Lounging in the Lazy Boy this morning, basking in the afterglow (inflammation) of yesterday's momentous bike ride, I says to Bobbie, "Man, if Quads and Sore Ass could talk you'd be privy to an X-rated diatribe." Nevertheless, the season's first pedal up Camp Bird Road is in the bag. Woo Hoo!
It felt so good to be grinding up into the High Country surrounding Camp Bird Mine again, even if 15 minutes slower than usual. I'm thinking the new Fat Tire could use a lower gear bottom gear, perhaps due to the additional friction of larger tires on gravel, or due to lack of proper conditioning for Camp Bird's 7% grade. Whatever the reason, it was noticeable... certainly more difficult than riding the old skinny-tire 29'er up there last year. Dropping two or three teeth on the front low-range sprocket should do the trick.
Lovely Ouray's elevation is 7,800 feet. About six miles up, up, up from "Der Mien Hütte" is the Camp Bird mining complex at 9,700 feet. This is where my quads usually scream, "Enough," and I turn back for the free fall to Main Street Ouray—more specifically, Mouse's Chocolates, where I indulge in a well deserved Scrap Cookie and Dark Roast Java.
But yesterday, while studying the ruins of Camp Bird's plundering mine all snugged up to the base of United States Mountain and Imogene's notorious pass, I noticed the "reserve tank" had a little bit left. One Gatorade and a Nature's Valley Dark Chocolate Cherry energy bar later I continued the grind to thinner air and higher ground. Sugar is a marvelous source of energy, eh? Here's some of what I found "on high."
One of my (formerly secret) goals for this summer is to ride up to Yankee Boy Basin, 10,500 feet, and, on average, a grade of 7%. I've thought about doing this a few times over the years but feared those days were likely beyond the grasp of a guy in the throws of Geezerhood.
But last summer I noticed something. With each ride up to Camp Bird, even in Geezerhood, the body still responded to "training," pushing the "limits." Thus my goal and motivation (more key ingredients, along with sugar) to see how close I might get to Yankee Boy on the first attempt of the season. Hey, ya can't do it if ya don't dream it, and then try it.
So off I go, keep pedaling into thin air and breaking new ground... waiting for either common sense or chest pain to say "Stop." Nearing timberline, the road split, right going on up to Yankee Boy, left heading off to Governor Basin. "Holy shit, I'm getting close!" Could this be the day I make it happen? Alas, a hundred yards up the road to Yankee Boy—now within a mile, plus or minus—I caught up with a bull dozer at work on clearing snow from the final section above 10,000 feet.
Overwhelmed. That's all I can say. To my surprise and utter amazement, yesterday's ride assured that the Yankee Boy dream was doable, in fact, it was all but "in the bag."
Maybe next week, if Dozer Man does his part.
So now I add a final ingredient to the elixir of "fuel." Stupidity. Never underestimate the magical power of Goals, Motivation, and Sugar when combined with Stupidity.
And now for the free fall to Mouse's Chocolates... All downhill, baby. Don't forget to clear the ears...