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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!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great ride! Great day! Great success!

    Congratulations. I know from my own experience, how wonderful such an accomplishment can be.

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    1766 days ago
    So happy for you!! You did it!! Conquered that hill and enjoyed it!! Yay!! :)
    1766 days ago
    Sometimes we make mountains out of mole hills. Sometimes we make something bigger out of mountains. Glad you got past your inner "no" to see what you are really capable of.

    Sounds like a great ride. It is beautiful out there.
    1767 days ago
    Nice, nice ride! Go YOU for showing that mountain that you could OWN it so! :-)

    Love those descents...I've clocked speeds from 35 upwards of 55 mph on some descents...woo hoo!

    1767 days ago
    Wow, that is fantastic, a wonderful accomplishment! So happy you shared your experience.
    1767 days ago
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