Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 15: Sweating down the backroads

Day #15) June 27, 2011. Harrodsburg, KY to Elizabethtown, KY: 71 miles in 5:33 hrs.

Wow…I’m just crushed from today’s ride. The heat and humidity was just crazy today – temp of 86 with dew point of 73 - and after 5 and a half hours of power climbing I slithered into Elizabethtown drenched in sweat with my mouth so bone-dry that I’d felt as though I’d been eating cotton balls. Went non-stop and downed my two bottles of water.

So let’s start from the start. Go up this morning at 5:30 am to face yet another weather advisory, this one for a tracking of severe weather coming in from the west in IL and MO, and the advisory was calling for the potential for very damaging T-storms with hail. So again, there I was in the morning doing my Weather Channel vigil while checking out the Doppler on my computer, and looking out the window checking out the cloud cover. I’m this neurotic weather geek who just goes bonkers with all the information overload. So I went and grabbed some breakfast at the complimentary breakfast. And there I was moseying in and out of the office to the outdoors checking out the wind and clouds. I though seriously about just bagging it and sitting it out – same as I’d done the day before when the deluge hit early morning.

Hemming and hawing, hemming and hawing. Go for it….or don’t go for it. Finally I just went into autopilot and started packing. Having checked the Doppler for the umpteenth time I figured by the speed of the storm that I’d have about 5 hours to “git er done”, so I jammed and was out the door by 7am. Got going west on Rt 152, a super nice backcountry road that trended to Springfield, KY. The road was super and the traffic was negligible, but there was some power climbing. No worries though as the beautiful KY countryside made for a great backdrop to all the climbing. Now by this time I was out of the mts of KY, but in this farm countryside there are still these climbs the come again and again. You see, you kind of descend down to cross streams and small rivers, and then climb back out of the small valleys. And there are a slew of these stream crossings. It was like a roller coaster with all the ups and downs.

Made it into Springfield in like 2.5 hours. The weather was still holding so same strategy as yesterday - kind of pick off the bigger towns one at a time, making a stop at any of the three – Springfield, Bardstown or Elizabethtown based on the weather. Best case scenario was making it to Elizabethtown. So on to Bardstown, and that’s when the ---- hit the fan with the power climbing – just incessant! By then the temp had started to climb and the humidity was just sweltering. Made it to Bardstown by 3.5 miles into the day. My average, amazingly enough, was holding at 12 mph. Never did I use the big ring. It was middle cookie the whole time, and even then I was on that super huge pie plate in the back on numerous climbs.

The ITB issue with my left leg was replaced by a tweeking of my medial quad muscle, just ever so slightly. Has to be all the climbing I’d done for the past 12 straight days. So I really tried to relax out of the saddle and churn the easy gears with climbing in the saddle. So far it’s working out ok. I’m getting off of the bike and feeling good – leg wise. No soreness post-ride and that’s great. I am noticing my wrists, which with all the out of the saddle climbing, and now, what with dragging that yak, are feeling just trashed – sore to move the hand from side to side. And that’s both wrists. There’s a lot of torque on the wrists when climbing out of the saddle and moving around on the bars for 5.5 hours a day. And man, I just had to shake them out every 15 or so minutes.

The hardest part of the day was the trek from Bardstown to Elizabethtown. That puppy was 23 miles of just nasty power climbing. And then there was one longish climb that went on for like 2 miles. That’s the guy that really just toasted my for the day. I was just dripping like a faucet at the top, toweling my face off with my little sweat rag as if I’d just gotten out of the shower. Now don’t get me wrong, I signed up for this, and the scenery was great, but with the humidity at a dew point of 73, that made cycling and climbing just awful. The sky was also beginning to darken to the west and I was getting spit on by just a hint of drizzle at times. There was a point where I’d though my luck had run out and I was going to get slammed by the storm. That was especially apparent to me when I saw a sign of Elizabethtown: 13 miles away. “Yup,” I thought, “time to pay the piper!” But it never really developed into anything other than a spitting for drizzle every now and again.

Seeing the motel signs and all the restaurants meant that I’d finally made it into town without get crapped on by the weather. Did it for the second day in a row. Stopped at a Motel 6 and booked a room for 39 bucks. It’s no Taj Mahal, but it’s a place to work the rest of the day and sack out without worrying about the weather. So next stop was ……….Subway! Yes indeed, I’d gotten the Subway Jones going for sure. So I went in and ordered my two 12-inch subs. And once again I got the looks from the waitresses – the “is he going to eat all those himself” look. Then I pulled out one of my – get this – one of my 5 Subway cards. I had yet to use any of the cards my fitness class had so graciously given me, and the card my cousin Sue had given me. So I grabbed the top card and it happened to be the one from my cousin Sue. So I paid and then the young lady told me how much I had left on the card, and I did a double take. “Say what,” I asked her. And she reiterated how much I had left. And I told the waitress that I had to give my cousin an extra big hug. Sue….thanks so very much, love you!!!!!

I mean I’m going to be munching Subway for a long, long time what with those five Subway cards. Back to my little abode to work for the past 4 hours. The weather is getting pretty dark and storm-like. I’d made it here by a mile. Wanted to do the pool and just jump in, but by the time I’d gotten done working the clouds and wind had picked up way too much. So I’m back here working the blog. So I’m in yet another dry county, and in this one you can go to an establishment like a steak house and buy a beer, but no carry-out beer for sale here. It’s crazy from county to county it’s different. So I just may go to the Lonestar restaurant across the street for a burger and beer.

Tomorrow the weather situation is pretty much the same as today, at least on the current forecast – chance of heavy storms tonight extending into the morning. So could be Groundhog day again for the third morning in a row.

Until tomorrow…….Pete

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