Monday, December 26, 2011

On The Hoods

12/26/2011 - Day 4 - Festive 500 - 28 miles

The day started with breakfast - the most important meal of the day. Two fat slices of Triple Chocolate Gingerbread Cake sprinkled with powdered sugar and those two fat slices really hit the spot. You can tell how focused I am on my nutrition this time of year and today I was determined to eat right and log some miles for The Festive 500. The weather this year is turning out just about as good as can be hoped for. There was minimal wind today and the temperature was a sunny 35 degrees when I started out. Almost perfect.

Legs feel good? Check. Dressed perfectly for the temps? Check. Almost two hours to get a ride in? Check. Flat course planned? Check. Courteous motorists? Check. The ride was going great. About the time I was fixing to turn and head back south, it dawned on me that I had spent all of the miles I have logged so far for this Festive 500 on the hoods.

I don't know if it's the 8 extra pounds I have packed on over the last two months or the cold temps or the lack of any real climbing and thus descending as well or just my general trend toward sliding into soft and lumpy and lazy but I realized right then that it had been a long time since I had really gotten down in the drops. Frankly, I haven't missed it either and I'm not too sure how comfortable that would be for any length of time right now anyway. Slices of Triple Chocolate Gingerbread Cake aren't the only goodies I've been enjoying this holiday season.

I was cruising along thinking that it just doesn't get any better than this when I felt my bike bobbing slightly underneath me moving slightly up and down with each pedal stroke. Flat. Rear tire. Crap. Fizzle. A quick dismount and push to a nearby Barbacoa to sit on their patio and change the tube resulted in some very very very cold fingers and the use of my last spare tube. Back underway I realized I had lost some time and the sun was quickly dipping toward the horizon.

When I finally got back home I realized I was about 2 miles away from getting to 100 miles toward the 311 that I need to succeed at this Festive 500 so I made the decision to cruise around my neighborhood for the 2 miles to get to 100. It had gotten really cold as the sun had been hiding behind the mountains for about twenty minutes now but the sunset was superb with pink clouds in the western sky. I wondered what the neighbors might think about this crazy guy just out doing circles around the neighborhood in the twilight of dusk in the middle of winter. I didn't care and it didn't matter. I was going to hit 100 miles as I turned circles around the neighborhood enjoying the sunset as I was perched up on the hoods.

7/18/2012 - Dream Small Ride #4 - Guardsman Pass - 60 miles

It's been said that it's the toughest climb in the area. Basically it's a 17.5 mile climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon and then on up to where the pavement ends at Guardsman's Pass. From the base of the canyon it is 4779 feet of elevation gain to the top. It's rated as a ''hors cat├ęgorie'' climb. Sounds painful and it will be.

I'm starting at 9:00 a.m. on July 18, 2012 where the pavement (road) ends at the top of Wasatch Boulevard so I can warm up on the way to the canyon before crawling to the top. After the descent from Guardsman's I will head up to the cafe in Brighton and have lunch before heading back down the canyon and then slogging the 18 miles through the valley back home. 60 miles total with 5279 feet of overall elevation gain.

That is going to be Dream Small Ride #4. I rode up to Brighton last summer from my house and back. It was a good ride for me that day. I thought about going up to Guardsman's Pass then but saw the road ramp up and chickened out.

Besides I had accomplished what I had set out to do that day. I had hill-slugged it up to Brighton. I had reached a goal. I had hit a milestone. Besides I was pooped. And even though I probably spend about 95% of my time on the bike perched on the hoods - at that moment in time I felt like I could finally consider myself a real cyclist. So I turned around and headed back down the canyon and I rode back home and shaved my legs.

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