Rollfast Training Camp: Flight from the Trainers March 18 2014, 0 Comments
Flight from the trainers
A gaggle of Rollfast Cyclists (17 in all) gathered at Rollfast headquarters in frigid Carmel, IN at 6 AM to load up the Rollfast deluxe trailer with our faithful steads. We were going in search of better weather, lumpier roads and adventure. Fueled by Matt’s finely brewed coffee we set off for the mountains of North and South Carolina.
We set off in the chilled air. We were delayed by a few flat tires, but undeterred we pressed on toward Skyuka Mountain Road. We were heading for the mountains, some of us for the first time.
PAIN. That is what I felt climbing up Skyuka. Skyuka is steep and 5.4 miles long. For a shlub like me that is a challenge. Pain….but what fun! I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the challenge. I also enjoyed seeing the junior riders charging up their first real mountain!
After some rollers our next challenge was Green River Cove Road. 2.4 miles and 17 switchbacks of cycling nirvana. At the end of the day I had ridden 70 miles and climbed 6,700 feet.
I was tired when we returned to the cabin. OK, I was destroyed. However after a shower, 30 minutes in the NormaTec boots, and excellent cuisine, I felt…almost normal.
Refueled by Chris (Rollfast owner and chef supreme) we were in for a special treat. We assembled at the base of Paris Mountain for a rendezvous with George and Rich Hincapie. Also joining us were some of the Hincapie Development riders. George gave the order to do a quick warm-up (100 meter U-Turn) and then attack Paris Mountain. My stiff legs were displeased with this plan but when a Tour de France stage winner says go, you GO. What a thrill to set a PR on a climb I’ve done numerous times with Big George waiting for me at the top!
We then had the thrill of riding with George, Rich and their young riders on George’s ‘secret’ roads. The scenery was great and the roads challenging. The highlight for me was hitting the Watershed climb at the front and stringing it out for the group, then pulling off and watching George, the Devo riders, and my teammates attack the climb.
As I worked my way up the climb I thought of the privilege of riding in this setting with this collection of teammates and world class cyclists. My thoughts went four weeks back in the past. I was lying in a bed in a heart hospital with patients dying around me. Grinding up the climb I couldn’t get the smile off of my face and the feeling that I am one fortunate shlub!
After finishing the Watershed climb I headed back to George’s hotel and restaurant with a few teammates while some of the stronger Rollfast riders continued on with George for some bonus climbing. We all regrouped for a fantastic lunch and camaraderie at Restaurant 17. George was gracious enough to spend some more time with us as we admired his hotel grounds.
From the hotel we cruised the 20 miles back to the Rollfast trailer-less aerodynamic due to the huge smiles we all had. While I relaxed at the trailer and reminisced with some teammates about the fantastic day, a number of the Rollfast mountain goats hit Paris Mountain for a second time. BALLERS.
45 degrees and raining. What should we do? Ride! We decided to keep the ride short and hit a coffee shop. All told we rode 22 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing in cold, soaking wet conditions. The looks on the faces of the people in the coffee shop as we walked in from the gloom was PRICELESS.
Saluda Grade is a great climb and I enjoyed climbing it (helped raise my core temperature!). Descending it in the rain was actually fun once we got going-except for how cold it made me. Thankfully I had a cappuccino to warm me up-courtesy of young Jacob who took pity on this cold shlub.
It was a fantastic camp. I enjoyed the cycling and the chance to spend time with some wonderful people. I have not been, nor shall I ever be a professional cyclist. I’m 44 years old with a quirky back and a questionable ticker. However, as the Rollfast team cruised the mountains and valleys of North and South Carolina. As we rubbed elbows with world class cyclists. As we refueled on and off the bike with top notch cuisine, this shlub felt like Big George himself…only a little chubbier.
Posted by Jay Dunbar, @cervelo17