Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Carolinas

The Festa Family headed down south to do some spring training. I had some goals for the trip:
1: Climb mountains. Fast. 
2: Eat grits with as many meals as possible
3: Practice descending skills.

Lauren had some goals as well. I will take my best guess as to what they were
1: Not Die.
2: Eat body weight in Honey Stinger Fruit Chews.
3: Not Die.

After riding the trainer in the snow and suffering miserably knowing a weeks worth of sunny days and high temperatures awaited, we loaded up the car to the gills and set off. 
After a brief layover in Harrisonburg, Va to stop for the night at my sister in laws and enjoy grits with dinner 1/many, and a fried oreo (delightful) we headed further south to Asheville.
Words cannot describe the fried oreo.
Ashevegas is one of my favorite places. Lauren and I had our honeymoon there. The cost of living is low, the food is awesome, and the beers are stellar. 

We arrived, and hopped on the bikes for a quick ride out through the Monopoly money mansions of Biltmore Village to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nothing better.
 After the ride we got to eat this: Fried Green Tomato Napoleon. For the main course I had shrimp and grits. After that I literally rolled my gluttonous ass back down the street to our hotel. 
The next morning after breakfast (surprisingly no grits were consumed) we set off to Travelers Rest, SC. The hotel is at the base of Paris Mountain Goal number 1 was in likely to be completed in short order. 
Lauren and I rolled into TR around noon and stopped to grab a coffee at a great local place. We pulled out of the shop and the first thing we saw was no other than George Hincapie out for a training ride! We must have sounded like little kids. I may have screamed. 
The plan for Day 1's ride was to ride up Paris Mountain as many times as we could before dark. The total number ended up at 3. The best part of the climb were the easter eggs left written on the road from the road race.
There may or may not have been a shady drug deal going on 50 meters away from where this picture was taken.

Day 2, we took to the cars and headed back towards Asheville to tackle the BRP. Alex, the photographer of this shot may have been so cold he forgot to remove the ziploc bag from the camera! The decent off the mountain was the coldest I have been in some time. I was way underdressed and payed dearly. 

Day 3:
Caesar's Head may be my new favorite climb. Paris Mountain's decent may win, but the effort up CH was a blast. 
Day 3 ended with a sunset ride down Paris Mountain to the hotel. A perfect way to spend 6 hours on a bike and nearly an entire day outside. The views down the mountain were supreme, railing corners while the sun took a break for the night. 

Day 4, the final day included a dirt climb up to Caesar's Head and the promise of near 80 degree temps. I spent a lot of the day bouncing back between groups, either bridging up to or riding back to riders. There was a little miscue when I was to drop back and wait for a rider then pull back up to the group on the dirt sector. 30 minutes of riding at FTP later, and all was right in the world when the misdirected became redirected. Positive side was I got to fly down (up really) a dirt road at warp speed. Lauren got to rip up some dirt too, and although I was unable to witness it, was flying. 

We had a great time in SC, tackled almost 20,000 ft of climbing and over 17 hours in the saddle in 4 days. I think all of the aforementioned goals were met as well. I still could use some more grits though.
Here is Episode 1, season 1 of "The Paris Mountain Show"


Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only person in the wolrd who knew where travelers's rest was. NCAA regionals were at Furman Univ., we stayed in TR at theone motel with the coffee shop. good times.

KevinTranz said...

Eat any hush puppies?!