It was absolutely beautiful today--a perfect day for a team ride. Catherine, Jonell, Lisa S, Lisa C, Parri, Lee, David, Cali, Shawn, and I met out in Berlin, TN, to pre-ride the Hell of the South race course. The race will be April 2, and the course can be pretty sketchy, especially with a big group of riders you might know little to nothing about, so we wanted to get familiar with it. I'm very glad we did. It was good to see where the gravel portion is, see where the turns are, feel the rough roads, and climb the hills, all of which will separate the field. It was also wonderful to be out there with Lee and David who are both amazing riders and full of tips and tricks to help us all become better.
Catherine, Jonell, Lisa S, and I all rode one loop, and everyone else continued on for a second. We will do two during the race, but we'd had enough at that point given what we'd all done the day before. It was still a good 27.5 miles, 1:38 long, 16.8 mph avg ride. It was a little longer than it will be because we stopped a few times to discuss strategy and terrain and we started out a little slow, but it likely will not be much faster because of the early-season wind we dealt with today and will have to deal with then. I felt great, kept my HR pretty steady (153 avg, 189 max), helped Jonell out a bit and rode for a while in no-man's land just to be in the wind for a while, and attacked once up a hill. That itself felt amazing, because I'm not the best climber but I took advantage of the group's waiting up for another rider, came from the back, and took everyone over. Man I loved that!