The Big Climb
Sunday, June 23, 2013
For a long time, I've wanted to ride up a mountain just outside of town that seemed so intimidating. Over the years, I've attempted it only to turn back because of the annoying, nagging PITA voice that said I couldn't do it. As soon as the berm ran out, I'd turn around saying it was too steep, I'd be too slow, it wasn't safe, etc.
But a few weeks ago some friends rode the route and all of them liked the challenge. Little traffic, beautiful scenery, and only a few sections had no or little berm.
So I got it into my head that this was going to be the day. Temperatures were to reach 88 today with high humidity, so I planned to get a 6 a.m. start, but slept in a bit and didn't get on the road until 6:45. It was a bit foggy and the air felt slightly cool. I carried about 70 oz. of water in my Cambelback and had two 20-oz bottles of Gatorade, homemade energy bars, and about a half dozen Endurolytes in case my legs started to cramp, which I was really expecting and dreading.
The climb up the mountain was slow--ranging from 3-5 mph. Not fast enough to outrun the annoying gnats and flies that buzzed in my ears and flitted around my face. As I continued on the climb I came to the realization that my perception of the mountain far outweighed reality. Yes, it was steep and a hard climb, but certainly not insurmountable. There was about 4 miles of hard climb, followed by a nice long saddle that was flat before another climb, and then a thrilling downhill for several miles before turning and leaving that particular climb.
Eventually I turned off and followed some more country roads full of rolling hills and two more good climbs before I arrived at Prince Gallitzen State Park around 9 a.m. I rode down to the beach, took off my shoes and waded into the warm water. Only 1 family was there, so I pretty much had the beach to myself. I rested about 20 minutes, and then started the ride home following another route. The temperature was definitely climbing, and I hoped to be home before it reached its high.
The ride back went as smoothly as the ride up. There were several good climbs followed by a long, sweeping downhill. I kept waiting for the debilitating cramps to set in, but nothing happened. I never even felt the "squiggles" which is a precursor to the cramps.
Four miles from home I stopped at DelGrosso's Amusement Park for an ice cold diet Pepsi and a Texas Hot Dog with everything--mustard, onions, and the best hot dog sauce you will ever taste. Of course, after that long ride, it tasted better than ever.
I felt great when I got home, but shortly after taking a shower the exhaustion finally hit. A long nap was in order before I dug into some housework.
The ride was 52.17 miles with 2,683.73 feet of climbing. Time in the saddle was 5 hours, 3 minutes, 24 seconds. The total ride time with breaks was 5 hours, 21 minutes.
Can't wait to do it again!