Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Skyball (X3)

Memorial Day in the blistering humid heat, nine bikers set out for a triple assault on Skyball Mountain. There were several rides done locally but most of the local cycling scene decided to stay away from this ride.

The tempo from the go was a little fast thanks to Austin, who's in the middle of training block preparing for a stage race next weekend. James Hall and Chris Rossi fell right in with Austin so for the rest of us it was going to be a long day.

We rode down Highway 31, and turned on "Racehorse Johnson Parkway" one of the most beautiful roads to cycle on in Alabama. RJP heads toward Skyball Mountain and is the road used in the Tour de Cullman. The road unfortunately rolls up.

We turned off RJP and began the first climb up the mountain. The road just seems to go up into the sky and actually is one of the steeper grades on the mountain. We all survived that pretty well and of course Austin and James disappeared over the horizon.

Recovering from the first climb, the second part of the ascent which is about a mile straight up takes you over the mountain and down the back side into the town of Nectar. With one climb of Skyball done its time to do the second assault.

From Nectar we back tracked to Joy road and began the second ascent of Skyball using the now famous climb used in the Tour de Cullman. I think we all felt this climb and had some nice thigh busting action as we ascended over the twisting one lane road that gets harder as you get closer to the top. This version of the climb is the longest which is 4 miles.

Just when we were all about pop you somehow make it to the top for the completion of the second ascent. We then back tracked and reversed back down the mountain to begin the final climb, number 3. We reversed what we had just done and climbed back up the mountain on the back side.

This was the roughest part of the whole day and the climb went slowly. I was struggling but moving forward and for some nice motivation, could hear the rumble in the background of some violent weather on the way.We all made it to the top for the third time and regrouped for our ride back to Hanceville. I think for everyone it was a lot of fun but also some really brutal climbing and a great challenge.

The photo above shows Billy Faulk in the CCC kit, he was very generous and not only did the ride but provided support and refreshments on top of Skyball.

We reversed our ride out and returned on RJP and Highway 31. About the time we hit Garden City it started pouring down rain and lightning. The only thing close to enjoyable was the 40 mph tail wind we had as we hammered up 31. It got a little more fun with the bolts of lightning were hitting all around and you could see about 6 inches in front yourself.

Mr. Faulk showed his generosity again by providing us with some nice refreshments and a cookout at his house in town.

Some decals were made for the survivors of the epic ride. There will be a few more that attempt and survive the triple assault so we have a badge waiting for them.


jim e said...

Carson, a named you mentioned on the ride, Randy Kerr, said to say hello and he may make TDC '09.
Thanks to all you guys for a most memorable Memorial.

Carson said...

That will thicken the plot as the freewheel turns.

Adam said...

How does one an invitiation to an Epic Event such as this???

A Former TDC Masters Champion

Nekid Cowboy said...

Well, it starts with learning to read...

runonce said...

Where are these mysterious photos of the swimming champion??


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