|Scenic Views on the Bike Course|
I took the day off on Friday. I attended my son's program at school and was off at 10am. It took me 5 hours and 40 minutes to get to the Holiday Inn (thanks Atlanta Traffic). My Big Sexy Teammate Brad was going that weekend as well, so we split a room at the Holiday Inn. So by the time I got in and started riding out of the parking lot it was 4:15pm. Fortunately, the sun didn't set until 8:40, so we had plenty of time to do one full loop of the course.
I took the map with me and also had the turn by turn directions. The TBT were the most useful. We only stopped and questioned which way we were going a couple of times. Someone had marked the course with orange paint. The RD is pretty pissed about that, but it did make following the course for the first time easier.
|Head Down, Let's Hammer.|
The first 7-10 miles getting out of town have quite a few turns, some rough pavement, and a bunch of railroad track crossings. Once you get out onto "the loop" then it's pretty much smooth sailing. There is definitely some hills. About 4-5 times I had to get out of the saddle to do some climbing. We rode pretty leisurely for the most part. Some stretches on Cove and Hog Jowl road we kinda put our heads down and cranked some watts.
|Coming back up Cove Road|
We stopped more than I usually do on a ride, but it was a nice afternoon. Easily the best weather we got all weekend. I'm glad we went ahead and did the whole thing from the hotel. We ended up getting in 66.8 miles in all. Going through Chickamauga (twice) on race day should be pretty cool. You shoot right through the middle of town. There's plenty of spectator parking and it sounds like it could be similar to the town of LaGrange for Ironman Louisville. People just hang out and cheer for the riders and its a good place for your friends and family to see you.
|Yeah, me in a swim race. Really!|
|Let's go already!|
After a little confusion about 1/2 mile in, we finally got onto the Riverfront Parkway. Its a nice little path along the river. It is pretty flat, but there is a fair amount of concrete, which I'm definitely not a fan of. The GPS map above shows that we just went out and back on the Parkway. The actual course will come back on Amicola Highway and Riverside Drive. That will be all pavement, which makes me happy.
I only had 580 feet of elevation gain on that one loop, but most people had more. But like the bike loop, its pretty similar to what I train on back home. After the run, we headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower and clothes change. We lounged around a bit and then headed over to the Big River Grille to meet up with a bunch of other Choo'ers.
|Gotta love a beer tank on the sidewalk.|
|Big Brad's Big Plate|
With the Sunday morning traffic, I got home in a hair over 5 hours. I did an interval ride and a brick run that afternoon - in 60 deg and dry roads. So I was happy with my decision to head home early. Monday, I was dragging all day, just tired as heck. (Still swam 4,000 yards in the morning #GTWD). It was pretty fun to do a training weekend. It would have been awesome had the weather cooperated. I got to meet some new people and preview the course. If I gleaned anything from the course, it is that I will not be avoiding any hills on rides or runs. Even if it's an interval or tempo workout, I will embrace them. I plan to hit the hills now, later and often. IM Choo is coming at you faster than you think!