Tuesday, July 9

Cobhorn Blues

On my rainy day attempt on Cobhill I muttered to myself “It’s 5.13!"

For you non-rock climbers out there, 5.13 is a measure of difficulty in rock climbing that exceeds the abilities of average rock climbers.  5.12 would probably be considered at the upper end of “average” difficulty, and 5.13 is where you enter into the realm of the truly difficult.

I later questioned my foxhole assertion.  And here’s why:  Mozhican.

Jeff cruises Cobhill.  He dances up it like a faerie.  He makes it look like ballet with his tutu and pointy shoes.  He sings Zippity-Doo-Dah and pirouettes on his front wheel through the crux sections of the climb.  In short, if it’s 5.13 then no one should be able to make it look so easy.

5.12.  Yeah, it’s probably just 5.12.

I tried to filter what I know about Jeff and his riding abilities and then ascertain what kind of difficulty—in climbing parlance—Cobhill would reflect.  Well, Jeff is just a really, really good cyclist.  I mean, he rode down Pot Holler through all those lovely USFS tank traps, deftly hopping over stuff I crashed into and bled on.  He hauls his kiddoes around in a trailer or on a trail-a-bike up and down the steepest, baddest climbs around. He’s described some truly impressive feats of cycling prowess which makes me wish I had not converted our kid trailer to a cargo trailer.  I’ve been considering mounting a camp chair to it and inviting some of my heftier friends to come out for a ride so I can drag them up Furnace and build the legs to someday crush Jeff in a non-Strava kind of way.  Y’know, in real life.

If I could ride Cobhill then that would mean I am a “5.13” cyclist, right?  I don’t feel like a 5.13 cyclist.  Heck, I don’t even feel like a 5.12 cyclist.  5.4…

Then what are the implications of me never being able to ride Cobhill or the eventuality that I will ride Cobhill?  And why couldn’t it have a cooler name like Suicide Hill, or Lungbuster, or Hot Fire Down Your Pants?

I know what I need to do to get myself within reach of the top…eat vegetables.  I need to eat enough veggies that I drop about 20 pounds, and in the process I also need to strengthen my core, particularly my lower back, and then, after many, many, many ascents of Furnace, High Rock, Sky Bridge Hill, Cane Creek Mountain, Hart’s Orchard…and any other hill I can drag my flabby self up…then I can go back and tear down the Mattercob.  Cobhorn.  Matterhill.  

Hart’s is killing me too.  I should be able to ride Hart’s Orchard.  I need to give it another go ASAP.  Once The One is rolling again I’m going to try it once a week—at least—until I get it.

The obvious difference in Cobhill and Hart’s Orchard is one of length and overall gain.  Cobhill is 0.7 miles long with 600 feet of gain.  Hart’s is 0.45 miles with 495 feet of gain.  The less obvious difference is gear ratios.  I’ve been going after Cobhill on my sporty sport bike and Hart’s Orchard Hill on my mountain bike.  My lowest gearing on my road bike is 30/25 and on the mountain bike is 22/34.  While I still haven’t brought Hart’s to its knees on the mountain bike, perhaps a jab at the Cobhorn on my little blue mule would be worthwhile.  

I was going to have a go at the Cow Creek side of High Rock this morning, but due to an outbreak of “sparkles” last night we didn’t end up getting into bed early enough.  I reset the brutal alarm from 4:40 to 5:30 and instead of the 23 mile big climb exercise I opted for some voracious rollers over Pompeii and Paint Creek.  I only broke one segment record this morning:  I managed to churn over Steamshovel Hill a full seven seconds faster than my fastest time ever.

This weekend I’ve got a date with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  More on that to come…

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