Thursday, May 1, 2008

King of the Mountain

Well, the early bird gets the worm so to speak. Having to take my kids on a church campout tomorrow my chances at a long Saturday ride were nil. So I decided to do an early long ride before work. I figured 55 miles should do it, I also figured this ride should include climbing so I could get some more use out of what I now call my humility gear. I call it that because many cyclists for reasons of vanity push a gear in the hills that does not allow a proper cadence and thus promotes anaerobic effort. Well, I myself prefer a good spin to lugging the engine with a tortured look of pride on my face.

Bruce made a mention of riding up South Mountain in the comments in my last post, and well, goll durn it, I haven't been up there since they put that new fangled "pavement" in. Last time I was up there I broke a frame pump when the extremely rough road jarred it loose and the head snapped off on the road. I would not have that problem today.

The first reason I would not have that problem is because the road is now wonderfully smooth. The second reason I discovered about 2 miles from home. I had forgotten my pump. Well, I knew I would be pressing my luck if I continued seeing as my back tire has over 6000 miles on it and it is getting close to the end of it's life. Well, I was a punk that was feeling lucky with a tight schedule so I took the gamble.

I love riding in the hours between dawn's first light and sunrise. It seems the traffic is lighter and the roads are mine. They also tend to be less windy. I had a wonderful trip across Mesa deciding to bite the bullet and ride Baseline instead of Guadalupe to save 2 miles and around 7-8 minutes as I thought I might need them.

For some reason it seemed like I hit every traffic light in Mesa, but as I drew near to Tempe I found I was hitting more and more lights. I think I had a slight tailwind and that was keeping me up around 20 mph most of the way. After I crossed under I-10 I headed up baseline to where the canal path joins it. I like taking the path even though it is a bit slower but having no pump I noticed several things on the path this morning. Behind one of the new subdivisions some genius decided to plant thorny bush's next to the path, the street crossings are a pain as there is gravel and dirt you have to go through to cross the road, and then there is all the Billy Bob Bottle fragments one occasionally sees (and I did stop to check my tire after the larger patches).

When I finally got to Central Ave the traffic died down as I drew near the park. At the guard station I chatted up the worker there a bit, he has been a roadie before but is a bit rusty. He offered me some bottled water but I was still good on liquids so I thanked him and headed up into the park past the infamous scorpion gulch, which faces another historic building but I guess if one old building looks like an old abandoned bar/fruit stand it gets fenced in and hung with a no trespassing sign. Now, if an old burnt out building has stone walls and a little character and a spiffy name like "scorpion gulch" written on it, well then, that is something worth being proud of people! All it is missing is an old cowpoke laying in the doorway drunk as a skunk with empty whisky bottles laying around him, of course they couldn't be glass whiskey bottles as those aren't allowed in the park.

Climbing up further into the park I have to hit humility gear once or twice on the climb up to the turnoff to San Juan. It was in this stretch that I got passed by the only car I saw between the bottom and the radio towers (andI would later see him parked up at said towers). I also noticed up the road a cyclist climbing up the mountain. Would I be able to catch him? Would the secret weapon humility gear be any match for him?

The answer is yes but seeing as he was on a squeeky old mountain bike I didn't chest thump or call him a sissy girly pansy or anything like that (fact is there are many sissy girly pansies that could serve me a nice cool dish hill dust seeing as many sissy girly pansies are of smaller build and therefore make better climbers). He was the only bike I saw climbing up the mountain (I would see one more on my way down). It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, the feet were spinning and all was right with the world.

Cadence you ask? What was my cadence? Well, readers, I am proud to say I did not drop below 75-80 RPM or so all the way up including the bit of 10% grade near the top. I did not go anearobic at all and was in a nice aerobic range most of the way up. I like this humility gear thing.

Passing the rollers at the top I sped back to the turnoff to the towers. I climbed the first couple of blips that remind you your are still climbing, and try and fool you into thinking this is it, you are almost to the top and it is easy to believe them as the folds in the hills hide the bit of the hill that really kills people. Nearing the base of this hill I can look up at the towers and over on the knob next to them I can see a tiny hanging garbage can sillouetted against the sky. Time for pain.

In the end it wasn't bad despite being a 13.5% grade for a quarter mile. My heartrate monitor was beeping me sure, but since I had my upper range set conservatively I can't have been much over 82% of my maximum heartrate. I will say it again, I am really loving this humility gear. I was a little out of breath at the top but not gasping by any stretch of the imagination.

I rode my victory lap around the parking lot and gave a hanging garbage can a good victory slap and I was off to descend and get to work which as the crow flies was only a few miles away but as the Randonneur rides was over 15 miles away.

Going down I saw 2 cars and as I was passing the guard station another cyclist going the other way. Yes, I did have the mountain to myself, yes,I used all the real estate I could get in the corners as I descended and no, there was no park speed enforcement out since it was just lil ol me up on the hill. It was a beautiful thing fair readers.

The ride back was nice and all but compared to the main attraction was dull and similar to my regular commute. Is this route a keeper? Yeah, I will ride this baby again. At 3 hours and 50 minutes of ride time (including lights) I will need to get out just a touch earlier next time though.

Boom ba boom boom.....boom ba boom boom.....

A weathered randonner went out one sunny day,

and on his way to work, he found a brand new way

He figured that he'd find a hill and make the rubber fly,

He set his sights upon, hangin' garbage in the sky...

Yippy yi yayyyyyyyyyy, yippy yi Yooooooo

Hanging Garbage cans........ in the sky.

Now many an old roadie, has climbed this hill so steep,

and panted out his lungs til he thought he'd pass to sleep,

Those big ol radio towers, how they taunt you from on high,

just yards down the road, from hangin' garbage in the sky.

Yippy yi yayyyyyyyyy, yippy yi yooooooo

Hanging Garbage cans........ in the sky

Now our weathered randonneur he spun fast with his poor feet,

And he climbed upon that hill those mocking towers for to meet,

He spat upon the last steep grade n' let out his fearsome cry,

He'd beat those cursed towers, and that garbage in the sky.

Yippy yi yayyyyyyyyyy, yippi yi yoooooo

Hanging Garbage cans......... in the sky.

1 comment:

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Pablo! A few mountains for breakfast--what doth he do for lunch? A randonnee or two or three? Cheers! Bruce