Note from Jon: I know I'm supposed to post the rest of my "300 Warriors" story. I just haven't had time to put my thoughts down. I promise I'll have something for Monday.
After being away for so long from my Jekyll because of this, and also this, I got everything back up and running on it so I could focus on my Hayes Stroker Trail review. Great brakes. I really like the feel of the levers. Despite Avid working so hard to put the levers where they put them, I actually like the the way Hayes has done it with the Stroker.
Because I've been used to riding light-weight bikes (I blame you, Look) I wanted to lighten up the Jekyll a bit. Of course one of the easy ways to do this is by swapping out the tires. I had some really meaty tires on it before, so I swapped them for some lightweight Kenda UST tires. Needless to say--what with the really loose and dusty trail conditions--there were a few times when I was wishing for a little more traction.
In addition, I was getting tired because I didn't bring enough water with me. For some reason, I had it in my head that this was a shorter ride.
I started a climb I figured would be no problem because of all the suspension I had. I struggled. Not that I didn't have the power--not so much--but because I kept slipping out on the loose rocks and such.
That's when I realized that I've been climbing these climbs in the middle ring, because I've been riding such a light bike. It stands to reason that I might do better--even on this heavy thing--in a taller gear.
The result was interesting. Yes, I actually was able to finish the climbing much better. There were times when I was tired and wanted to shift down, but each time I did, I found I was having a harder time keeping up over all the trail obstacles. Why?
I believe the reason is speed. When I spin in my granny, I'm going 3-3.5 mph. When I spin in my middle ring, I'm going at least 5.5 mph. On a steep and rocky climb, momentum is your friend. I'm not sure I'll ever drop down into my granny again.
Well, at least not on that climb.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Note from Jon: I know I'm supposed to post the rest of my "300 Warriors" story. I just haven't had time to put my thoughts down. I promise I'll have something for Monday.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Cotton feels nice. It's got a soft hand and is fairly durable. It can be made thin--like cheap t-shirts--or thick--like denim. It's also fairly cheap.
It is NOT what you should be riding in. Ever.
Here's why: it absorbs moisture and doesn't let it go. What you end up with is a nice wet clingy bit of fabric that doesn't allow for free motion and chafes. And, really, who wants that?
Instead, get yourself a nice jersey or shirt made of fabrics that wick moisture from your skin and move to the outside where the air can then whisk the sweat away. Something like the Libertee from Zoic--which we just happened to post the review of today; check it out HERE.
Sure, it looks like a t-shirt, but it's not. It's got that wonderful polyester-and-bamboo fabric. Read the review for our official thoughts. Short answer, though, we love it.
Don't get me started on riding in jeans.
Monday, August 25, 2008
It didn't really register until the day before just how early I'd have to get up on Saturday to do the 300 Warriors ride. I got up at 3:30, but still was almost 30 minutes late to the start in Park City, UT. Well, I wasn't late for the start so much as I wasn't early like I was supposed to be. When I arrived in Park City, I found it was still early in the morning. It was dark, and at that altitude, it was cold. about 40 degrees cold. Though I was surrounded by cyclists getting ready to ride, and I was parked next to the team buses of the Pros, I just wanted to go back to bed. I also wished I had brought leg warmers--but I never missed them on the ride.
There was no organization to the start, so I just took off when I saw another group head out. I was definitely one of the first to go--I think most people wanted to wait until there was some light before they headed out. As soon as I got pedaling, I felt fantastic. There's a certain rush that comes at the beginning of every big event like this, and I found--as is typical--the pace high, but my heart-rate low. I don't often ride in a group, and I think it's so novel the way I can slip along, effortlessly in a big group--sheltered from the wind.
After not too many miles, I realized just how much I should have eaten before I started. At the time, I couldn't stomach any more (it was just too early to eat), but after about an hour of riding I was famished. This worried me quite a bit, as I had planned out my nutrition for the day based on getting plenty to eat in the morning. Ultimately, this would scare me just enough to ensure I actually did get enough to eat. This helped me quite a bit at the end of the day.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I?
The first half of the ride is rolling terrain with a few short, steep hills thrown in. I thought the hills would present a challenge and I thought I'd struggle to keep my heart rate (and thus, effort) down. However, I didn't have any such problem. I glided along without much effort and, before I realized, I was past those hills.
I started to feel more confident.
Some of the first people to start were from some local teams. It was fun to ride with them because they knew how to really get a pace-line going. Because I mostly go on solo rides, I forget how much more efficient it can be to be in a large group. Sure, I took my turn, too, but it was brief because we were constantly rotating. The pace was high.
Unfortunately, when we turn from back roads to the main highway, we had to go single-file. Soon, we started to overtake another group. However, between trying to pass them, and watching out for cars, I lost the group I was with. The next thing I knew I was alone. I couldn't catch up without killing myself, and no one caught me, so I stayed that way until the bottom of the Alpine Loop (the climb up past Sundance Ski Resort). Luckily, it was all downhill with a nice tail-wind.
I love riding the Alpine Loop. I know that climb well. I know when it gets hard--and how long it will stay that way--and I have a good feel for the effort involved. I met my support at the base of the climb and shed my jacket and winter gloves. I grabbed a bunch of Power Gel (my current energy gel of choice) and took off.
I'd like to say that I passed everyone and flew up the climb. I got passed a good amount, though. That's okay, I know my ability, and I was already doing well for time. I took it easy and just kept up my pace. The first part of this climb is terrible. It's steep and it just keeps going. It was here that I passed my first vomit patch of the day. Eww. My heart goes out to anyone pushing so hard at the half-way point (and only the beginning of the climb) that they throw up.
Many teams had their support meet them at or just above Sundance. It felt good to keep going when many people pulled off. Not to mention, Sundance marks the spot where the pitch of the road lessens a bit so I could relax and get into more of a groove.
About here is where I noticed that my shifting was not up to par, and that it was making a lot of noise back there. This is where I started what would occupy much of my thought for the rest of the ride. I started fiddling with the barrel adjusters in some sort of vain attempt to make things better.
Did I mention the beautiful weather? Gorgeous. Of course, the Alpine Loop is always awesome, but it was such a fabulous morning.
Shortly after passing Sundance, I got passed by someone on a really nice Cervelo--but he was breathing so hard. I just kept up my normal pace--refusing to alter it for anyone--and eventually I caught him again. I say eventually, but it was only about a 1/2 mile further up the road.
The rest of the climb was fairly uneventful. I got passed a few times. I passed a few people.
The descent down the other side (American Fork Canyon) was ... slow. Right near the top, a car pulled out in front of us, and proceeded to go slow. (I say "us" because there were a few other cyclists right near me at this point.) We couldn't get around the car because the road is so narrow with too many blind corners. I was cold and in a hurry. On a long ride like this when I'm racing against the clock, it is so frustrating to have free speed taken away. I mean, it wouldn't have cost me any energy to go faster. I rode my brakes the whole way down.
Once out of the canyon, I must have had a nice tail wind, too, because I flew along the road to the next re-fueling stop. Here, I shed my armwarmers, my skull cap, and grabbed more to eat and drink.
Speaking of eating, as I came down American Fork Canyon, I started to worry that I hadn't been eating enough, and that soon I'd not be able to eat--which happens to me sometimes on long rides. I ate tons. Everything I had. Then, I got more (as I just mentioned) and proceeded to eat that, too.
The climb up Suncrest (the 2nd of the three major climbs) isn't too terribly long, but it is steep. And there's no shade. None. However, despite this, I was really looking forward to this climb because it was here that we designated as the spot where my family would come out to cheer me on.
Actually, I was a little worried. It was just before 10am when I started the climb, and 10 was when I told my wife to be there. I remember saying something like, "There's no way I'll be there by 10, but you might as well be early." Huh, if she took that at face value, she might not even bother showing up right at 10. I really thought, because I was so ahead of schedule, that I'd miss them.
Before I had a chance to think much of the climb, though, someone wearing a red cape of some sort jumped out from behind a power box and started screaming "Go 300 Warriors!" That would be my support guy. I don't have any pictures of what he looked like running next to me as I climbed (by the way, he's an awesome runner--he ran quite a ways with me shouting and stuff) but here's what he looked like when he was getting ready to jump out and scare me.
At this point in the ride, there were much fewer cyclists. I'd like to think this is because I passed most of them, but I'm sure there's another explanation. I did catch up to a cyclist and lament that I might miss my family.
And then I saw my family. All my children were dressed in their cycling apparel and holding up signs to cheer me on. I gave them all "fives" as I rode past. It was such an adrenaline rush to have them there for me, that I don't think I felt the 2nd half of the climb.
I saw my family at the top again and they drove past on the way down (I took this descent easy on purpose). At the bottom of the hill, I made a right turn to follow the course and I noticed my wife take a left. Although I wanted them there at the finish, I knew it'd be hard for them--especially with the 4-month-old--and they really had no idea how much longer it would be.
Well, two climbs were done, and I was finally starting to feel tired. The ride through the valley to the base of the last climb isn't a bad ride. There was more traffic than I wanted (I even got honked at by any angry person in a car). I really wished they could have closed the course at this point.
One of the worst parts ...
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Today, over lunch, I got back on the Ritchey and headed for my favorite lunch-time climb: Squaw Peak. I timed my ascent, though I didn't keep track during the ride at all. My goal was to do really, really well, but also to relax about it.
I was relaxed, but I didn't do really, really well. I didn't do bad, either, though. I was about 2 minutes off my standard pace. On the last bit of the climb, I really dug deep to keep my speed up. When I got back on level ground (at the bottom), my legs were a little stiff and kept feeling like they were going to lock up on me. It wasn't terrible, just a little uncomfortable at first.
As I wound my way through the neighborhoods back to work, another cyclist (decked out from head to toe in Saeco team kit) came from an adjacent street to the one I was on right behind me. It's a fairly natural reaction for me to jump just a little bit when another cyclist is near by. I might not be out to race everyone I meet, but I'll speed up ever so slightly and try and make an assessment of the other rider.
Immediately, I realized two things. First, he was trying to pass me. Second, his chain needed some serious lube (nice bike, though). This second observation was very much to my advantage since I could tell where I stood with him without glancing around and appearing like I wanted to race.
I didn't want him to pass me, though. Maybe it was the squeaky chain, but I just felt like I should be able to go faster than him. So, without changing my appearance, I stepped up the pace. A lot. I could tell he was struggling, because even around a corner--when he tried to pass me on the inside--he just couldn't hold it. He was right behind me for a few blocks, but at some point, the squeaking died away. Not wanting to concede that I was pushing hard, I kept up the pace and avoided looking behind me. Only when I turned a corner and could safely look back without careening my head around did I size up the situation.
He was still behind me, going the same way, but he was no longer trying to keep up. I broke him.
Even so, I felt too good to slow down so I kept the hammer down the rest of the way back to work.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Confession time: I have not been riding nearly as much as I should be. Rather than bore you with my tales of woe, I'll just say that I've been rather busy. I haven't even been commuting by bike regularly since I've had to haul building material to/from home on a nearly daily basis. When I haven't needed to haul anything, I've just been making excuses. The result? I've discovered--again--first hand how quickly one can lose hard gained fitness.
Yesterday, I thought it was time to get back in the saddle, to recommit to riding regularly, to make time for the sport that I love and gain back some of the fitness. In short, it was time to stop making excuses. Not only was I going to ride in--even though it was raining--I was going to take the off-road route home. This would make for the longest ride I've done in about a month.
Sad isn't it.
That was the plan and to make sure that I followed through, I convinced T. that he needed to join me. You see, it's harder to back out when someone else is along for the ride.
Long story short, the ride hurt. My knees were rebelling; my legs ached from disuse. My bike, on the other hand worked flawlessly. The shifting was spot on and the brakes were excellent. The trails and gravel roads, though well known to me, were a treat to ride on. The sky opened up and we got a severe soaking, but even that wasn't enough to--ahem--dampen the enjoyment of getting back on the bike.
However, my lack of fitness was shocking. Shocking! Why is it that it takes months to gain fitness and mere weeks, nay, days to lose it?
Interbike is just around the corner. The Outdoor Demo occupies the first two days of the show. This is, for me, a suffer fest of standing around, swapping bikes and riding the trails over and over and over, all the while breathing in dust. I love it. But, in order to get in as many bikes as possible, I need to be reasonably fit. I need to get riding. I need to get ready. So, I am back on my bike, back on my commitment to ride.
After all, I love cycling.
Monday, August 18, 2008
"The last five Ks seemed like forever." - Blake Caldwell (at the time, the yellow jersey holder for the Tour of Utah) speaking of the final climb up to Snowbird Ski Resort on Stage 4.
Yeah, I hate that climb.
I haven't had a chance to type up my long and boring report of the ride, yet, so I thought I'd just bring up some observations I had from the day. I'll probably explain some of these later when I have more time.
- Having my family there at the end to cheer me on was a huge boost when I wanted to stop and rest a bit.
- Starting out the day in 40 degree weather (that's F, not C) is much better than finishing in the heat.
- Hydration = good!
- Even at my best, the Pros are so much better.
- The bike doesn't get you the win.
- I am really, really horrible at adjusting derailleurs. I can't figure out why, though, because it seems so simple. Further, playing with the barrel adjusters while riding just makes things worse.
- Even though I've never been much of a fan of the Rock Racing team, it's just a team. Racers move around as they try and sort out their career, but the team isn't necessarily the rider. Case in point: Victor Hugo Pena. If you ever google your name and this post comes up, I just want to tell you you're awesome in my book. When you threw your empty bottle to a six-year-old on the side of the road who was screaming, "Go biker, go biker!" you made a permanent fan--a fan of both you and cycling in general. Now my son won't put that bottle down. Thanks.
- Rotating pace-lines are so cool when they work right.
- The best way to avoid flats is to prepare for them. All told, I had two sets of spare wheels and a spare bike. Mechanicals during the ride? None.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Though I'm too tired to get into a full account now, I wanted to show that I am still alive. It was hard, but I was better prepared than I thought.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Well, not zero time, just less than a day.
Certainly zero time for training.
Almost zero time to prep.
I wish, though, that there was zero time to worry. I really think I'm ready for the ride, but I can't help but worry about how well my body will handle it. I find myself doing a mental checkup on my body. I test my legs: yeah, they're fine. Is my back okay? My neck hurting (it hurt a couple of days ago for no apparent reason)? Is that a sore throat coming on?!
So, today I'm drinking lots and eating ... well, I'm trying to eat lots, but for once my appetite isn't what it normally is. Usually, I'd welcome a "free" day like today with lots and lots of food in a constant stream. I've been struggling today.
Things left to do:
- Clean my rims and brake-pads so stopping is optimal--with lots of uphills, there comes lots of downhills.
- Organize all my gear for the SAG vehicle tomorrow (what does SAG stand for, anyway?).
- Clean my sunglasses.
- Get a hold of my SAG driver and work out a time to pick him up in the morning (I'm thinking we need to be on the road by 4:30! (AM))
- Start filling bottles with eLoad (though I'd like to do this just before the ride, that means getting up even earlier)
- Buy new battery for my wireless fork transmitter. (That sounds cooler than it is. This is just for my wireless cycle-computer.)
- Go to the bathroom about 12 more times--because I'm drinking so much!
- Print out turn-by-turn course outline for my SAG driver (in case he forgets)
- Eat a banana.
- Go to sleep early! (If I can sleep at all.)
Let me know if you think I'm missing some all-important pre-race ritual--or just something that I'll need.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sure, we've alluded to it, directly mentioned it, and promised that it was nearly finished. Now you can hop on over to GearReview.com and check out our review of the Ellsworth Evolve for yourself.
Bottom line? It is quite possibly the nicest riding 29er I've thrown a leg over. But I'll stick with 26" wheels, thanks. I prefer the snappy feel of the smaller hoops, though the stability that the bigger wheels lend is very nice when bombing technical singletrack. And, even though this isn't a road bike, the Evolve was laterally stiff, yet vertically compliant. A good thing too, since it's a full suspension bike.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
My favorite jersey in the whole world is an Assos Jersey. (This one.) Although reasonably priced, by Assos' standards, it still is a whopping $150 (US). Many have scoffed at this, thinking, "there's no way it's worth $150." or even "What is so different about this jersey that makes it worth $150?" Of course, many people can't manage to get out more than, "$150??!!"
Yes, it is worth $150. Not that everyone can afford this price. If it were priced lower, I might have more than just 1. As it is, I have only one, and I try and save it for special rides, or long rides, or rides where I want to wear the best jersey.
To illustrate why it is worth more than three less-expensive jerseys put together--as it is priced--I'll compare it to the jersey I've been given to wear for the 300 Warriors ride this Saturday in the Tour of Utah. (As part of this ride, we got jerseys with our number screened onto the back pocket of the jersey. We have to wear these jerseys as this is our "bib" in essence.)
(I could point out why all other jerseys suck, but I think one is enough to illustrate my point.)
I decided today to go on an early morning ride wearing what I was planning on wearing Saturday. Either way, I'm wearing the jersey (as I stated above), but I still wanted to get a feel for it before the race. The fit is surprisingly nice. I usually wear a size large jersey when they're "pro" cut, but in this case, I got word it was "club" cut, so I went with a medium. The sleeves are the right length and so is the body. It fits close, but not tight. There are three rear pockets. Seemingly, this has everything I'd want out of a basic jersey. In fact, the manufacturer even increased the length of the zipper from the last Tour of Utah (they're the official jersey sponsors of the Tour--providing all the winners' jerseys). I was excited.
My excitement ended when I tried to zip said zipper up all the way (it was a chilly morning--as will be race-day). I won't even pretend to be the strongest guy out there. I'm not even strong by little girl standards. However, getting the zipper past the chest-collar seam took much more effort than it should have. Not surprisingly, it took a ton of effort to then lower said zipper. Of course, most jerseys (though, not my favorite (see above)) require two hands (or one hand while you bite the collar to hold it in place) to unzip, but this was more like, "Don't operate this zipper while riding because it could cause loss of control resulting in death or injury." Being a chilly morning, though, I figured I'd be able to get away with it being zipped up the entire ride (I'm tapering this week, too). I soon realized just how awful a zipper could be.
I don't know quite how they've managed to do it, but the closed zipper is so uncomfortable, I might never, ever wear it zipped up. The zipper ends (the teeth and cloth part) are folded over just at the top and sewn down that way. This has, unfortunately, left little zipper teeth sticking back towards the neck of the wearer. It was surprising to discover how sharp those little things felt (and I'm used to putting the moving blade of an electric razor on that part of my neck). Also, the zipper mechanism itself--due to the folding of the zipper cloth or for some other reason--doesn't sit flat--it sticks out and back towards the neck.
At this point, I need to ask: How could they get it so wrong? The zipper has been around for a long time. I've been wearing clothing with a zipper of one form or another in it for almost all of my life and I've never seen a zipper so bad--so vindictive.
I know, Assos, that you probably wouldn't look to the Tour of Utah as a big money-making venture, but please, PLEASE try and be the sponsor next year.
Monday, August 11, 2008
On Friday, I posted my final review of the Ritchey Break Away Ti/Carbon road bike. You can buy this either as a frame, or as a complete bike. We reviewed the complete bike which was outfitted with top shelf components from Ritchey.
It lived up to its fame of fitting into a standard-size suitcase--well, one that Ritchey includes with the bike, anyway. However, what was most surprising was how great it felt on the road. This bike doesn't feel like a bike that comes apart. It just feels like a great titanium road bike.
I like this bike so well, that I had plans to use it on the 300 Warriors/Tour of Utah ride this weekend. As it turns out, though, I don't think I can do all that climbing with a standard double crankset. My Cannondale Synapse, though, has a 50/36 compact, so I'll be on that in just under 5 days from now.
On a bike ride today, I realize that there's nothing I can do to increase my strength in the next 5 days. Though kind of relaxing--because I no longer need to push myself--I find it a little disheartening as well. I've been concerned with finishing this ride since the day I signed up, but I've also been doing things to prepare. Now, all I can do is rest and wait. Or, rather, try to rest and wait.
However, since I can't make my legs stronger this week, I find my self--for the first time this season--worrying about the weight of my bike. "If I swap stems, I might be able to drop 30-40 grams." "Can I get lighter rim tape to shave off some precious rotating weight?" This is the sort of thing going through my head. As if, at my speed and fitness, even 1/2 pound would make a difference.
What I still don't have nailed down is my eating plan--nor my plan for getting up into the mountains (it starts in Park City, UT) and fed by 6am. Perhaps I should focus more on this.
If there's one lesson to be learned here, though, it's preparing is 1/2 the fun. Or, maybe it's all the fun.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I don't have any first hand information--yet--but new lights have been showing up on Lupine's forums. The most notable is the Tesla. First, the images:
As usual, click on them for bigger sizes.
As you can see, this is a single emitter light. The interesting part is that it will supposedly pump out an astounding 700 lumens from that one emitter. The switch is now integrated into the light body itself, something that they are doing with the Wilma for '09 as well. I think that this should make for a nice beam pattern. It'll be interesting to see if they can get the light to project further than the current Wilma/Betty designs by using that dimpled reflector. Light and Motion used a reflector like that with their Arc lights and the beam pattern was smooth and aberration free.
The new Wilma will now be running at 17W and pump out 920 lumens. Rumor has it that the Tesla will be billed as a helmet light to complement the Wilma as a bar light. It looks like either will work as a helmet or bar mounted light, but the optics might be optimized for one or the other. No word on run times, but I suspect that the new Wilma will not last as long on high due to the increased wattage.
Of course, this is all speculation at the moment, at least until we get a review unit in our hot little hands.
Thanks to commenter RandyB for the heads up.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
There are times when I have a specific ride in mind before I head out. Sometimes, in fact, the whole purpose of my ride is to get on a specific road or trail. Most days, however, I'm just going for a ride. If someone were to ask me where I was going, as I closed my garage door and clipped in for the ride, most days I wouldn't have any idea.
For some reason, though, it doesn't ever matter. I mean, even when I know where I'm going that doesn't mean that's where I'll end up. You see, the road or trail knows where it wants me to go, and I have to obey. Often times, I'll head out on the road and think, "I'm a little sluggish today, so I'm going to stick to a flat ride and take it easy." Before I know it, though, I'm fighting my way up a steep nasty climb. The road decided that's where I needed to go. Sometimes it means heading out on the same road I've been on hundreds of times, sometimes, I'm diverted onto a new road I didn't know existed.
I used to fight this continual prodding from the road or trail, but I found it's best to relax and let it take me. I sit back, spin, keep a loose grip on the bars, and enjoy the ride--wherever it takes me.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Last week I tried a new sport. No, I'm not going to give up cycling anytime soon, but I was participating in a Boy Scout camping trip and they--the Scouts--wanted to rock climb. "Sure," I said, "why not, it'll be a hoot."
We prepared by going to a local climbing gym and getting checked off for belay and safety--you know, how to use the equipment and tie the knots. Once that was out of the way, we spent a few hours climbing. I got fairly confident with my skills and though it was painful, I was looking forward to climbing on real rock. I was like the novice mountain biker who has ridden a couple of times on a bike path and thought they could handle the real thing.
Naivete is a wonderful thing.
First, some differences between climbing in a gym and climbing on real rock:
1) handholds are NOT clearly marked on real rock.
2) what handholds you find are not nicely shaped or rounded. They are, in fact, painful to hold on to.
3) getting off the ground is often the hardest part of climbing the real thing. Not so in a gym.
4) the real rock is much, much taller.
The similarities are:
1) you will feel like your arms are going to fall off.
So I approached this activity with enthusiasm... on the first day. On the second, I approached it with a little dread. I am sure that the novice mountain biker feels the same dread after having--barely--completed the ride of the previous day is told that day two will be similar, but slightly harder even though the novice rider is still sore from the day before.
Without going into too much detail, I'll say that I did better the second day than the first. I discovered that I can hang on the rope--thanks belay guy!--and recover for a bit. And by "for a bit" I mean a good 10 to 15 minutes. Vultures were circling. I also discovered that if I didn't worry about what might be in there, I can stuff my entire arm in a crack and use it as a handhold, though I'm not sure what would have happened had I fallen with my arm stuck in a crack.
It was fun, but I'm not hooked. It was a whole lot of work without the downhill reward. But, it did open my eyes a little to those that are entering our sport. What is easy to us, isn't so easy to someone who is on their second ride, or their second ride off road. How do we prepare them for what's in store? I was climbing in regular lightweight hiking shoes, had I been using climbing shoes it might have helped. How often do we let newbies use equipment that isn't in good working condition or just isn't up to the task?
I think that if we really want more people to walk away saying "this is something I want to get into" we need make the first two or three rides as fun as possible. Let them enjoy that downhill and the work to get to the top just might be forgotten.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Well, I actually survived the ride today--though there were a few times it seemed in question. All told, I did about 9200' of climbing and about 90 miles. I didn't do the first half of the stage, just the main climbs. That last climb--the one up to Snowbird Ski Resort--is going to kill me. I'm not sure why it was so bad. Maybe because I didn't know how long it was. It could have been because the road was new and unknown. However, it seemed to me that the road had the appearance of leveling off, but would actually just get steeper. It was brutal.
Also, I had a very close call while descending the north side of Suncrest. Just as I was rounding a really wide sweeping turn (at a 10% grade) and going about 53mph, a sudden (and inconsistent) crosswind caught me. My resulting correction turned into the worst, most erratic speed wobbles I've ever experienced. At one point, I had actually given myself up for a bad wreck. "It was bound to happen someday," I thought. Fortunately, I managed to slow down enough to temper the wobbles and then come to a complete stop so I could relax and calm down before continuing. Needless to say, and yet I am, I didn't let my speed get much above 30mph the rest of that descent. So, in addition to the climbs, I'm also now not looking forward to that particular descent come August 16.