Saturday, August 1, 2009

A beautiful day....

Today was supposed to be a 120 mile ride, but after some reassessment we whittled it down to something in the 7-8 hour range. I had wanted to do the Copper Triangle ride which would have been perfect but it sold out--3500 riders. I even tried going over this morning at 6 AM to see if I could "talk" my way in--the answer was AH-No! 

So plan B was to go over to Leadville and ride the first 2 climbs and then all the "flat" sections--that's basically from the Powerline to Twin Lakes and back. By the time I finished with a little extra road riding to get back to the car and refuel, I put in 5 hours. I had not ridden the part from Powerline  to Twin Lakes  yet so it was good to see the trail again--I had forgotten the vast majority of it--it's pretty mellow which is nice as it serves as a "rest" prior to the big climbs. I also rode the new single track which was put in to bypass the "Wall," which was a ridiculously dangerous decent outbound and a heinous death march inbound. The new single track is bumpy like a washboard but all rideable--about 5 mins outbound and 10 mins inbound--I'm going to guess that all told, it will add about a mile to the course and maybe 5 mins as the outbound is longer. The time inbound is a wash--now 10 mins of middle ring riding vs. 10 mins of hike a bike last year.

The drive over to Leadville took almost an hour as the road was littered with the 3500 riders who were smart enough to sign up for the Copper Triangle early.  It made me more bummed that I missed out--80 miles on the road with others would have been much easier than Leadville solo--oh well.

The weather was absolutely perfect when I started--high 40's and not a cloud in the sky. I'm starting to think the first climb up St.Kevin's is one of the worst--it's not long but the steep pitch hits hard without any real warm up. I think it's totally different during the race when it's wall-to-wall people.

The dirt road up to Hagerman's Pass which leads to the Sugarloaf climb.  What a difference a day makes--this is where the hail hit yesterday.

The road up Sugarloaf--"Powerline" outbound. The climb is very managable--the trick for me will be not to over do it here as I did last year.

Over the top of Sugarloaf.

One of the tamer parts of the Powerline descent.

The paved road out to the first aid station at the 27 mile mark. Last year this had a couple of miles of dirt--most of that has been paved now which I think makes it a bit quicker and certainally easier on the taint.

The road from the Powerline aid station to the Twin Lakes aid station--on race day, this should take about 55 mins with the new single track.

The section just as you drop over the steep little hill which I call the "mini-wall." This is the one I stupidly drove the car over the day before--what was I thinking?

The "mini-wall" from the other side--now the only potential hike-a-bike section is inbound between Twin Lakes and Powerline. I did manage to ride it today but I was red lined--not sure how smart that would be on race day with 65 miles in the legs and the Powerline climb approaching at the 80 mile mark.

I felt pretty good by the time I finished. I still needed 2-3 more hours, so I went back to Copper Mountain and rode over to Vail which was a handful--outbound, it's all downhill from Vail Pass with maybe a quarter mile of flat. The return was basically an hour long climb which probably averaged 5% grade--after 6 hrs in the saddle, I was really dreading starting back up and over. The climb was tough, but I got into a rhythm and actually enjoyed it quite a bit, I felt like I went over the top pretty strong--easy in that the only thing left was a 30 minute descent to home.

The bike path down into Vail shares I-70--a little sketchy

I saw this graffiti painted on the road climbing out of Vail.

I got home--walked into this--man, that hit the spot--my wife rocks.

As I forgot the Garmin at home, I missed getting any details on the first 5 hours. This is the "busty" looking profile over to Vail and back.

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