Sunday, July 1, 2012

peat and repeat

I have a friend who ran in a 100-mile trail race, which is just a repulsive thought to me.
what made it sound even worse was the route:  it was a 20-mile loop, done 5 times.
I am not one who loves repeating laps.
I shudder at the thought, actually, fearing the probable boredom.
once I rode emigration canyon to the top twice in a row because I was with people who were on call and thus couldn't be more than twenty minutes away from the valley just in case .  .  .  it wasn't awful, but I experienced a vague sense of dis-ease the second time up:  repeating the same course just felt wrong.
that was the only time I'd done cycling laps, until yesterday.

but yesterday was different.
yesterday was the last day of the season to ride the upper half of millcreek canyon without cars.

millcreek canyon is gated halfway up from november 1 to june 30, allowing only hikers, cyclists, skiers, and snowshoers past the locked gate during those 8 months.  the road above the gate is narrow and winding, intensely steep in sections, and lined with thick, green vegetation.  it's cool, water streams alongside the road, and trees and sheer hillsides shade the bending, seemingly meandering asphalt.
in it's 8.5 miles one gains almost 2700 feet of elevation, with grades that range from zero percent (for a few glorious moments) to 13-15 percent (for a few heartbreaking stretches), depending upon whose toy is computing the grade.  a glorious descent is the reward for reaching the top.

so yesterday morning I rode it twice:  once by myself, early, in the cool of the morning, then a couple hours later with friends.
need I say that I rode a bit more quickly the first time?  an hour seven minutes the first time; an hour sixteen minutes two hours later.
but it was strikingly beautiful both times, and I made the most of the last day behind the locked gate.

sometimes it's okay to do laps, and repeat yourself.

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