when I attempt to complete the Rapha Rising Challenge in late July. The challenge is to ride 8800 meters of climbing in nine days. Training in Miami to prepare for this challenge is difficult to say the least. Southeast CT provides rollers and progressive graduated climbs perfect for taking a flatlander up a notch before I take on the kind of sustained climbs GA offers up. Riding the tarmac of my youth is an olfactory experience triggering those emotional rollers of nostalgia.

It starts when I pull into the parking lot of Mystic Cycle Center. The smell of the salt marsh surrounding the shop reminds me of the countless hours I spent pining over imported Italian steel frames and deliberating over the choice between Campagnolo beauty and the new index shifting from Shimano. Once known as Mystic Valley Bicycles the business is now co-owned by Rick Ely an Iron Man triathlete turned business owner who I trained alongside in the local community pool. He was a living legend for us mere mortals back in the early eighties and when I say “trained alongside”, I mean we shared the same pool while I trained and he shredded water.

Riding through downtown Mystic and over the draw bridge the salt water smell engulfs you as the sea breeze gently caresses your face and arms. I remember the many times I crossed that bridge or counted its rise and descent while enjoying Guinness at John’s Café in the company of good friends and local characters. The Mystic River Bridge is a Bascule design built in 1922 spanning 85’connecting Stonington and Groton and still operational to this day. A friend and founder of Mystic River Photo, Richard Flesh, would tell you that it was the most photographed object in town.

Photo Credit: Connecticut's Historic Highway Bridges

Photo Credit: Connecticut’s Historic Highway Bridges

Taking the first right after crossing the bridge and onto Gravel Street I meander through the streets bordered by beautiful Victorian homes of bygone captains and the affluent citizens of the seafaring trade.

Pearl Street

Pearl Street

Mystic Seaport is in full view from Pearl Street while small Gaffe rigged sail boats gently navigate the Mystic River.

Gaffe Rigged Sailboat sales just in front of the Brilliant

Gaffe Rigged Sailboat sails just in front of the Brilliant

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s foremost maritime museum with a wooden boat collection that includes a whale ship, a sandbagger, a few schooners, a steamboat and even a square rigger. I remember visiting the seaport many times through my adolescence developing a passion for wooden boats in the process. It was every local kid’s first trip to a planetarium and the colonial village was an education on early American life. I cannot count how many times I boarded The Charles W Morgan spurring my imagination about whaling off the shores of New England. When I heard they have finally restored her to sailing condition I was thrilled.

I continue my ride down the Mystic River and head north onto Shewville Road lined by iconic CT stonewalls, horse fence and rolling green pastures. Shewville is filled with false flats and undulating climbs that keep the heart rate, effort and excitement high. Segments are bordered by deep, lush, forest with a smell of earth, foliage and flora delivered by a cool, light breeze. An outcropping of six foot tall Queen Anne’s lace decorates the road side while wildflowers can be found everywhere you look. I can remember my long commutes to and from work included this beautiful road where I would pick the very same wildflowers on my way home to present to my girlfriend now wife, Renate.

A proper sized breakdown lane makes for safe travel on busy highways

A proper sized breakdown lane makes for safe travel on busy highways

A short jaunt on busy Route 2 with the odor of automobile exhaust connects me with Brickyard lane where the heady, fragrant, aroma of honeysuckle warmed by the summer sun fills my nose reminding me of when my brothers and I would pick the flower heads off and suck the sweet nectar from the base of the petals. It was a simple childhood pleasure like blueberry picking or running through a water sprinkler. Brick yard lane is a series of punchy climbs that test the legs and lungs that travel through a canopy of trees so thick the change in lighting fooled me into thinking a summer storm was brewing.

Gravel road leading to nowhere

Gravel road leading to nowhere

To my left gravel roads lead to nowhere and small plantings of lilies grow in rows waiting to be cut for a dinner table display.



An old roadside gas pump next to a small building harkens to a bygone era and the sound of a lawn mower and the scent of fresh cut grass complete the experience. It is summer in Connecticut “and the living is easy”.

Rusty Pump on the crest of a climb

Rusty Pump on the crest of a climb

Longer climbs reward with long descents along the cornfields and pastures of the Shetucket Turnpike. The blue sky peeking through the green leaves of Sugar Maples towards the end of the first long descent betray the water that lies just beyond view. Even as an eight year old boy the parting of the forest was a landmark that filled me with anticipation. Pachaug was and is the first of three ponds on our “long” car ride to reach the last, Beach Pond, where we would spend all day swimming and playing in the cold fresh water. Even fresh water has a scent yet I fail to find words to describe it. Water is a mother’s secret weapon deployed in search of peace as nothing exhausts the virtually unlimited energy and angst of four young boys like a day at the beach.

Shetucket Turnpike - cresting climb just before Buttonwood Farm

Shetucket Turnpike – cresting climb just before Buttonwood Farm

The fast descent to Pauchaug is replaced by a steady ascent to Buttonwood Farm where fresh farm ice cream can be savored on a hot summer day with friends. The road continues down past the water lilies of Glasgo pond where shirtless boys sit along the shore fishing for bullheads and bass. Here begins a graduated climb that leads to the center of Voluntown. It is not much of a town center really, a gas station, post office and an elementary school is just about it. Here there is a ghost on the hill where I dare not go. My heart saddens as I think about all the hopes, fears and expectations of a talented cabinetmaker that lie buried in a graveyard beyond my route. Tears flow down my cheeks as I turn onto Pendleton Hill Road and ponder what would have become of his daughter’s life had she not departed us so very young. Rest in peace Sativa, you are forever in our hearts.

The Continental tires roll quietly along smooth, freshly laid tarmac smelling of petroleum while dried pine needles fall softly from coniferous balms like snowflakes as I make the climb away from Voluntown.The road is a rolling ascent along horse fence, country homes and stacks of cordwood until I reach the expansive sea of cornfields and aroma of freshly cut wood from the tiny sawmill of a hill top farm.

Cornfields as far as the eye can see

Cornfields as far as the eye can see

Such a beautiful view cannot be replicated by amateur photography yet photos I still take. A false flat at the top is made all the more difficult by the metered telephone polls that seem to mock your effort as they mark the distance yet travelled.

Telephone poles mark the distance

Telephone poles mark the distance

The ride continues along undulating terrain with a final climb to Pendleton Hill Church passing by the houses and roads of the girls I once knew. Skinny girls, round girls, smart ones, silly ones, tough ones, those a bit crunchy, and some more sophisticate, every one beautiful, and if truth be told I loved them all. During the ride I tally the ones I kissed and the ones I once wished I had. Memories so fresh, it is hard to believe they are more than thirty-five years old, seventeen in the making. Pedleton Hill

Although the pace of the descent off Pendleton hill is fast and furious, even at 45 mph, impatient motorists pass me around corners endangering us all. I so love the speed and with child like enthusiasm I let out a scream of delight so loud it inspires dogs to join in the revelry.

I ride past roads with names like Sleepy Hollow or Hangman hill and wonder if there is some story there somewhere. The fresh tarmac has disappeared replaced by the cracked and potted gravel embedded tarmac I remember so well. Town workers would lay down some hot tar layered with gravel and covered with sand allowing time and vehicles to magically work the stones into the decades old foundation. It was a wonderful opportunity for sixteen year old boys to play out their Dukes of Hazzard fantasies while driving at breakneck speeds sliding on the loose sand from side to side and on occasion to lose complete control. Meanwhile this rough pavement is sucking what little energy I have left out of my flailing legs.

Gravel Imbedded Tarmac

Gravel Embedded Tarmac

A turn on Babcock Road, then Wyassup Road and finally onto Rocky Hollow gets me through downtown North Stonington. Again, a school, library, post office and hardware store is all that marks its center. There are more memories of the time spent in that school than I am able to share in a single blog post. For a later time perhaps. On Rocky Hollow are some tennis courts, part of a recreational area championed by our childhood neighbor Mr. James McDermott. I learned to play tennis on those courts spending countless hours in the hot sun hitting balls against a backboard or practicing my serve. It was a great way to flush out teenage frustrations while imagining days of tennis glory. I never gave the man the credit he deserved and wished I had communicated a simple “thank you” when he was still alive. There is a lesson there folks.

Once across New London Turnpike I travel along Stony Brook Road while pedaling squares up its steep grade I come across a patch of Tiger lilies.

Tigerlilies - Mother's Favorite

Tigerlilies – Mother’s Favorite

Tiger lilies grow seemingly wild all over Southeast CT. They were my mother’s favorite flower and so my father would pick them from the roadside for her pleasure only to be disappointed by their short life. The wild is best enjoyed in the wild rather than kept dying in a vase.

Taugwonk road takes the last of me. A quick descent is followed by a steep ascent.

I am tired.

I am hungry.

I am buzzing.

Peqout Trail descends enough to ease my effort and so I coast through its lush green canopy. A couple more roads returns me to my car satisfied by my effort, renewed by the miles, and comforted by my past.

These roads hold dear memories.

Hill Work in Ohio

Visit a town with some regularity and it can become so familiar it can start to feel like home. Add some good habits to the mix like cycling and strength training and you start to drop some of those bad travel habits like late night TV and snacks. Yesterday’s ride had me sleeping like a baby, up and at em’, and productive all day contrary to the usual travel induced, all day brain fog my head is in on any given business trip. Just like Guinness I just don’t travel well.

Heavy downpours accompanied by intense lightning discouraged my riding plans so I headed straight for the gym after a long day reporting, strategizing, communicating, barking…..you know… Work. The hour of pushing and pulling in a gym doesn’t quite match the calorie burn and post ride euphoria I get from the bike but the alternative was a few cold ones at the bar followed by poor food choices.

The next day brought clouds and light rain. I waited alone at Biowheels for the group to form until I was joined by Matthew and his friend Kyle. Now these guys are both fit (read: light and strong) hill climbers so I immediately offered up the chance for them to leave me behind. I am not sure if they were being polite or if they are secretly sadists prepared to bring the pain but they both agreed to ride with me in tow. So into the hill work through the rain we rode. I was riding well today so some adaptation had occurred over the last two days. I love the human body. Push it and it responds. The fact remains though, these guys took it easy on me.

The course was not much different than Monday up and down hills, through farmland and residential areas all beautiful to the eye. Thursday I put in a solo effort that added another thirty miles to the books. I return home to the hotel in time to pack the bike, Kit and business attire to prepare for Friday’s flight to Connecticut where I will ride on the roads of my youth and continue to prepare for my ten day cycling adventure in the mountains of Dahlonega, GA.

Off to Ohio

Work shuttles me once a month north to Ohio. When motivation is high, I bring the Mooney. On this trip I planned to spend a week in Cincinnati in servitude and then another week in Mystic, CT visiting folks. The prospect of two weeks off the bike inspired the necessary motivation to pack the bike and kit along with my business attire, drag the bike around, rent large vehicles, pay the baggage fees, and subject frame and wheel to airport portage abuse.

 I arrived at the Cincinnati airport on Sunday morning with full intentions on riding three to four hours in the seven hills. By the time I made it to the hotel two hours later, a massive headache had me face done in a pillow while my bike remained safe and secure in its travel case. The ride would have to wait. “Best laid plans…” The next day a colleague informed me that there was a group ride starting about seven miles from the hotel. Things were looking up.


I arrived at Biowheels just in time to purchase some CO2 cartridges, borrow a track pump from the shop, top off the wheels, shake some hands and leave with the “A” group. The ladies and gentleman of this shop ride took off up the first hill climb like the “A” group hill climbers I am not. I was sucking some serious wind trying to hold their wheels for the next several miles while my bronchial tubes wheezed like a grampus reminding me that I was not prepared for hammering climbs. My colleague Matthew being a gentleman, rolled back to ride with me for the entire ride. I gave him an opportunity to leave me to my own devices but he refused and so I welcomed his company.


It was a pleasant yet difficult ride, plenty of small steep hills and long steady climbs to help me prepare for Dahlonega, GA. We rode on roads reminiscent of my home town of North Stonington; stone embedded tarmac lined with stone walls and deciduous trees. Homes of affluence, farmland and forest filled the view. Hot summer air singed my lungs and warmed my quads as we meandered the seven hills of north of Cincinnati. I returned to my hotel room feeling great and anxious for the riding in store for the coming days.


Inside Stories

“This is what made you cry”, I asked?

“It reminds me of you!”, she replied with an outpour of emotion instantly conveying to me that I was in her heart and in her mind… that I was loved deeply and without restraint. 20140610_082642-1

I had just finished reading a page from Inside Stories II upon her request as she was admittedly unable to complete the read on her own. The book is a sequel to Inside Stories containing pictures of the very labels you can find sewn inside a pocket or inside flap of one of their high quality road cycling garments. Apparently this label hit home.20140610_082737-1

It reads:

“We ride silently, like mime artists, through the city. Invisible lines guide us as we negotiate favourite corners, ridden with a little extra speed; that bench at the top of the hill, the perfect stop to marvel at the skyline; a shortcut behind an old pub, memories still ringing with drunken laughter.

We move with hardly a sound, uncovering the city with movement. Every rider draws their own intimate map of the metropolis with these untraceable grooves. The road continues to buzz with hard reality, but in amidst the din, thousands of invisible routes are blooming, as the two wheels carve new lines through the madness.”

One of the objectives of a savvy marketing team on a storied brand is to make an emotional connection with the consumer. Touch them in a way that cultivates a loyalty to the brand. To go so far as make an emotional connection with a customer’s spouse, well, then you know these guys have a finger on the pulse. I am speaking, of course, about the marketing genius of Rapha.

I discovered Rapha in 2009 while searching for tasteful cycling kit that performed well. What I found was an internet based brand with a website filled with road cycling content. The Continental was making its way across the USA, riding steep gravel roads on little known routes in some very remote areas of our beautiful country. The stories written by one of the riders in the group, photographs taken, or video filmed in iconic black and white, conveyed the effort and emotion, the very suffering experienced during a difficult climb or extended route through extreme weather. These stories reminded me of the countless hours I had spent in the saddle 25 years past.

Rapha had made that connection and then delivered on its promise.

The Elements

Two days riding in the hills of Sebring was a study of riding in the wind and rain. Like an illustration from Jo Burt the group remained in tight formation with the force of nature surrounding us like the darkness of night. Respite is found only for those skilled in the art  of sucking wheel. In front of me a rider begins to struggle with the affects and allows gaps to open then work his way back to the wheel causing the accordion effect I despise. Others in the group had less patience than I and began voicing their opinions emphatically. The gentleman rotated out and was gone.

It is the way of the cyclist. Keep up, contribute, and share, else go it alone. No one waits or hardly cares.

I spent a bit too long at the front in the wind. Failing to rotate before exhausting reserves I found it difficult to hold onto the back and I too was gone.  I was amongst the dropped in just over 20 miles leaving me alone and more than a little disappointed. A small groupetto of five formed that quickly became three. We three worked together pretty well but the work was hard and the result was marginal. The wind was winning.

I spent the balance of the day in recovery.

The news was foreboding. Heavy rain was expected on our second day and the morning sky confirmed its impending arrival. The peloton travelled at a fair clip over the hills, through the orange groves, and along the lake. “You must have had a good night’s sleep”, Ken News commented noting my arrival to the rest stop in good position. 

The sky grew grim and everyone instinctively mounted their bikes to finish the ride before it broke loose. We rode around the lake in formation with Sindicato taking lead. Jackie Leon was just in front of me riding confidently. I could not help but be impressed by the progress she has made in the past few years and when it was her turn she rode the front steady and strong.

Once again I spent too much time at the front and just before a set of hills that loosened a few of us off the back. About six in all we rode as the heavens poured rain like a waterfall in spring. We arrived at a gas station with 15 miles left when a rider said let’s hold up for a couple of guys. I played along and enjoyed a hot tea while we engaged in idle conversation.  The time seemed to be slipping away when I eventually asked, “for whom are we waiting?” “The SAG” was the response.

“I came to ride”, I muttered as I mounted the Mooney. “You’re a wild man”, was the response. I shuttered at the thought of spending hours with five shivering cyclist at a gas station waiting to be rescued rather than ride a mere 15 mile.  The rain continued to pour from the sky. Beads of water formed on the bill of my cap moving side to side with the cadence of my pedal stroke. Again like a Jo Burt illustration I had to breathe from the side of my mouth to avoid breathing water into my lungs.

Sleep came easy like it always does when you spend the day exposed to the elements.

Return to Sebring

I am looking forward to spending a spring weekend rolling around the hills, lakes and orange groves of Sebring, FL  with Ken and company from the Highland Pedalers. Two metric centuries should be just what I need to dislodge my fitness worries and add some much need miles to my base. I wouldn’t call the regular diet of rollers climbing, but the grades are just enough to shake you loose from the peloton should you arrive unprepared.  

The Highland Pedalers proudly host the Everglades Bicycle Club providing route marking, ride marshals and SAG for the EBC Spring Break Weekend. The routes are well marked, the rest stops are well stocked and the people are friendly. What I really dig about the weekend is the rural countryside we cruise around for a few hours each day.

If you are looking at getting the hell out of Miami for a weekend of countryside riding, pack up the SUV Wednesday night, skip work at 1:00 and head north to Sebring.

That’s what I will be doing.


The day after a big ride can sometimes leave you without your mojo. Gym rats don’t get it. Tell a gym rat you were cooked after a hard 75 mile ride and they will ask, “are you sore?”  These guys don’t understand. An endurance athlete doles out the effort over four to five hours, exhausting energy stores of glycogen, draining his will, depleting his very soul.

No I am not sore, I am wasted.

Almost like a hangover, you pull yourself out of bed moving slow and deliberate. The mind in a haze, simple tasks take your entire focus. You slide your tongue across the roof of your dry sticky mouth to confirm the headache you feel is caused by dehydration. This is the kind of dehydration that takes an entire day to cure. After a few hours you give in and take some NSAIDS for relief. Staring off into the distance you keep telling yourself, “I have to ride. Just 30-40 miles will be good. Just go easy”. Then nothing, you don’t move an inch. Almost paralyzed you keep staring while feelings of guilt however strong cannot motivate you to ride. Your body knows what it needs and it is taking control.

Last night I spent an hour in the gym with Thomas providing direction. Today, I am a little sore…but I am not wasted.

Easter’s Best

Riding out on Saturday I came across Alex Labora returning from his morning jaunt. He was kind enough to roll in my direction for a while providing enough time to catch up and make plans to ride Sunday’s regular ride to Gorgio’s. This ride is usually pretty spirited and with the winds we have been enduring lately the lactic acid will flow.  Whether out front pulling or sucking wheel there will be little respite, no quarter for the weary.

The thought of Sunday’s effort made me rethink my Saturday mileage. I can feel Thomas’ Friday evening strength training on my legs while anticipating sixty at tempo while keeping cadence at 90-100. At Deerfield I topped off the hydration supply and squeezed in a bit of honey to fuel the Mito. I have changed my onboard nutrition towards the simple. Tea, lemon, and honey fill the bidons while a concentrated mixture inside a recycled EFS bottle is nestled in my right jersey pocket at the ready for quick refuels. The legs feel fine so the original sixty stay as planned.


The return home consisted of a series of chases as I encountered solo riders en route. These carrots help me keep the pace high while maintaining my target cadence. Road construction forced me to ride some rough tarmac laden with debris. A quick fix following a flat was executed in the shade of the mangroves lining the sidewalk. A bench makes for light work by limiting time spent bent over the wheel. Five miles later while rolling through the city the rear tire took another hit. This time a serious gash was torn into the sidewall. Application of a Knog Porno Patch to the inside of the tire and a Park Super Patch to the tube had me mounting the wheel in less than 5 min.

Knog Patch

20140419_193414In a fit of hunger I pan roasted chicken breast in herbs and GI then quickly dispensed with it. My simple on board nutrition leaves me little in the tank post ride and my restricted diet does not provide for quick fixes like recovery bars and drinks. As my hunger subsides so does my aggressive sense of urgency. No time to relax, must rush to the LBS to restock on tires and tubes. I prefer the comfort of a 24mm width tire. This store had only 23mm, so after some muttering under my breath, an impulse buy has me carting home a couple of Continental Grand Prix 4000… in Yellow! I am sure the racing thoroughbreds will be scoffing as yellow is exclusively reserved for the wearer of the maillot jaune, the leader of Le Tour.  “Sometimes as cigar is just a cigar”. I just like yellow.



Saturday night I changed two tires while simultaneously cooking dinner for Renate and me. Who says men don’t multitask. Dinner was delicious. The wheels look great. A quick chain cleaning completes the Mooney’s preparation for Sunday’s ride.






Pm003As it turns out, I did not wake early enough to join the group ride. Good thing too. The legs were well worn and a decision to keep the ride down to two hours was a prudent one. Still the bike looks great wearing it’s Easter’s Best.


2014 Six Gap Century

It may be premature, but I am setting my sites on the Six-Gap Century in September. It seems almost idiotic that this is the result of surviving a four day training block without any residual Sciatica pain. Friday night I cruised through the gym, Saturday I put in forty miles with decent results and Sunday I turned in another forty-two. Tonight’s gym workout finishes the four day block.

Planning out the annual training calendar is always exciting. You look forward with childlike enthusiasm at the coming months. Free from the pain of injury, the stress created by deadlines, the concern of time consumed by family affairs and free from self doubt, all is possible. Soon you have a Grandfondo scheduled every weekend and a training schedule that looks more like a professional race calendar. More than a little pruning produces a more realistic calendar and promises to keep Renate from going AWOL.

So that’s it.

The 2014 Six Gap Century.

One big event to focus on.

Everything else is training.

The ride consists of eleven thousand feet of climbing over six mountain passes with none tougher than Hogpen Gap averaging a 7% grade over seven miles. Your thoughts transcend reality as Hogpen slows you to a crawl while expending maximum effort. Once you crest the gap you descend at break neck speeds while experiencing a freefall into fear.  

Oh yes please, more…more of this.