Storming of Thunder Ridge, 2016


Yesterday I rode in one of the–if not the–premier cycling events in Virginia, the annual Storming of Thunder Ridge in Lynchburg, VA to benefit their YMCA.  The ride features 27, 45, 75, and 100 mile routes as options.

I have done this ride twice before and completed the Century both times so I knew what level of preparation was needed and what the recovery felt like for the next day or two afterwards.

I knew I was going into the ride unprepared because I just haven’t trained or logged very many miles on the bike this year.

I vacillated between riding the 45-mile route or the 75-mile route the days leading up to the event but decided to try to ride 75 miles.  But I had decided in advance that if I got too achy, felt any sort of twinges or cramps, or if I thought I was pushing too hard that I would just stop riding since this is a fully supported event with plenty of volunteers driving SAG vehicles.  I also knew I had a big week this week with at least 60 miles of kayak paddling/training for the James River Rundown and a rescheduled Tye River Race this coming Saturday.

I made it most of the way up the mountain for the 3,300′ climb but my legs felt like they turned into lead weights at some point and just felt strained.  This wasn’t bonking or “push through it” type stuff, this was, “Dude, you are completely unprepared for this, what were you thinking?” type agony.

I was a couple miles from the summit when I did some quick calculations in my head and realized that I could still peddle respectable miles and I would be in much better shape if I turned around and glided back down the mountain rather that making it to the top and dealing still with a significant amount of climbing over the last 25 miles on the other side.

Besides, I could get some cool video that way, too.

So I headed back down the mountain and kept riding the reverse of the route I had just ridden until a SAG driver spotted me and I gladly took him up on his offer of a lift back to the start.  At that point, I had ridden 44.82 miles.  Respectable, I thought.

Analysis of my first 2.7 hours of riding

And there was something else on my mind.

I had spotted a kayak on Craigslist in Roanoke a couple days earlier and wanted to make sure I had enough of the day left to make the 1-1.5 hour drive to look at the boat.

I’ve been looking for a different boat for my 100-mile ultra marathon kayak race, The James River Rundown, in a few weeks and thought this might be a pretty good boat for the race and at a reasonable price.  I had looked at the same model of boat several years earlier and liked the design of the boat, but at that time, I thought the guy selling it simply wanted too much money for it so I passed on it.

It turns out, I did indeed get some good video of the bike ride yesterday and drove back to Charlottesville with a new kayak on my roof racks, a Prijon Beluga, which is an old-school boat that, in its day, was a hybrid between a downriver racer, ocean kayak, and workout boat.

More about that tomorrow.

For now, enjoy some video from Storming of Thunder Ridge, 2016.


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