Saturday, June 13

Most Ambitious Ride Yet

5:15am - I pedal west on Jewell.

I take a left on Yale and drop down to Bear Creek and then Morrison Rd, turning right and pointing my wheels toward Morrison and Bear Creek Canyon beyond. My ultimate goal was the summit of Squaw Mountain a little over 20 miles and 4,000' in elevation gain away.

As I wandered up Bear Creek Canyon my only company was the sun-tinged ridgetops high above, wreathed in misty clouds, and Bear Creek voicing its timeless angry concerns as it tumbled down the canyon to the plains where its ire would be extinguished.

I passed through Idledale an hour after starting out. That concerned me a bit.

I kept on going, up and west...

I passed through Kittredge, Evergreen and then up into Upper Bear Creek. Wow...can you say pretentious poshness? When everyone names their property you know you've traversed into the realm of luxury.

But it is a very beautiful stretch of road. I only had to stop and pee in one person's yard...

So I made better time up Upper Bear Creek from Evergreen until I got to Witter Gulch Road. I made the turn north onto Witter Gulch and the real climbing began. I crawled slowly, higher, higher, slower, slower...until my back had tightened up to the point where I just had to get off the bike. So I walked along pushing the bike for a bit because I didn't want to stop.

The road had turned to dirt and I walked along hoping I wasn't jamming pebbles into the clips on my bike shoes.

Back in the saddle and cranking away, I took the outside of every switchback (there were a number of them) and had a scare/startlement when dog lunged toward me from its territory (read: driveway) only to be stopped by its lead.

I climbed all the way up to Squaw Pass Road. I groaned up the last few hundred yards, breath coming in ragged gasps, legs screaming for relief...and I was back on the pavement.

I looked at the time...after 8:00...I had told Mandy I would be home by 10. I looked up Squaw Pass Road. I wasn't sure exactly how far it was, was pretty sure it was going to be at least five more miles and all climbing. And I knew even if I could get there in an hour there was no way I could make the entire 30+ mile descent in an hour.

So I decided I'd head partway up Squaw Pass Road and I turned west again. I went for a couple miles and stopped (ironically) less than a mile from Squaw Pass proper near the 9,600' contour.

I had been feeling ok, strong most of the way, especially down low. I'd been munching on rainbow Twizzlers the whole way and stopped to eat a Milky Way. But once I pointed my front wheel down my legs slowly started feeling transparent.

I blazed down Squaw Pass Road on my Cannonball but as soon as I reached the bottom and started pedaling north along Evergreen Parkway (toward the upper terminus of Kerr Gulch Rd) I could feel the miles I was dragging behind me.

I labored up to Kerr Gulch and was surprised as I looked down the amazingly steep road below.

Let the fun begin!

Kerr Gulch is a screamer most of the way. And it was a pleasant surprise that it didn't turn to pure dirt as I had thought, but at worst just a rough recycled asphalt surface.

Once back on Bear Creek Canyon Rd my speed slowed considerably. Normally I'd be able to blast down BCC, but today my legs were so tired I could hardly maintain a solid 20 mph.

Toward the bottom it steepens and I did cruise into Morrison at a respectable clip, but once I started climbing back up toward our apartment I felt the miles once again. I rolled slowly into our apartment complex and returned home at 10:08...pretty good considering all the factors that could have delayed me...and did delay me.

So Squaw was a confidence thing for me. I'm not so sure I am ready for the TBP and I don't know if I can ride enough between now and July 11 to be ready.

But this was my most ambitious ride ever. If I had made it to the summit of Squaw Mountain I would have traveled about 32 miles and would have gained 6,000' in elevation.

My Mount Evans ride last 4th of July was 14 miles and 4,000'.

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