Following a slightly psychotic work week in which we got a whole bunch of final inspections out of the way (more to come), way way way too much time working plus with the added fun of head/chest infection (dust and whatever mold allergies came out in nature last week), we did the Trois Cols ride on Sunday.
Getting to the ride was a bit interesting. I’d long ago promised my god daughter that I would watch her slaughter all comers at a sailboat race on the Eastern Shore on Saturday, so we went over and did that. Great day on the water, absolutely perfect conditions. I miss being on boats all the time. Then we got home at like 930 and I had to build up a bike to use. My Kazane was delivered to its new owner last week, and the Novembers we are going to use as demos don’t come in until later this week. My option was an old Fuji Team, which I’d last used in 2007. The derailleur hanger was a bit janked, and I remembered having tapped and rethreaded it so that the shifting wouldn’t be quite so conceptual. I got it all sorted in about 90 minutes, using all sorts of toolbox scraps and various other “make it up” parts. The adapter sleeve that I used for the front derailleur clamp is interesting. But except for my perfect record of installing the Wipperman connect link backwards (it’s decidedly directional), the thing worked perfectly. My position was close to what it should be, my wife even commented that my back looked less tweaked on the Fuji than it did on the Kazane. The ride was a bit industrial. I don’t think I’ve ever done a ride even close to that ambitious on that frame before.
Starting from Exit 6 on 66, we went over Chester Gap along some really scenic and pretty roads, and then along more scenic roads to Marshall. In Marshall, I confirmed something that a ride in Lost River made me suspect - Honey Stinger products are an ABSOLUTELY INSTANT laxative for me. I mean, I open the package and I'm in a full sprint to the john. FULL. SPRINT.
From Marshall, we followed the standard route to Airmont and Bluemont to Mount Weather. Rectortown Road, a lovely thoroughfare, seems to have had a case of acne or something lately. I double flatted on a surprise pothole, which was just exactly what I wanted to do. Good thing I’d just emptied the tanks with the Honey Stinger incident, or else I definitely would have emptied them then. Then another of our group flatted about three or four miles later. WTF??? Mount Weather is an interesting beast. It's just on that hairy edge where you can take it a little mellow if you want or need to, but you cross that line just a little bit and it's on like donkey kong. I had done plenty of bus driving to that point, plus the hill came about 30 miles later in the route than it normally does, so I had a little bit of that not so fresh feeling. Plus, with my Honey Stinger discovery, I think I'd ejected some much needed nutrients, and wasn't eating enough anyhow. So I went up pretty quickly but not near to what I'd done when I'd climbed it really quickly about a month ago. I had a rabbit to chase this time, as a guy was going up a good clip about a minute in front of me. Nice guy, holy shit could he go down hill.
From the Mount Weather, we went to Naked Mountain. Mt. Nudity is thankfully quite short, although rather steep at the end. By this time, it was painfully obvious that I’d been negligent in my eating and wolfed a Clif Bar as soon as I got over the top. I would have eaten three if I’d had them. As we got down by 66, we stopped to eat. I had some Clif blocks, which are great. Then came the dilemma – a package of Pomegranate Passion Honey Stingers beckoned. Hmmm. I really wanted to eat them. So I did. And then I started to gurgle. Dammit. With 70 something miles in the rearview and less than an hour of riding left to go, I really didn’t want to fight that war. I really really didn’t want to LOSE that war, but I wasn’t hip to fight it either. I chugged a half a bottle of water, and that did some kind of magic.
The last 18 or so miles was a bit of a death march, but once we smelled the barn, things got a bit more lively and we the last mile was typically animated. From there, it was a direct line to Foster’s Grill. Aww yeah. Love that charburger.