Monday, September 1, 2008

Today's 50 Mile Ride

I have been doing so much of the commute to work stuff that I haven't actually been out for a "fun" ride in quite some time. I figured this morning, with it being Labor Day & everything, it was time to remedy that.

One of my favorite "guaranteed to make me exhausted" rides is what I have dubbed the "Triple Gap Ride", which starts at my house, goes up and down Waggoner's Gap, up and down Doubling Gap, and finishes by completing King's Gap.

I started at about 7:45 -- well over an hour later than I wanted to (which is a big part of why I did not complete the King's Gap portion of the ride), but damnit, it was Labor Day, and sleeping in is allowed. The weather was beautiful - but cold again, with the starting temperature well south of 60°. I actually broke out my Primal Wear Tattoo Arm Warmers, which are quite silly - but they did their job.

Since I have an iPhone, I figured I'd use on the trip, and first took a picture before the first big climb. The ascent up Waggoner's Gap is a 2.5 mile ride from 600 feet above sea level to just over 1400 feet above sea level. I have done this ride before - but, as I said, it's been awhile since I have actually been out "for fun", and I had to catch my breath about midway up, which greatly disappointed me -- previous attempts have been done with only a break at the top. With the break, though, I convinced myself that I'm becoming a better rider, as I was able to start on an uphill without having to retrace my steps.

Next, we have a couple of pictures from the top:

The tower (that you might only barely be able to make out from the first shot)

A marker of the altitude.

A view of the road I just climbed.

The trip from Waggoner's Gap to Doubling Gap / Colonel Denning State Park is a relatively straight-forward trip . . . a few minor climbs, but pretty straight, and pretty level, again about 600 feet above sea level. Then the Doubling Gap ascent began -- and it sucked. See, when you're climbing Waggoner's Gap, you see exactly where you're going and you know what you're getting yourself into. Doubling Gap isn't quite the same -- even though I've done the ride a few times, you don't see the peak anywhere, and the ride starts out like a little itty-bitty hill that you can just power over, only it never stops -- until you're somewhere between 1300 and 1400 feet above sea level and you start climbing down. As you're making the ascent, there are minor crests in the hills -- you're going along at a 8%, or 10% or 12% climb, and you see the break in the road . . . only it gets down to climb in the neighborhood of 1 to 5% -- not nearly enough to allow you to catch your breath or gain some inertia (even though the looks of it allowed you to convince yourself that such was just ahead). It's evil -- I actually had to stop twice on the way up to catch my breath (and allow my heart rate to slow down from about 190 to 130), but I made it.

One view heading down

Another view heading down

A very poor shot of the view from where I was

Anyway, by the time I completed the descent and made it into Newville, it was nearly 10:30, and Duffy & I had volunteered at the Big Brothers / Big Sisters drink tent at the Kipona Festival at 1:00, so I killed the King's Gap part -- there will be other days and other rides. All told, I did a very hilly 53 miles, and I'm a little bit proud of myself for not being exhausted and looking forward to biking in tomorrow. Yeah, I would have liked to make the climbs without breaks, but I'll get there.

1 comment:

Sam said...

John, just found this. Good stuff here, not least of which is The Dark Tower (ask me about THAT some time). As if someone hasn't told you that you aren't crazy enough for biking 40 miles a day to work and back, I'll say it: YOU'RE CRAZY. That said, good luck with everything. My commute probably isn't even a mile round trip, but I plan on biking in as much as humanly possible. Even during the winter; I love being cold and avoiding ice, etc. should be fun. We'll see how long it takes to kill myself.