Climbing! Glorious Climbing!

Today was Day One of riding along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'm very happy to say that, unlike New York City, riding in North Carolina adds an entirely new dimension, a third dimension, if you will: the Z axis.

Asheville is indeed nestled in a small valley (of sorts) in the Blue Ridge mountains. On a clear day, you can see mountains from the tops of other mountains.

For the city boy, climbing is an entirely different style of riding than hauling along on a straightaway. The pedaling technique is somewhat different. On flats, the relation of power to cadence at a given gear is pretty even, so it's easier to turn the pedals over and keep the speed. On climbs, it seems that your power can vary greatly, so it's tougher to turn the pedals over and requires more force on the down stroke. (This is all assuming constant power output, say, 300W.)

Having lost a bunch of weight, I'm finding climbing easier than I ever have before. The trick now is to get the ol' musculature up to snuff, so that my cardiovascular system, again, becomes my limiting factor.

The high point of the day was the descent down NC-151 from the Parkway back down to the local roads. 151 is a true back road, a very technical descent with lots of tight, banked turns and debris on the road to keep things interesting. If I were a cycling coach, I would have my riders go up and down that road a few times a month, just to keep them on their toes. I love descending.