Last Friday I went up to Lake Placid and brought my bike. The results were, umm, less than satisfying. In fact, It pretty much sucked. In fact it sucked so badly that my friends at the luge offices commented that they looked out the window last Friday afternoon and felt sorry for me. (Thanks Duncan).
Well once in a while you get a chance to do something over. A Karmic Mulligan. On Friday I got that.
Let’s start with the day. Last Friday, 55, pouring, windy. This Friday, 70, sunny, no wind. In fact the weather this week was one of those absolutely perfect fall days that makes fall a special time. It was nicer out than it had any business being. It was so nice out, I got to ride in my 2012 sort sleeved Fat Cyclist jersey, short bibs, and open finger gloves. The other thing that made last week bad: equipment……..Well I remembered everything. (Even my shoes.)
So (fully equipped :)) out I went on my ride. The course I chose was the same. An out and back on the first 15 miles of the Wilmington Whiteface 100k course (30 miles round trip).
I really like this ride. Apart from the fact that I am getting to know it better, it has a little bit of everything in terms of climbs. Its not the most scenic ride, or a very technical ride. Its just composed of honest hard climbing.
There are three major climbs involved. The first climb comes after a fast paved downhill from the start. This climb is about 800 ft and about 3.5 miles long. It starts out pretty mellow. but about half way up it has two pretty steep (15-20% grade) sections that let you know you are riding. I usually suffer a fair bit on this climb because I am not properly warmed up. Up to the top and then over I went. Down the backside. I took the downhills a little easy. It’s not a good place to have a crash. No cell coverage, not many people. There is little upside to riding down on the edge. Its just better to go a little easy.
On to the next climb. Styles Brook Drive. This climb starts paved. The paved section is about 3 miles long and is steep STEEP STEEP (over 25% grade) in places. Forward on the seat, keep the front wheel down, grind it out. The real heart breaker comes from a false summit. You get off the steepest section onto a relatively flat part. Then just when you think you are OK, up it goes for a final part of the climb. I finished this section and turned around to head back to my car. I took this descent easy as well. Its extremely fast since it is paved. Friday it was covered in leaves. So down (a little slow) I went.
I really really love the the climb back up over the first mountain. It sets up absolutely perfect for a hard effort. To me this climb flows. Not in a singletrack kind of flowy way, but in a mental riding kind of way. There are three roughly equal sections with clear distinctions between the sections. Once you learn this climb it is easy to pace. When I rode the Wilmington race I was pretty tired when I hit this climb. But I knew how it was set-up and I knew how much effort it took. This was actually kind of a recovery climb in the race. On Friday up I went. Loving it.
A fast descent down the backside. Then up the what was the paved downhill on the out. When I got back to my car I decided to do a little single track. It was leaf covered but mostly dry. A fun way to end the ride. My legs? Mostly OK. It was clear that I haven’t been riding hills a lot in the past month or so. It felt good to grind some uphills out. I wish this ride was close to my house.
World, thanks for the Mulligan. Thanks a bunch.
(Umm If it’s not too much to ask, I hope we get one or two more days like this in before it cools off for good. One or two more days, please?!)