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Hilly Hellacious

Century number three in 15 days!  I promised myself I’d do everything I could to stay with one of the front groups this time.  This ride is a little different from Blue Ridge Brutal in that there’s a nasty climb about 10-15 miles into the ride that breaks the group up.  I got a tip about the climb from Dwayne, who told me that it kicks up pretty steep on the bottom part, then you turn a corner and it flattens out a bit.  This was good to know because it was pretty ugly on the bottom half of the climb, hovering around 15-20% for a while.  Since nasty climbs often have nasty descents, my plan was to push this climb to stay near the front on the way up and descend as best I could so that I wouldn’t be out the back before it was all said and done.  The way up was tough, particularly so early in the ride, but I made it through the climb and still found myself with a bunch of about 20.  Perfect.  Next smaller climb thinned us down a little, but then was the long descent into Lake Lure (about 1400 feet in 8 miles).  I was at the back of the line during the descent but managed to stay on, which was great.  Then the course was up and down, up and down, and generally more up than down, so the climbers ended up in front.  Overall, I had a good time and met lots of neat people along the way.  It was a bit warmer, perhaps due to the lower elevation than last weekend’s ride, so I drank lots and lots of fluids.  At least 8 water bottles worth, and I carried the big size bottles. 

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