The rest of the week saw cooler temperatures, but that didn't deter anyone in the group from riding. The sun was shining and plans had been made to tackle a few loops and bakery runs.
Wednesday saw the girls make a break for Saluda, to discover the awe and mystery of the Saluda bakery. Their route took in the Greenville Watershed, providing a nice backdrop to ride along on their journey. After returning, rave reviews were heard throughout the house for the bakery's soup and pastries.
While the ladies went off to Saluda, the guys plotted a loop around Lake Jocassee, which involved a lot of climbing. Brendan was a hurting unit on the way back, so the others gave him some food and took off for home, planning to head out to give Brendan a lift home. In the end, Brendan got a second wind, as the car only made it a couple km down the road before they found Brendan plodding his way home. A "sticky" can of beer was offered out the car window to aid Brendan in the final 12% grade back to the house.
The next day a few members of the crew decided to take it easy with a short ride close to home, saving the legs for the Queen stage on the Blue Ridge planned for Friday.
Janine and I decided instead to go off on another bakery journey, this time to the Flat Rock bakery beside the Wrinkled Egg antique shop in Flat Rock, NC. After a slight detour off course, we managed to get back on track, and Janine was able to show me a nice long climb up through the Greenville Watershed. In anticipation of the bakery, neither of us delved into our energy bars, as we wanted to save our appetites for the bakery. This lead to some grumpy cyclists finally making it to Flat Rock. After some pastries, coffee, and pizza, our morale received a boost, and we were ready for the trek over the backside of Caesar's Head and home. This turned out to be the longest day on the bike of the week at 140km.
Friday we started in Rosman, with the plan to tackle the climb up to the Blue Ridge, and then descend down into Brevard to loop back to the cars. Gerald and I pushed the pace on the climb, looking to test the legs and gain some fitness for the upcoming races. After a wicked climb, everybody put on their warm clothes for the ride along the Ridge, as the temperature was low, and the wind was high. Upon coming around one of the long sweeping bends that make up the Ridge, Kate managed to double flat on chunks of rock and ice that had fallen from a rock face. While repairs were made, we were treated to a rock, snow, and ice show, as the sun melted the snow and ice, mini avalanches broke the silence of the mountain by crashing to the road.
After fixing the flats, the group continued, glad that Kate only had two wheels. The first part of the descent of the Ridge was a twisting technical affair, while the bottom part was more relaxed with long sweepers, paralleling streams and rivers, which eventually took us to a cool waterfall. We made it back to the cars after a stint on the Rosman highway, and after packing up the cars we headed home for another feast to celebrate our Queen stage and all the riding of the week.