desire to train
The training route from PSU to Skyline, and down through the Rock Creek River Valley has few stops and a big training value when it unfolds in full swing in the Spring.
Now though, it is no small challenge just getting there.
Hyped up to the hilt with cabin fever after a week of bike stopping snow, the whole team wanted to get up Terwilliger and Capitol to Dosch and "The Gas Station" in the worst way.
Prior to the event, "The Ice Box Blues" were performed for coaching fees.
First, upon receipt of cellular communications, Dave Wingard managed a quick fix on a flat in Ladd's Addition before arriving, only to be approached by two expeditionary columns of similarly clad cyclists.
Scooped up into the warm embrace of the peloton, Dave was part of a 9 man group spinning easily across the steaming downtown Core.
While moving up Terwilliger it was immediately evident how strong everyone was. Much stronger than last year it seems to me. No one was cheating or hammering per se, everyone was just spinning. Spinning fast. Without exception everyone had leg speed, and form.
Everyone seemed ready to train with the rest of the team in January on the grueling fifty mile course. No one seemed unready or in doubt how this course served their training needs.
Moving up Dosch, I noticed Mike Mann was holding his form and moving through the paceline like I had never seen before. I even invited him to catch the front of a strung out line of happy go lucky summiteers and he promptly popped the gap with a powerful decisive move foreboding grand alpine prowess in the upcoming months.
Riding out on Humphery Hewett and Skyline, "Sketchy" would be an understatement. Ice was everywhere, and especially in the middle of the road. Paceliners had to be careful when to pull off the front as there was a large "ice divider" in the middle of the two columns.
Thanks to a crack coaching staff, and the modern technologies involved in cellular phones, Chip Ross crested Thompson Road just as Jeff Gerwing and Greg Obrien led the team by. Calling for a paceline at the pivotal (last high point before a series of flat land and pacelin-able rollers on Skyline heading north) peak, I was proud to see how smoothly the River City Montage vet slipped into, and through the Line.
By the time the carefully advancing party arrived at the top of Newberry Road, talk was of turning back. Bodies were fighting not to go fast, but to simply stay warm. So despite the long day on the bike, we didn't make it all the way out to the Rabbit this time.
After a couple of flats and a careful pace, the arrival of the noon hour forced early season speedsters, Randy Word and Stephen Bedford to ride off the front for home. And man, they were gone baby, gone.