I recently did a 60-mile road ride that included a climb to the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Richland Balsam, 6,053 feet). In the process, I learned a few important things about road biking I’d like to pass on to BRO readers.
1) 60 miles is a long way. I don’t care what your neighbor who gets up at 5am to ride the steepest mountain outside of town says. 60 miles is far.
2) Whenever possible, plan to ride early in the morning, particularly during a record breaking heat wave. Then stick to that early-riding plan. Don’t hit the snooze button three times. Don’t eat a leisurely breakfast, then saunter over to the coffee shop for a series of leisurely lattes. 1pm is no time to start a 60-mile road ride that climbs 6,000 feet in the middle of summer.
3) Don’t drink too many beers before you ride 60 miles. This one should be obvious, but then again, you may find yourself in a situation where someone has a really great microbrew they want you to try. Then another. The next thing you know, you’re doing keg stands in your super-snug road kit. Don’t do this.
4) Don’t bring 32 ounces of that beer with you to the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It sounds like a good idea when you finish that last keg stand, but 32 ounces of beer is heavy in your pack, and warm when it’s time to pop the top.
5) Bring food. Again, this is probably obvious, but after such a late start and several beers, you might forget to stop by the bike shop to pick up some bars and gels. You might find yourself at the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway, 30 miles from the nearest sandwich, forced to drink 32 ounces of warm beer for the calories and splitting a bag of jelly beans with two other grown men.
Just a handful of lessons I learned on my bike this past weekend.