We’re vacationing in the same house that we did last year, on the highest mountain above Lake Burton, in Tiger, GA. I tried riding up the road to the house we’re staying in two or three times last year but ended up walking after only a quarter mile. The grade borders on ridiculous. A few 1/4 to 1/2 mile stretches above 20%. It’s a monster and last year, even in my granny gear (30-25) I got to a point where I couldn’t turn the pedals so I had to walk it.
When we drove up it on arriving Friday morning I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell I was thinking even trying to climb that damn thing in the first place.
Then Mrs. Bgddy and I went for our daily ride yesterday and the fact that I couldn’t make it up the mile and a half started eating at me. By the end of our ride there was nothing going to keep me from trying again.
I informed the Misses that I’d be giving it a go and asked her to drive behind me in case I needed a ride (didn’t wany to walk the damn thing again), packed her bike on the bike rack, and hit it. I cruised by the first rise that blew me up last year with a wry grin stretched across my face. “Keep the cadence steady, not too fast”, I thought… I just kept moving. At about a half mile there’s a nice flat spot that allowed me to catch my breath (and I stopped a couple of other times on flatter spots for a breather).. I made it a little more than a mile of the mile and a half before I’d finally had enough. My legs were jello, my breathing, well let’s just say I can’t ever remember breathing that hard. 7 mph on a mountain had me breathing harder that 28 in a pack of animals. I think that’s the nature of the beast though, and what makes climbing so much fun… There isn’t a whole lot of room for error when it comes to a really steep climb – and later on, after the feeling has returned to your legs, you can’t help but feel awesome. Thankfully Mrs. Bgddy was thinking on her feet and snapped a few pictures: