That only looks like a mountain with a giant nipple. It is, in fact, Pilot Mountain in Central NC between Winston-Salem and Mt Airy. If you ever watched the Andy Griffith Show, Mt Airy was the basis for Mayberry. Andy was always going off to Mt Pilot for something, and sometimes they would have to go to Raleigh and stay at the YMCA. This is that mountain.
The roads between the mountains were incredibly Greenville-like. Hilly, rolling terrain that was kind of fun but certainly still a good workout. The climb at Sauratown was pretty tough, starting with an 18 degree grade wall and heading uphill for another 3.5 miles. After a few switchbacks it got really straight. So that was a really fun descent. Turns out the 12 miles back to the parking lot was considerably more hilly than the roads out there, even if they were the same roads and we had one mountain down.
The climb up Pilot was only 2.3 miles total, but had two spots of 20 degree grades, partway up the road. So your legs were already nice and fatigued by the time it got really tough. I was averaging 3.8 to 4.4 mph up this road. Once I actually had to stop and walk the last 3 steps up a hill into a curve so I could catch my breath for a bit before climbing again. Wow that was tough. The descent down Pilot was less than epic. It was fast and fun, but not too fast.
My only basis for comparrison is Paris Mountain in Greenville that I climbed 3 times while living in SC. Paris is longer than Pilot, but just as steep and has a few flats leveled in there. On the descent in Paris I have gotten up to 45 mph, the fastest I've ever gone on a bike. Trying to break that this time, the fastest I hit was 42 mph. Kyle got up to 45 once though. I feel another Paris Mtn climb coming up soon.
We stopped on the way back at this incredible brewery in downtown Winston. Wake Forrest (which is in WS) had a home football game against Clemson while we were in the brewery, so that was fun. I didn't expect to see so many orange Clemson fans walking around. I indulged in my cheat meal (gasp - a cheeseburger) and two pints of great beer brewed on-site. After that 35 mile ride (burning about 3000 calories) I thought I could handle the burger without gaining anything this weekend. Overall the ride was incredible! We all work together and ride together a lot, and overall the day was a fantastic way to spend time with friends, get in a great workout, and log some time on the bike.
This is the down side for Saturday. We had a bet going at work over the Appalachian State vs Florida football game. Again with some guys from the office. We have a lot of fun there. Myself and another ASU guy made a bet with the two Florida grads. The losing school's grads had to wear a mustache in a style that was voted on by the entire company. The company chose the "Hulk Hogan" style for all four of us - that was funny. The fact that I have to wear this thing all week long? That's more funny!
I actually feel like a pervert. And yes, that might sound familiar. I've been rehashing all the old jokes from the Caption Contest I put out back in 2008. it. is. fantastic.
Also yesterday I loaded my training plan for IMFL into the spreadsheet. I'm thinking about going with this Trifuel plan. It's 36 weeks with a nice slow rampup, and the timing is right in line with my weight loss completion target. It follows this basic weekly layout, and has a nice base and competetive season builds. Serious planned ironman training doesn't start until Feb 28 on this plan, so I have a while to change my mind. But having the plan on the spreadsheet makes it feel much more real. That's a lot of work, yo.