Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Backroad Specificity Training - Mahantango Valley and Mountain

We got lucky on Saturday and the temps crawled into the 40s and I headed outside for a road ride instead of sitting on the trainer. I decided to do the 2x30-minute climbing day since I knew it wouldn't be hard to keep the heart rate at 90% while climbing the closest - and my favorite - mountain destination. When Rick and I first met, we sat atop this mountain and just soaked it all in - the young couple falling in love and the beauty of the scenery. It was SOOO romantic! Mahantango mountain isn't very high (I think the elevation is about 1,000 feet), but the view is incredible looking into Mahantango Valley. The valley is steeped in history of Pennsylvania German settlers -- my roots. Mahantango Valley is probably most popular for its highly collectible, museum-quality furniture from 200 years ago. Today, only 75 pieces are known to be in existence making this folk-art furniture extremely valuable. A blanket chest sold at Sotheby's 8 years ago for $211,500. Wow. At one point years ago, a local auctioneer told me and my mom he knows of some pieces in little old ladies attics in the valley. My mom and I were drooling. We both adore this type of furniture and when I see an old house in the valley, I wonder if there's a museum piece in the house. Back to the mountain. The mountain is a popular north-facing slope for hangliders. When the wind is right, its quite entertaining to watch these guys "jump" off the slope. See some pictures here and a pilot's story about hang-gliding at the Sac. But it's also an incredibly intense climb when starting at the low point, Mahantango creek. It took me exactly 25 minutes to do the steep 1.5 miles on two-ringed Jake. Yes my friends, I didn't have a granny to do this and I was wishing I did. And the training plan said "2x30-minutes at 90%." So that meant when I got to the top, I turned around and went back down and did it again. I had to fight the little monsters who were tugging at me to NOT go back up a second time. But I bucked up, and did it. My heart rate was one beat under my max at one point for this ride and ended up at an average of 142 for the 2.75 hour ride for the day. Excellent training session - excellent ride for the day.

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