Another ride report and then something different. The Leadville 100 is coming up for me. I have a few theories about what I did wrong when I trained for it in 2007 and didn't finish, so I am doing some different things this year. One of those things in doing more mountain biking and trying to do more climbing.
(Re-reading those last two sentences just made me think - seriously?! What the hell did I do for training if a mountainous mountain bike race didn't involve climbing and mountain bikes?! Hold on, I will get to that later, but I did have a plan; just not one that worked.)
To serve this training idea, this Sunday I took my just-getting-broken-in Gary Fisher Superfly to the intersection of Forker Road and Mt. Spokane Park Drive and started pedaling it. For anyone familiar with the ride or drive, you will know this triangular intersection of roads. To me, it is the start of the climb, although I know some people start farther away and some further up the road. From this point, it is (according to Google maps) 15.6 miles to the very top of Mt. Spokane. This is a tough climb and I think as long and hard as anything within a day of Spokane. If not, I would appreciate hearing from others as to what is longer or tougher.
Sunday was a nice day, with the temperature hitting the upper 70's in the area. I saw pictures from a Mt. Spokane ride a couple of weeks ago where some riders ran into snow, but I can tell you definitively that while there is still a little bit of snow along the edges of the road, there is no snow on the road at all. As it always is, it was cooler at the top of the climb and, as it almost always is, windy. The last time I did this ride, it was in early October and the wind at the top was in the category of too cold, worry about hypothermia wind/temperature while wearing wet clothes. On Sunday, it was pleasantly bracing. It also encouraged me to get back on my bike and ride back down.
Speaking of up and down, riding my mountain bike, it took me 2 hours, 10 minutes to make it the 15.6 miles from my car to the antennas on top. This is a slow 7.2 mph avg, but decidedly faster than the trip up in October. The trip down was just a touch over 30 minutes back to my car and that was with a strong headwind most of the way, including all of the flatter stuff near the bottom. In other words, it is fast downhill.
There isn't a lot to say about a ride like this. Doing it by myself I mostly just steadily pedaled my bike and wiped sweat off my brow to keep it from running into my eyes. Not much interaction with the world, nothing too interesting (although I was offered a roadside beer about 5 miles in, which I passed up), just the slow grind of going uphill for a very long time. In fact, I noted on my watch that other than the first couple of miles, I was 1 hour 45 minutes into the ride before I hit the first area where I could coast. That is a long time pushing on the pedals largely without respite. My undercarriage made note of it more than once.
For close followers of this blog, you will not that this is the third weekend of tough rides: almost 8 hours at the 24 Hour Race; 7 hours at the Mad Dash; and then Mt. Spokane. This past week I also fit in a few days of commuting with the "long route" home which involves climbing Greenwood, Indian Canyon Road and then Cedar, and on Saturday I did most, but not all, of a very vigorous MR run, so I am feeling pleasantly toasted as I sit here Sunday evening with a beer and this blog. Next week is a rest week and then another push for Leadville. More to come.