Sunday, April 17, 2011

go until the snow

my friend ivy is training for a race, and thus offering us---her biking friends---multiple opportunities to "go for a ride." she thinks we'll all be in great shape by the time her race rolls around: I'm not so sure. I might just be plain old exhausted if I keep following her around.

example: saturday's ride. she sent an email out friday, alerting us to her plans and welcoming our company. it was to be a hill day, her coaching instructions being to go climb as many hills as she could.
for eight hours.
her plan was to start by climbing city creek canyon as far as she could, until the snow blocked her path. then on to emigration canyon, and up east until the snow blocked her path. next would be millcreek canyon, until---you guessed it---the snow blocked her path. after that would be big cottonwood, a canyon which is only blocked by snow after the road ends.
I was up for a significant ride, itching to have something under my belt longer than a ride to draper and tougher than just emigration. so I signed on for the ride, planning to keep riding until I felt I'd hit my limit. unfortunately, I started to feel my limits closing in on the way up the first canyon . . . I had hoped that ivy and crew might be riding at an endurance pace, but it seems that ivy has increased her endurance pace to something that puts me in oh-gee-how-long-can-I-maintain-this pace.
I survived city creek. and emigration, past the gate toward east, down to george washington park, and back up little mountain.
all the way down emigration I debated how much more I wanted to do. our original 6 riders had pared down to 3 by then, and one more was leaving us at the bottom of emigration. that would leave me and the ivy machine, and I was torn. the thought of riding up 3 canyons 'til the snow stopped me in mid april was hugely appealing. I also was eager to head up millcreek, not having been there since last fall. I wanted to see the snow, to see if one could ride past the gate, and if so, how far.
but my legs were moaning. whining, really, and well, hurting. oh, yes, no, yes, no.
we turned left at the bottom of the canyon and my mind pulled me south, my grumpy legs reluctantly revolving around and around. those legs moaned all the way to the mouth of millcreek, when they stopped the moaning and began shouting. no! no! I refuse to go!
5 miles, I told myself, that's all. it's 5 miles to the gate, and the likelihood of there being visible pavement after the gate is slim to none. way too much snow up there. 5 miles, susan, you can do this.
I have never, ever, climbed that canyon as slowly as I did yesterday. but did it I did, limping up, and cruising down feeling like I had conquered my own small battle, mind over muscle.

and that is the story of go until the snow.
the epilogue is that ivy continued on, riding south again, heading up to brighton and snarfing a cheeseburger before heading back home. I, myself, was plenty proud to wiggle and wimp my way home, where I fed myself like I'd climbed 4 canyons instead of 3. no cheeseburgers, but just about everything else in the fridge.
73 miles, somewhere just shy of 6000 feet elevation gain, in mid-april. not too bad. perhaps if I keep following ivy around I'll get in great shape. or perhaps I'll just get exhausted.

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