Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday 8/22/09 Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans
54.57 miles
~7,000 vertical
2:36:32 up
3:35 RT

I rode Mt. Evans again on Saturday as planned. I was hoping to ride it a bit faster than I did on Thursday, I did succeed in doing so, but only by 22 seconds! Even though I did not put too much into it on Thursday, there is nothing easy about riding up this peak, especially with the lack of conditioning I have for cycling (or anything else) right now and the ride left me feeling a bit sore afterwards.

I was hoping that I would mostly recover by Saturday and be able to put a bit more into it, but I was a bit naive thinking that 1 day would be enough time. Another factor which did not help matters was that it was a bit breezy, not a lot, but enough to add significantly to the effort.

My friend Bruce and I started from Idaho Springs at 7:39am and I started spinning a good tempo, easily holding 18+ mph. Sweet! I thought as I cruised along, if I can hold this to the top, I have Danielson's 1:41 record in the bag!

It did not take long until things slowed a bit, but I kept putting pressure on the pedals, going a pace that I felt was harder than 2 days prior. I soon passed my friend Joe and his friend, said hello and kept going. Though I felt like I was going harder/faster, I reached the 1st switchback at about the same time as the previous trip, perhaps even a few seconds slower, how can that be?

I tried to not get too discouraged and kept on keeping on. The minutes were clicking by fast and the miles were dragging by slow. I reached the pay station in 1:06 flat and elected to not make the mistake of stopping like I did on the previous trip, as the ranger was busy talking to paying motorists and did not even notice me.

Once above the gate, I could really start to feel my hamstrings tightening and became discouraged. I sucked down a 2nd gel, hoping that would provide a miracle, but nothing. I seriously considered turning back to meet my friends and ride up with them at their pace, but elected to press on and see what happened.

As I broke treeline, the breeze kicked up, in my face and slowed me a good bit. I plugged away, knowing that I was losing time, but hoped that once I rounded the corner over the Goliath/Warren/Rogers ridge/saddle, the road would be more protected and I may perhaps even be blessed with a bit of a tailwind.

As expected, the following stretch of road was a little more protected, but I had no zip left. I just pedaled along and completely gave up on any urges to push hard, from here on it was just going to be a nice day up high on the bike. Above Summit Lake, I felt a touch better as the road steepened and again felt great as far as the altitude went. I was kicking myself for swapping my 12/25 for my 11/23 the previous day, as I would have appreciated the granny gear while facing the wind.

Eventually, I topped out in 2:36:32, a whopping 22 seconds faster!I waited ~25 minutes or so at the summit for Bruce and we then waited another 20 or so for Joe and his buddy who did not show. Bruce had to get home, so we began the descent and passed them at Summit Lake, still on their way up. Unfortunately, Bruce needed to be back, otherwise I was thinking of heading back up.

A little disappointing to not go faster, but I am not concerned, I was really just out for a fun time up high and it certainly was.

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