Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gate - Junction - SG Kiosk - Gate

Another solo ride today, so I got started at 9 instead of 8. It was still cool and breezy when I started but it got warmer and calmer as I climbed.

Right out of the Gate there was a guy ahead of me and I thought he'd make a good rabbit but I passed him a little ways later and never saw him again. Didn't see Dudley - he was probably home by now. Things on the Mountain change quite a bit between 8 and 9.

At the Junction there were quite a few people hanging around - looked like several groups of 4 and 5 each. I didn't have all day to ride but a SG Kiosk and back (just like last week) sounded just right. I started descending slowly, looking for a photo to present itself:

This sign at the entry to Buckeye Group Camp marks the 1 Mile To Junction point on the ascent of South Gate Road. The 2 Mile To Junction point is an unmarked power switchback just beyond the Ranger House past Rock City; hard to describe but easy to remember after you've identified it. It's 3.1 Miles To Junction so I don't have a 3MTJ descriptor.

I turned around at the Kiosk and started right back up. One guy recognized what I was doing and said "Mini-laps, right on!" and there were about 5 guys with Olympic Club jerseys on who had been resting at the Kiosk starting continuing up right ahead of me. I gave them a chance but they seemed to be on a pleasure ride so I came around them pretty fast with a friendly greeting. I was pushing hard through here to check my time splits but at about 2MTJ one guy caught me. I rode his wheel for a little while and then we were on that stretch by the Helicopter Landing and he slowed down so I passed him again. The we kind of rode side by side until he dropped me at the last couple hairpins before Junction. New split time from the Kiosk to the Junction was 15m30s - a minute and a half faster than last week - cool!

Wildlife Encounter: A turkey vulture with a yummy mid-morning snack.

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