Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Greenville, SC Training Camp

Spent the long weekend in Greenville, South Carolina. The weather was awesome with temps in the 70s. We ended up with about 240 miles and 15 hours of riding over the 3 days. Here is the short version.......ride, eat, sleep...ride, eat, sleep...ride, sleep, eat. This must be what it is like to be a pro cyclist?

Here is the longer version. Dating back to 2005 I have headed south during the month of February for some bike racing and riding. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 I raced the 12 hours of Razorback and in 2008 it was the 12 Hours of Santos. After skipping 2009 and 2010, I decided I needed to head south for a respite from the long and cold Cleveland winter.

Greenville, SC has developed into a biking mecca featuring nice roads, plenty of climbing, and a cool downtown area. In addition to being the home of the US Pro Championships the last few years, the town is also home to many roadie pros including George Hincapie, Brent Bookwalter, Craig Lewis among others.

Day 1 was me, John and Derek. Weather was perfect with the exception of some gusting 15 mph winds. The highlight of the day was the Caesars Head Mtn climb which is a 6 mile climb with an 8% average grade that gains just over 2,000 feet. For John and I it was 48+ minutes of suffering. Derek was a bit faster. Here is a photo from the top.

After the climb we rode down the other side towards Brevard, NC. We turned around in Brevard and rode the 14 miles back up to the top. The descent back down was RIDICULOUSLY fast and fun. For the day we ended up with 80 miles, 5 hours ride time and according to Derek's computer thingy about 5,300 feet of climbing

Day 2 was supposed to be an ez base mileage day. Derek was racing so it was just John and I. We rode to downtown Greenville in search of a group ride but decided to head to the local spring race series instead. We did 5 laps of the 7 miles circuit in the opposite direction of the racers and were able to cheer for Derek and watch while we were riding. It was a nicely attended event with over 450 racers in the various fields including big George Hincapie. For the day we ended up with 4:50 and 75 miles.

Day 3 was a big day. Derek opted for the local crit while John and I did the Bakery Ride to Saluda, NC. The day started with our ascent of the 2 mile Paris Mtn climb which is featured in the US Pro race. After that, we did a rolling 30 or so miles towards the Greenville Water Shed. At this point we started a 10 mile gradual ascent towards Saluda, NC. After 50 miles we stopped in Saluda for lunch and headed back. It it took us 3 hours to get to Saluda and 2 to get home. For the day we ended up with 5:30 hours and 81 miles.

After all our rides we cleaned up and headed out for dinner and a few beers. We were pretty knackered each day and were in bed sleeping by 9 or 10pm each night. After visting the home of Hincapie Sports on Monday morning we hit the road. The trip back was smooth until we got into Ohio. It took us 5:30 hours to get home from Marietta due to the shitty Ohio weather. All in all a great trip. Definately a place I'd like to go back to.

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