JV and I awoke early, and reviewed the maps to figure out our strategy. We had lost some ground on doc2doc, but we were unclear how much. We decided to move into a different mode - JV would take the climbs and I would do everything else. Time to get moving! We were about 5 miles past TS46 in Grafton, WV.
I took the first pull along the flats and halfway up the first climb. My wattage was actually pretty good for a first section at 183w, and I cruised through the first 5 miles at 13.8mph (keep in mind, after a couple miles, we were heading up a good climb).
We then continued on up the climb to the top to await JV. We did a hand off at the top, and JV actually followed me a ways down the climb until he reached a good turnoff (note, I never even knew he was there until I saw Bill Cook's video later). We had moved into a foggy area and the road was a touch wet, so I took the screaming descent carefully. But I covered the 8 mile pull at 22.8mph. JV took over right at the base of the climb and we shot to the top to wait for him. During our climb up, Ken explained the history and geography of the area, but I don't remember it! (something about a plateau).
My next pull began with a perfect 25mph rolling handoff, and I continued along the plateau for about 10 miles at 19.7mph. I was actually feeling really good now and was keeping my wattage on the climbs close to 200w! I had started a Coca Cola regimen, and it was definitely paying off! I was so amped up I remember calling out "Good morning Maryland" to some kids as we crossed the state line - they were a bit startled! The scenery was absolutely beautiful and I was really trying to enjoy my last day on the bike...I even got everyone in the van to sing John Denver (you can guess which song...it's pretty obvious)!
My last pull was 11.9 miles and involved some great 400ft climbs and some amazing 50mph descents. I knew it was my last pull, and decided to leave it all on the course. I was powering up the climbs trying to keep it at 225w and feeling great! Despite the climbing, this section moved along at 16.6mph.
JV got the screaming descent off of the plateau into Kaiser, and we met up with the RV at a pull off a few miles later. We enjoyed our usual shower outside in the warm sun, and retired into the RV for some sleep.
Climbing in West Virginia
Descending in West Virginia
The Great Plateau