Hub Endurance is another one of Evotri’s Chattanooga-based sponsors. An excellent bike shop that provides top-notch coaching service. They are amazingly plugged into the community. Generally a keg-erator helps with that. They are a big local hangout for cyclists and triathletes in the area. Coffee and beer flow like... well, like coffee and beer, and the staff is welcoming and laid back.
We headed there to have few beers, to see the shop, and chat with the boys. SRAM was their promoting their charity, World Bicycle Relief. The program basically gives bikes to people in impoverished country. That may not seem like much, but having a bike allows them to get to a market to sell goods, or to attend school. Basically a bike is a game changer and for $134, SRAM donates a fully equipped commuter bike to someone in need. The people who turned out to the HUB/Evotri event had an impromptu fundraiser and were able to send 3 full bikes to Africa.
After Hub, we headed back to the cabin to crash and get ready for a beast of a bike ride in the morning.
Dawn came too soon. We fired up the multiple gallon coffee maker that Chris brought and watched the fog roll off the Tennessee River. The temperature slowly crept up and by 8, it was good enough for short sleeves and no gloves. The HUB team and Dave from the North Face met us and we rolled out as a group. We stuck together for 10 miles or so and headed to the base of a climb where the group split off for the different ride options for the day.
Me, Matt, Chris, and Dave headed up the climb that was billed as one of the toughest in the area. Dave said “just when you get desperate, you have 30 more pedal strokes and it’s over.” I thought, “Desperate? What the ^&% are you talking about? I don’t get desperate on a bike. You do.” Wrong.
It was 2.4 miles and pitched up to something ridiculous like 26%. That's just a number until you actually feel it. The climb started off steep and I powered off the front and out of the saddle. Big mistake. It leveled off for a second and I desperately sucked air. As it pitched up again, I started paying for my early pace. I could barely turn the pedals as Chris went around me. Served. I was on my last legs as I swerved all over the road. Desperate was an understatement. I was PWNED in the biggest way imaginable. I sort of got my legs back under me and started trying to pull Chris back as we hit the top.
Not thrilled as my stomach nearly came through my nose on that climb
We set off along the rolling hills at the top of the ridge. I was on the Quintana Roo illicito, so I felt the obligation to go to the front and tow the group as I had the fastest bike. Let me tell you, that bike FLIES. I barely was putting any effort into it and easily cruising along at 23 mph in some wind. The bike is ridiculously stable in the windy and squirts along the flats like a bar of soap. It isn’t as snappy as the CD0.1 on the climbs, but makes up for it with the speed everywhere else.
We headed down a descent and into some more rolling farmland. Just as I was starting to unravel, we stopped for snickers and coke which saved my ass, as usual. We launched up the final climb of the day. I shredded my legs on the early part of the climb and was shot out the back. I wasn’t pleased as I don’t usually get dropped on the bike, but early season fitness, or lack thereof will do that to you. Nevertheless, we rolled down the descent and back to the cabin. I was smoked. I flopped into the jacuzzi, opened the book “Once a Runner”, and 2 pages later was dozing.