Go Dad Go!

A self-important blog about riding bikes, raising kids and the all-too-rare nexus of these two pursuits.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Climb to Kaiser Ride Report

I'm tempted to write for about as long as it took me to complete this ride, but I'll withhold my typical loquaciousness. After all, this wasn't a race, but a ride.

BUT I'd heard that people definitely ride it for time, and against each other, and they all start at the same time (5:30 a.m.).

So it sucked when the friend who was doing the junior cousin to the Climb to Kaiser decided to waste time in the morning, so that when we showed up at 5:28 we saw the pack leave the parking lot (two minutes early!). I grabbed everything I could think I'd need, jumped on and chased, thus kissing the ride plan -- sit in with the lead group until the base of the mountains -- adieu.

Instead I chased alone for 10 miles, then got in with another guy who seemed strong. We rode tempo to the first ascent, and then I forced myself to ease up. The leaders were still up the road, out of sight, but I figured this ride would reward energy conservation: at 155 miles at 14,000' of climbing -- 13,000 of them in the first 75 miles -- I'd need every bit of leg strength I could muster later in the day. So I put it in my 28 -- yep; got a 28 for this ride -- and spun.

And it went great. Up the first steady climb; skipped the rest stop; on to the first of three sharp spikes, Tollhouse Grade (3,500' in about 12 miles); up some steady slopes, and then on to the nastiest part of the way up, the Big Creek climb, averaging 12% over 3 miles; stopped to see my family and get some food; and then up to Kaiser Pass, peaking at 9,200' above sea level. I felt awesome the whole time, was passed by no one, passed dozens of riders and hit the halfway point at exactly six hours of riding.

Check it out:

From there, (almost) all downhill. A few uphill sections; those little notches you see on the backside of the profile felt far worse than they should have given their mild profile. But mostly it was long, sweeping, screaming descents. We'd been descending for an hour and I saw a sign: Elevation 6,000'. It was a long, long way down.

By mile 135 I was feeling fatigued and stopping at the rest stops, but still riding strong. I'd joined up with three other guys and we were pacelining nicely -- and then they decided we had to blow through the final rest stop, the one I learned later had popsicles, cold Cokes and towels dipped in ice water. It was 95 degrees. I don't do well in heat. I started to fade. I kept up with our group, but my pulls got shorter. When one guy jumped (I told you it was race-like!) with a mile to go, my attempt to match him was feeble at best, pathetic at worst. I limped in just behind our group. Still, I found out later I was the 9th rider in all day, and that was after my late start.

So it was about 9/10 awesome, 1/10 terrible. But after a couple of days of recovery, I remember it as totally worth doing again. I loved this ride: some of the best scenery I've seen while riding, top-notch support and a nice change to purposely gear down.

Next year, anyone?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home