Groundhog Mountain

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While Tour de Floyd participants were pumping their way up Franklin Pike to the first rest stop at the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then were traversing the 30+ miles of the BRP that links the borders of Floyd, Franklin, Patrick, and Carroll counties, I drove my bike to Round Meadow and took my solo ride.

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From Round Meadow, Groundhog Mountain is almost 10 miles. It is a very nice ride, with the mile up the north face of GM as the only significant climb. Although it was cold and windy today, it was a beautiful morning for a bicycle ride in the mountains.

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I am (possibly) inordinately proud of myself for climbing Groundhog in my 23 gear. For those of you not familiar with mountain bike gearing, “23” means I was in the middle chain ring (of 3) at the front, and the third gear (of 9) on the rear cassette. Where “11” is what I call Super Granny (easiest to pedal and thus used for climbing); “39” is the top gear, used heading downhill.

Anyway, I think the most recent time before today that I climbed Groundhog I used the 13 or 14 gear. So using 23 today (and not dying) is an indicator of some training progress. Yay!

More good news: the Groundhog “Hill” picnic area is open. I pedaled in and up to the lookout tower (but didn’t go up the stairs) and took some pix, then stopped by the facilities to leave behind some of the water I was drinking, and then headed back to my car.

Where the stalwart Tour de Floyd riders did a Metric Century (100K, which is about 63 miles), I did a fast-run 20 and felt I had a great workout. And it didn’t take me 4-6 hours to finish.

Now I feel I can go to a special friend’s dinner party tonight and not fall asleep in my first beer.

Life is good.

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