J, A, K and I headed west to Front Royal to sample the wares from Massanutten and Skyline's finest. What an absolutely perfect day for it.
Headed down Fort Valley Road, we kept a pretty hot pace. A must have had a second bowl of Wheaties because he had the fever. Rolling. At one point we even reined him in with the "dude, two huge climbs ahead" rouse. That calmed things down a little bit, until Massanutten. I thought Massanutten was bigger than it is. I thought it was long enough to put on the headphones and enjoy some nice Strauss (I'm very Teutonic about these things). Turns out I'd reloaded some music and had to settle for Allman Brothers. "Whipping Post" would have been ideal, but "Stormy Monday" started things off. And ended things. It's only like a six minute climb, which I took at threshold thinking it was longer. The descent off that piece is a fookin' screamer, though, chief. Let me tell ya. Quick.
Brief stop in Luray for grub and drinks, and back at her. This was the only stretch where the wind wasn't a hindrance. It was dead ass tail wind, so we're approaching the 211 climb going like 26. The 211 climb is great, a perfect training climb. I could see going out there and doing repeats on that, or maybe doing a ridge workout alternating between the east and west slopes. J punked me at the top. Bastage. I felt good climbing, and I was pumping out 340-350w feeling totally aerobic for a while, but then had to settle down to like 300 and sometimes less. I didn't have the mojo to descend the chipped, loose and slimy steps to the pain cave to keep the effort up. When J pulled alongside for the second time late in the game, I put in a big dig (BIG) but couldn't sustain it and he cruised by when I failed.
The climb immediately north of Elk Wallow (there are no elk around here, are there? I haven't seen any) is way longer than Massanutten. You tend to think "I'm done, I can just cruise this one in" when you pass Elk Wallow, but you're wrong. Especially with a 25mph cross/head wind. We had to keep the pressure on to keep moving along.
The final descent was a little different than normal thanks to the wind. It was a threshold effort to keep the pace on, but I exacted my fat guy's revenge on J. Then augmented my advantage at the Foster's Grill. Love that place.
Due to my idiocy, I now own a Garmin 500. I really like it, but you have to turn it off after the ride's over. Otherwise your top soled becomes 80, your distance ridden goes haywire, etc. It doesn't know you're in the car. Duh. There are some cool things about the Garmin software but generally it stinks and I need to figure out what to do on that.
A great day with a perfect cast of characters. MTB today. Nice.