Sunday, June 18, 2006

Big Mountain

JuniorSprinter came down and met me at work on Friday. He, NeilK and I left work early to go ride. We drove up and parked just west of Hogle Zoo and headed up Emigration Canyon. I haven't ridden this canyon in about a year, and I have never been past the Little Mountain summit. From there you can ride down the back side and then either connect with I-80 in Parley's Canyon, or turn left and ride up to Big Mountain. I go slow up anything bigger than an overpass, so until Friday, I had always turned around at the first summit.

To Little Mountain
The ride starts at about 4,800 feet and in 8.5 miles it climbs to a pass at about 6,250 feet. JS and NeilK rode away from me almost as soon as we started, but I expected that. I tried to ride within my ability and just keep a constant tempo maybe just a little out of my comfort zone. The canyon kind of rises in steps so you can recover after some brief hard pushes.

The view from the summit is great. After a brief rest (for me; the guys were waiting for a while I'm sure) we headed down the back side. It was a quick 2-2.5 mile descent on which we gave back about 300 feet.

To Big Mountain
The climb to the Big Mountain Summit was beyond anything I have every done. I hung with the other two for the first mile or so, while the grade was pretty mild. The four miles to the summit are an almost constant 7-7.5% grade by the estimation of NeilK's GPS. About half-way up I was really struggling, almost unable to ride in a straight line. I was going so slow I was shocked that my cyclometer was still picking up my speed since the wheels were turning so slowly. That's when I saw...

The Rock
It wasn't a huge rock; maybe the size of my clamshell flip phone. If I was on the flats I wouldn't have worried about it. I was thinking, "gotta miss the rock" when I hit it straight on. BAM! I came to a dead stop. It was alright though; I needed the rest. I gave myself about 3 minutes for my heart rate to come back down before I started up again. I think that JS and NeilK had been at the summit at least 20 minutes before I made it up. I was totally cooked, but in the best way.

The ride back was good. There was the little climb back up to the first summit, and though my quads were toast, I kept the other two in sight at least, and I almost caught them on the descent. JS is getting a lot better at going down.


Mouseyme said...

Sorry I couldn't join you for the ride - but thank you for the invitation. Where are the pictures?

GeekCyclist said...

Nobody was on the ball enough to bring a camera this time. It's unfortunate because when you are going as slow as I was you have plenty of time to appreciate the wildflowers.