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Too Much Cowbell…

July 2013

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I took to my favorite mountain pass again today – only this time I increased my ride by four miles and increased my speed by about 2-1/2 mph over yesterday’s attempt. I took it easy on the last few miles to rest up for the big climb: 700 feet over 3/4 mile or just under 18% average with two flats that make up the rest of the 1.1 mile trip up the mountain.

This time I remembered why I had so much trouble at the beginning of the climb. That first quarter of a mile is a pain in the butt after a good hard ride. I froze for a split second before I started winding the legs up. This time I didn’t stop for a breather either, I just took it really slow on the flatter sections to catch my breath… And I proceeded to blow up in the exact same spot. I just couldn’t get passed it with the worst yet to come. It’s just too much cowbell.

So I’ll try it again tomorrow. Oh, and I realized a little bit late again, that I’m operating at 2,500 feet above sea level instead of 700 feet. I don’t know if this would make a difference really, but it sure feels like it does – the muscles are more than willing, I just can’t get my breathing to match up. Ah well, it sure beats a swift kick in the teeth. I love cycling in the mountains.





  1. Sandra says:

    So, what kind of snake is that?

  2. The ONLY reason I enjoy riding in my area of the country is that there are ABSOLUTELY NO poisonous snakes, and the few other snakes we have rarely get longer than 18″ long!

  3. cyardin says:

    Argh snakes, regular visitors on my MTB routes in Australia. 18% is some seriously mean climbing. Coupled with the altitude, that is some serious face slapping. Giddy up! I remember moving to Salt Lake City for 3 months of work, and at 3500ft I was very short of breath.

    • bgddyjim says:

      You have the real snakes in Australia man… I can’t even imagine living there. There’s a couple of spots on this one over 20%. It’s brutal (but it’s fun trying).

  4. Oh my heavens that snake is ew. You are brave getting that close to it!
    I have noticed the change in altitude does make a difference to me, it takes me about 2 days to adjust for any “real” excursions.

  5. ftrunner says:

    Maybe you need a easy day.

  6. tischcaylor says:

    Now that’s what I call a snake. Holy crap!

  7. aaronwest says:

    Still kicking myself for not heading out there, but I am pretty sure it was raining the days I would have gone.

    For what it’s worth, never seen a snake like that on my travels. And never would have got that close.

    Hope you conquer the mountain. My advice is to start easy and try to keep the heart rate down as much as possible, stand up and slowly power up the steepest part(s). Even on steep stuff you can get into a nice, slow rhythm. And don’t stop.

    • bgddyjim says:

      For the snake, that’s mostly the magic of zoom (I was no closer than five feet, he wasn’t coiled so he couldn’t strike and he was slow moving so probably cold – therefore lethargic).

      For the mountain, I’m fantastic on anything up to a 12-15% grade, I can get my rhythm and power up without panting… With the really steep sections I just can’t seem to keep it at a spot where I can turn the cranks AND keep from hyperventilating. It’s a pickle but I’m keeping at it. It’s just a long way with no breaks.

      Don’t sweat not coming up. If Saturday had been as lousy as Sunday you’d have burned a weekend (and a couple hundred bucks) for nothing. It’s all good brother. We’ll get it done one of these days.

      • aaronwest says:

        I knew it was definitely going to rain Sunday, but thought it might rain Saturday too. It wasn’t the money I was worried about — but sitting in a hotel room not being able to ride my bike. I’d been doing enough of that at home over the last month. Definitely next year if not sooner.

        I think one problem with those steep grades is your gearing. You might want to get a compact 28 for your next trip out.

      • bgddyjim says:

        That’s the way I’m leaning.

  8. kruzmeister says:

    See plenty of snakes in Oz during Summer rides too, thankfully most stay out of your way, but the first time you see one, makes you remember the snake bite kit for next time! Haha. The pics your missus took of the mountain looks similar to a local ride near my place which is on my list to conquer, not high as in altitude, but lots of short twists with very sharp steep hills. My local LBS guy told me about it and I sized it up in the car the other day. Gunna give myself another few hill rides on the roadie and then give it a crack.

  9. Lucky I do not encounter such things on my ride.

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