Monday, September 19, 2011

the Big Nasty

saturday I conquered the Big Nasty.
conquered, nailed, attacked, beat, kicked, trampled.
woo hoo!!!

okay, maybe you don't know what the Big Nasty is.
so it would be hard to be impressed, or to even understand my enthusiasm.

I'll help you out. the Big Nasty is a climb up the La Sal mountains outside of moab, utah, that has been given a bunch of cute names for many of its little phases. "3000 feet in 7 miles" is its claim, and it has been waving its little hand at me for about 4 years now. come and get me, it has whispered, and I've always found one excuse or another to avoid it.

until last saturday.

the day dawned wet and gloomy. rainy, gray, all of moab's red dirt washing over the roads and leaping to attach itself to any surface, carbon, nylon, wool, plastic. the rain pulled itself back into the heavy clouds by about half past seven, and shortly after that we set out, hoping to conquer the mountain before the predicted afternoon thundershowers showed up.

the ride begins with a slow, steady (depressingly false-flat like) climb to the base of the La Sal mountains at pack creek ranch. the headwind began about 2 miles in, and the rain joined it about 8 miles in. slogging away at the 3 percent grade, shivering, wondering when the 74 degree, sunny day was going to show up, we were extremely grateful to reach the beginning of the real climb when both the rain and the headwind disappeared.
instead, like magic, before us rose the Little Nasty.
it was nasty.
but brief---those 10-13% grades were just a tease during that short little climb.
next came Tom's Misery--another relatively brief ascent--and then came the Launch Pad (guess which way the slope leaned), before, finally, the Big Nasty itself.
it was nastier.
but it, too, ended, and I thought I'd survived it amazingly well, warming myself by the fire pit at the aid station at the top.
next came the downhill.
oops, no, not really.
we started down, and then suddenly we were going up again . . . then down then up, up, up . . . eventually climbing Heaven's Staircase, and finally reaching the real peak at Heaven's Overlook.
I love it when these climbs receive cute little names. mainly because it gives you something else to concentrate (hah! like I can concentrate with no oxygen!) on while you're convincing yourself 10 percent is not a big deal, nor is 12. or 13.

what I really want to share is that I conquered the darn thing last saturday.
so did a hundred and fifty other brave souls, many of whom haven't had nearly the coaching, training, and miles logged that I have.
we were all awesome.
we all conquered, kicked, trampled, beat, attacked, and nailed that darn thing.

and I hope every one who has ever done the same thing has the same little smile inside that I do, the one that hops up and down and giggles, I kicked the Big Nasty!
woo hoo!

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