Sunday, October 11, 2009

heading south

I had planned to do a long ride today, just because it's fall and the snow hasn't covered us yet and it should be a beautiful time to ride.
but after yesterday's cold and gloomy-sky ride, all I could think about was the desire to not be cold today.
I awoke to the sound of car tires on wet pavement, and a part of me just smiled and curled up more tightly. ahh, can't ride in the rain . . .
of course when I looked outside I could see that it had finished raining, and all a serious cyclist needed to do was wait a bit for the pavement to dry.

I had to force myself out the door today, and I headed south with bill. canyons seemed too iffy for the warm-weather gal I was impersonating, so we settled on a ride to draper. wasatch boulevard carves a pleasant path across the eastern foothills to sandy, then there are just a few little jogs that keep one fairly close to the foothills the rest of the way to the big Chevron station at the base of Traverse Ridge Road.
now anyone who's anyone in the salt lake valley cycling world knows where Traverse Ridge Road leads. I know it, bill knows it, and its vibes started pricking their way through my layers of gear as soon as I was within 5 miles of the road. come, they said. come on, keep riding, come further, yes, come, come . . . you must be tired of this boring ride out south, you must be ready for the crowning achievement I can offer you . . .
Traverse Ridge Road leads up (very up, sometimes with a 10% grade up) to a development called Suncrest. this summit can shake fear into a cyclist early in the spring, bring one to gasping lungs and burning thighs come summer, and sucker one up come fall when said cyclist has the (sometimes false) confidence that they can handle the climb.
I started it resolute.
it was there in front of me: I was going to climb the damn thing. I knew the grade hadn't lessened in the past 2 months, and that it was going to hurt as much as it ever did. I could only hope that it didn't hurt more.
what I can say about this climb is that it has one of the most graceful, hill-hugging, sweepingly curved roads I have ever ridden upon. I love to see the arc of the rising road from below, then slowly make my way up and watch the curve bend back upon itself widely, gently, oh so gracefully.
it almost makes the pain tolerable.

the miles heading back north disappear much more quickly than those out south, save for a few climbs, and the "back to the barn" energy always helps me cover the final miles eagerly and relatively rapidly.
because I know that among other things, what waits for me at home is that soft couch with two warm blankets and a welcoming pillow.
and a warm shower.
and my favorite yellow, orange and red striped pajama pants.

oh, and perhaps a cookie or two.

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