Monday, June 25, 2012

Garrett County Gran Fondo: Not Quite As Strong As Last Year

Last year, we rode the Savage Century in the Garrett County Gran Fondo.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in one day.  After 103 miles and 12,700 feet of climbing, we swore we were done with it.  Then January rolled around and memories were made hazy by the freezing cold chilly mild winter weather that we had this year.  When the registration email came, for some reason, we signed up again.

Last year, we were also training for RAGBRAI, which involved nearly 500 miles of riding over 7 days.  Training for the Savage Century made RAGBRAI much easier, and in the end, we were really glad we put in the time training for it. This year, we had none of that added motivation for training.  In fact, in the spring, I got into a funk where I didn't really want to ride at all.  Then Michael had knee surgery seven weeks ago.  I did get a couple of good rides in on Skyline Drive and he got one short ride in, but we simply did not get the time in on the saddle that we had last year.

With that in mind, we decided to try to salvage something out of our registration.  The weather was absolutely perfect:  sunny and in the low 80s.  That was much better than last year's high of 55 and occasional rain.  We started the ride thinking we might do the metric century (62 miles).  The first leg of the ride is deceptive:  It only has one real climb and is otherwise downhill.  Michael felt pretty good at the first rest stop, so we continued on the 62 mile route.  The climbing began in earnest as soon as we left the rest stop.  By the time we reached the top of the first series of hills, Michael was starting to suffer.  We arrived at a point where a shorter ride intersected our route and I asked if he wanted to continue or take the cutoff, which would leave us with a 50 mile ride.  He sort of balked at cutting the ride short, but finally agreed.

Last year, I was really proud of the fact that I didn't walk at all on the entire route.  This year, I left my dignity in the ditch and I walked twice.  I just didn't have the leg strength to push myself up the steepest sections of two of the hills.  Amazing what a difference training makes.  All in all, it was a decent ride.  I do wish I had been more dedicated about getting the training in, but there wasn't any way for Michael to train more before the ride this year.  We did both manage to finish the ride under our own power.

One of the ridge-top sections of the ride.  If you enlarge the picture, there is a large quilt square on the barn.
At the finish line.


  1. I know what you mean about the training making a difference in a seemingly short time. I haven't paddled all winter or spring and a few weeks ago went out for a casual float with a friend. We did only a few lazy miles (maybe 10?) and by the end my shoulders were tight and butt was sore. And I had gotten used to paddling 100+ miles in a day last year! But the good news is that it comes back quickly if you decide to go after it again. Love the blog, keep 'em coming!

  2. Thanks, Kelly. It does come back, for sure. This one just sort of got away from us this year.