Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Michelle and Steve Check Out the Black Forest 300k!

Michelle Grainger and Steve Le Goff checked out the Black Forest 300k course last Sunday, May 8.  Findings:
  1. The couple hundred feet of Hodgen Road construction was packed dirt and very ridable - see photo.  (There were detour signs as you turn from Walker onto Black Forest Road - but you could bike on down to Hodgen.)
  2. The Elbert Store was friendly and well-stocked.  There is also now a place in "downtown" Elbert to get pizza and other warm food items, which Brent and Beth recommend.
  3. Please take advantage of the warm welcome at the Black Forest Texas Firehouse BBQ place (control store) - they are expecting us, and may be offering specials for the biker crowd.
  4. The new routing leaving that checkpoint - downhill on Shoup Road to digest the BBQ and uphill on Rollercoaster - works out well. 

And now for Michelle's story!

The last qualifier for Paris-Brest-Paris
DONE! Now let the work begin!

And, oooohhhhhhhhh, was it a painful ride for me. I guess I would say it is kind of bittersweet. I had to work hard for my final PBP qualifier. I would love to say I enjoyed myself throughout the day but it was a very difficult day for me. A little humble pie seemed to be served at every control and every hill we rode up. Most of the hills are between 7 and 11 %. (Garmins have great purpose.)

The Black Forest 300KM is one of the most beautiful Brevets. It takes us on rolling roads through horse farms and past huge houses nestled against the foothills west of Denver, and south down to towns with names you only hear about when there are major snowstorms: Larkspur, Palmer Lake, Black Forest and Elbert. This 300 KM is mainly above 7,000 feet and has just under 10,000 feet of elevation gain. You hope for no rain throughout the day, as it will turn to snow (as we found out last year), but this usually means good stiff headwinds for most of your scenic riding.

I am so very lucky to have Steve at my side for all of my rides. Mentally I'm not quite ready to ride all of the Brevets on my own and physically not quite ready to pull my own butt around. So, many thanks for a loving, strong and patient husband and best friend. I could not and maybe would not be willing to chug along to get my butt to Paris if it was not for Steve. Not to mention the many friends, like John Lee, who also help me reach my goal of riding in PBP this year.

A great finish well before dark and a perfect pre-ride ... with a good message for the actual day of the Brevet: the dirt road section on Hodgen is short and ridable. Please buy a lot of food at the control in Black Forest. The BBQ and hospitality are awesome and they are looking forward to seeing all of you on Brevet day. Eat eat eat!

 - Michelle

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