A couple of weeks ago my coworker Paul asked me if I wanted to go with him, his wife and our coworker Bryan for a ride in the nearby mountains. He made it sound like it would be a leisurely ride through beautiful scenery. It was only a 22 mile ride. I had gone 50 so I figured this wouldn't be too bad.
This 22 mile ride up TWO mountains was anything but easy. Yes the scenery was extremely beautiful (when I was able to see it through the pain I was feeling). This definitely ranks at the top of the list of most difficult things I've done physically.
We started off at the top of Hanging Rock (I think that is a picture of it above, lol) then went down and towards Sauratown Mountain. It took us about 8 miles to get to the actual climb up the mountain. When we get there Paul says "okay now this is where it starts getting steep." STARTS!!?? It has already BEEN steep to me and I was already feeling the burn in my thighs. I just kept in mind that it was just a 3 mile climb so I could do that with no problems. Well I wouldn't say that I did it with NO problems but I made it up although I wasn't so sure I was going to make it at one point. I was zig zagging all the way across the road trying to get up that hill. Luckily on that part of the ride there wasn't any traffic so I didn't have to worry about watching for cars. I finally made it to the top and got to take a short break before we started back to the car.
The ride down was fun. It is kind of annoying that it took about 45 minutes to get up the hill and then only 10 to come back down. My forearms hurt from pumping my brakes so much going down the hill. I was afraid to go TOO fast although I did get up to 36 mph. I also didn't want my brakes to melt so I was careful not to ride them too much.
The last climb...since we parked at the top of Hanging Rock we had to ride back up to get to the car (whose idea was it to park at the top??). This was the worst part of the ride for me. The hill was shorter, about 2 miles, but it felt so much more difficult. I guess because there was more traffic and because I was pretty tired at this point. When I had a little over half a mile left I really wanted to give up. I almost started crying and if I would have been able to get my foot unclipped (I didn't even have enough energy to do that) then I would have stopped for sure. I'm kinda glad that I wasn't able to get my foot loose because it made me keep going and at this point Paul had come back to
All in all I'm glad that I did it and that I now know I CAN do it. I'm glad that I had some great people to ride with because that definitely helped me make it through the ride. This will make the hills on our regular route seem like nothing. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where I want to do the 3 mountain madness (this adds on another mountain and about 40 more miles) but maybe.....