Let's get this ball rolling at the beginning, shall we?
6 of us packed The Beast tight early Saturday morning, for a trip to Tryon, and a new loop that I threw together. Twas a good group, and if folks didn't join us, well...they missed out.
We were unloaded and riding @ 9:30, which wasn't bad considering the decidedly 'team vehicle' vibe we had going on. 3 on the roof, 2 on the back, and Rox's baby bike stuffed in the boot.
Nothing says love like pulling out of the parking lot, and hitting the Saluda Grade to start your ride. Sure, 5% doesn't sound like much, and if you're warmed up, it really isn't. Fresh out of The Beast's leather interior, and The Grade is a wake up call, delivered like a police asp to the thighs.
Once up and over, we diverted off 176, and rode a section none of us had ever done. The first part was great, and it went downhill from there, literally, and figuratively. If you choose to do Pot Shoals Rd., just on the other side of Saluda, have your smallest gear available, and learn to love it.
From the valley floor, it rises about a mile, and tops out @ 19% as your re-join Hwy 176. Yeah, that was fun-ish. Cal nabbed to KoM on Strava. STRAAAAVVVVAAAAA!
Crossing 176 brought us to Lake Summit, and a dirt road that was not expected. Fortunately, our group of 6 are intrepid, and we ran across a nice lady, and her 37 dogs, who told us that the road was pretty good, and not terribly long. It was perfect...
The next 15 miles or so were all down hill. A couple of loops around Hwy 25, a few 40+ mph descents, and one 50+ mph descent brought us to Hwy 11, and the base of the Watershed.
The turn onto Old Hwy 25 was a bit wonky, so we stopped to gather up. Instead of just dismounting, and waiting, I decided to ride into the grass on the shoulder, and met my demise...a basketball sized hole, covered by tall grass...at a blistering 2mph.
The front wheel went in, and didn't come out. I hit the ground with a resounding thud. No time to un-clip, get a hand out to brace, or even scream a profanity. The ground came up to meet my 180 pounds quick!!
Rox commented that she'd never seen anyone hit the ground THAT fast.
All air escaped my body in a quite immediate fashion, and the involuntary groan commenced. I came down on top of my right arm, and my elbow was directly under my ribcage. There was a very distinct popping noise/feel/sensation. Ribs...JACKED.
After a few minutes, I knew I had to roll, or I was going to get back on the bike.
AND, we were 20+ miles from the truck. Time to HTFU...
Up the Watershed we go. I was not riding alone. The climb was tolerable, until I rolled over any kind of bump in the road.
Bolts of ripping pain shot threw me.
Once over the Watershed, the run back to Tryon was worse. Frost heaves felt like speed bumps. Once of the main part of the descent, I was so nauseous from the pain, that I really thought I was going to vomit. If there had been a team car following, I'd have gotten off the bike.
Back to The Beast, we loaded up (thanks for the help fellas), and put it in the breeze.
I tightened up nicely on the drive. Wonderful...
Fortunately, nothing is broken, but I have 4 bruised ribs, and 2 are displaced. Every muscle in my core is just wrecked. I'm in a haze of Flexeril as I sit and punch this out.
It really doesn't hurt if I'm up, or down. The acts of getting up and down create waves of pain, and touches of the pukey-feels.
Overall though, it was a good time. Everyone enjoyed it, and we had a damn fine ride thru someone extraordinarily beautiful countryside.
Thank you to those who went. We'll do it again, and I promise not to augur into the ground like a lawn dart.
Also, thanks to everyone for checking on me over the last few days. I'm good...just a little stoved up. I think I needed a break from the bike anyway.
Here's some muddy Euro-CX action from yesterday to burn some productivity...
Back to the normally scheduled filler tomorrow...