Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fun And Games

It's all fun and games until the road starts tipping up. Then things change. Quick. Or slow rather. I go much slower. Much much slower. It has been a long time since I've dripped anything on my top tube other than little dribbles of snot in the cold but today I was pouring sweat and it all ended up on my top and down tubes and my crank arms and bottom bracket. Yes it was warmer than normal today in the 50s and the wind was pretty reasonable too but today I decided to stop being a sissy and instead be a real man and ride up a hill.

Riding up a hill is probably not the best or smartest use of time when you're trying to get to 311 miles in nine days for The Festive 500. Besides, I'm woefully behind. When I started out today I had managed 162 in the first six days out of the 311 needed by day nine. With 24 more miles today that puts me at 186 miles for the seven days so far. I need 125 more miles and I have two days to do it. 63 miles per day over the next two days. That should be a piece of triple chocolate gingerbread cake. No problemo.

It has been a while since I've ridden up a hill. I know it hurts but I always forget just how bad until I'm doing it and then it's too late. I'm stuck there pedaling slow enough at some points to churn out the big 4 mph and my bike now has a nice matte flame paint scheme where the red turns to black where it used to be glossy. Today I was sweating a lot. Today I rode up to the top of Suncrest on the north side. The fun and games were quickly replaced with something else. Labored breathing and scorching quads.

On paper it doesn't seem so bad. It's only about 5 miles and 1500 feet of climbing. Doesn't sound so terrifying. The problem is when that grade locks in at 8-9% it grabs your legs and lungs by the throat and doesn't let them go until you see the flashing stop sign at the top. I think I surprised my legs today when I crossed Redwood Road and veered right instead of left onto 1300 West because they really did not seem to be ready for that little trick. Turning to the right right there can only mean one thing. We're going up Suncrest.

The only redeeming thing about hitting a whopping 4 mph on the way up is gliding back down at 51 mph. The only thing better than that is hitting the green light on Highland Drive and blasting on through able to carry your speed down Bangerter Highway to 13800 South. Pure joy. It's the main thing that makes it worth whatever you want to call whatever you're putting yourself through when the road tips up. When that road tips down there's nothing better - it's all fun and games again.

9/1/2012 - Dream Small Ride #7 - Mirror Lake Highway

I'm going to spend Dream Small Ride #7 on the Mirror Lake Highway. This is the place where many a motorcycle rider has died from crashing and once a fellow cyclist named Shane Dunleavy was a part of this news report: "The bicycle of Salt Lake's Shane Dunleavy is left in pieces after being run over on the Mirror Lake Highway in Summit County on Saturday morning, August 2, 2008. An enraged motorist ran Dunleavy off the road and then ran over his bike. Dunleavy suffered minor injuries and the motorist was arrested by the Utah Highway Patrol."

Lots of action on the Mirror Lake Highway. I'll be starting after breakfast in Evanston, Wyoming where the road tips up and the fun and games stop and riding 43 miles up to 10732 feet above sea level or a gain of 3427 feet. Then the road will tip down and it will be fun and games again for 29 miles of descending 4185 feet into Kamas. I'm going to have dinner there with my family at The Yolk Restaurant to finish off the ride. Total elevation gain for the ride will be 4147 feet. Not too bad.

I plan to stop and take a lot of pictures on the way up because this ride is going to be gorgeous. There is a lot to see in the High Uintas and when I'm going up a hill I'm going slow enough to see it all. The air will be pretty thin too so I might need to catch my breath. Even though I'm riding up the "easy" side to Bald Mountain Pass, I'll still be hill-slugging along in anticipation of the descent down the "hard" side of the mountain into Kamas.

There probably won't be too many stops for pictures coming down on the descent. I'll be hungry and locked into a relaxed position hanging off the back of my saddle in the drops with my chin about an inch over and behind my stem enjoying the fun and games that make the climbing worthwhile. It doesn't really matter how bad it hurts when the road tips up. It doesn't matter how long it takes. It doesn't matter how much you sweat. When the road tips down it is all worth it.

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