Friday, July 12

The Leadville Saga: Waiting For Armageddon

Me: You good for an early ride this Saturday?

Jeff: Yep.

Me: Four Horsemen.  Bring mountain bike.

I said I needed a “Rollins Pass” ride.  Well, I found it.  For being located on the edge of the lowly Cumberland Plateau this will be a pretty ambitious little outing.  And due to one climb and two descents being on gravel it will be necessary to do this ride on the mountain bike.
A few weeks ago I discovered a steep climb on KY 89 south of Irvine when I drove down to London for a meeting.  Drip Rock.  Man, that thing went on and on and on and the grade seemed pretty continuous all the way.
I mentioned it to Jeff, and he started describing a climb someone else had mentioned to him, but I quickly realized he was actually talking about Barnes Mountain.  I’d forgotten about Barnes Mountain but was familiar with it from my teenage years.
More recently I was planning out a ride from home to get to Drip Rock and back and I let MapMyRide plot the route between the two points.  Then I decided I’d see how far out of the way it would be to snag Barnes Mountain on the same ride.  MMR plotted a back way to the top of Barnes Mountain that I wasn’t familiar with.  But it was a gravel road.  Then I looked at the rest of the route.  It had plotted my approach over Lone Oak and Marble Yard into Irvine.  When I glanced at the profile I saw something…hideous…apocalyptic.
Four climbs evenly spaced over a 66 mile route…average elevation gain of 720’…average length of 2.2 miles…all Cat 3 (MMR) climbs.

For my neck of the woods this is going to be the best Leadville climbing training I’m gonna get.
My first reaction was to throw up.  Then I passed out.  Then I cleaned the vomit off of myself and repeated the original sequence in reverse order.  When the paramedics revived me after I’d aspirated on my own (we assume) vomit I had a vision, a near-death experience, a revelation…
No, I didn’t really think of much else.  I kept gagging.  Then I remembered the Bike Cave was full of particulate bear deterrent, and once I was evacuated to fresher air I stopped hurling.  It hadn’t been the climbs that had caused my nausea after all!
At the time The One was clamped to my repair stand with no wheels and a jacked up cassette and chain.  I needed some time to put Humpty back together again, and to do some lesser climbs around closer to home to build up the steel reserves for my apocalyptic ride.
Then one day this past week I realized I only had four weekends left before Leadville.
I’ve got to stop hanging out in the basement!
July was slipping away.  I couldn’t put it off until I was ready.  I had to go…NOW.  So I have to put Humpty back together again for a dawn assault on the Apocalyptic Equestrians. Will the Mozhican go?  Hard to say based on the following text exchange:
Me: I have 4 Saturdays until Leadville.
Jeff: Does that mean I have 4 Saturdays until I can retire? [Apparently from being my draft horse?]
Me: No way! Then we start working on the record for the Sheltowee.  No rest for the wicked.
I wish it didn't feel like I was a death row inmate counting down the days until I got to meet Ole Sparky.  I wish it didn't feel like I was in the middle of a slow motion, high impact crash.  I wish I were looking forward to it. 
As long as I’ve been preparing for this and building it up in my mind I should be able to enjoy it, and not be looking for a stay of execution…a pardon from the governor for blathering on and on about doing the stupid race here on this blogged space.
I needed a redemption ride.  I needed a mental podium.  Again, I needed a Rollins Pass to boost my confidence.  While this Four Horsemen ride is pretty ambitious considering my lack of training I have come up with another (even more) ambitious ride.  I’m blathering about the upcoming ride knowing I might fail.  The bigger ride…well, if I fail to slay the Horsemen then I might as well hang it up.  So there’s no need to share with you now what that ride is going to be just yet.
If the opportunity presents itself you’ll know all about it Dear Readers.  I promise you that.

I subjected the Cannonball to the indignity of being hauled on the back of my car with hopes of cruising downtown on it for a meeting this mid-afternoon.  If all goes as planned there will be three Xtracycles parked in front of LFUCG's planning offices, all with mid-90s era Cannondale mountain bikes as donors.  Photos to follow.

It's just an optical illusion, the bike is not actually bigger than the car.

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