|Time||Total – 4:39 |
Moving – 4:22
|Speed||Overall – 17.3 mph|
Moving – 18.5 mph
Elevation – 4809 ft
|Breakfast||7:15 AM – 2 Yoplait yogurts, muesli|
|Workout Food||2 Clif Bars, 2 Atomic Gu gels (includes caffeine), 2 bottles Cytomax|
|Therapy||stretching – hamstrings|
|Weather||low 40s at the start, 50 at the finish, sun, some wind all day|
|Course||Red Rock Canyon loop|
|Clothing||knit shoes covers, knee warmers, bib shorts, Craft long sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, wind vest, OR Gripper gloves, cap|
If at first you don't succeed, try again. Two days ago I attempted to make it out to Red Rock Canyon and was stopped by the wind. This time I made it. Hooray for me.
The headwind was not so bad as last time heading out but you are still gradually gaining elevation so you can't exactly go fast. Mostly I was cruising along at 17-18 mph in the 53x19 but never had to resort to the small chainring. It was also a little colder today but I did not mind. I still wasn't getting all bundled up like at home and the sun makes it SO nice to be out on the road.
As I rode past the spot where I turned around two days ago (about 30 miles in) I felt much better. It's right around here that the scenery starts to become enjoyable too. You get away from all the urban sprawl, trash, road debris and are closer to the hills. I could see snow on the upper slopes and the foreshortening effect made it seem a lot closer than it really was.
As I pulled into the entrance to the Red Rock Canyon scenic loop I saw a toll booth... Argh. It had not even occurred to me that this would cost money and I had none on me. As I pulled up to the window I tried to put on my most humble and trustworthy face and told the woman in the booth that I was visiting from Seattle and had no idea there was an entry fee (which was true) and would she please make an exception for me so I could ride up the canyon... She kinda did a double take but then she let me in! Her expression told the story, "Jesus, another tourist that thinks everything is free...?! Is everyone normally this stupid or do they work at it?"
I was so happy. My face lit up and I think I told her happy holidays or something lame like that but my grin was ear to ear as I started up the canyon.
I recall driving this loop one or two years ago and it seemed really steep. Riding it to day was not that bad. I did have to grab my lowest gear (42x25) on two occasions but it was so pretty and the music on my iPod was perfect and the sun was shining so today was a good day. The air was colder up here but he first time the road leveled off I took off my vest and gloves on account of I was working harder.
People were parked everywhere and hiking and climbing all over the red rock. I wanted to join them! I think scrambling over boulders has got to be one of the most fun things you can do.
The whole way up I was looking to my left, to my right, up the canyon... I hardly looked down at the road at all there was so much to see. I got passed by some cars but not too many, maybe 30? Not bad for a five mile climb.
When I reached the top I did not realize it and overshot the last lookout. Once I figured it out I pulled over, took a picture of the lookout behind me and put my vest and gloves back on for the descent.
The loop is a one-way road and the climb is definitely steeper and has more twists and turns but the descent was still fun. I managed to pass one car back. :)
There were burros next to the fence at several spots on the way down and people had parked their cars to take pictures. I thought about it but hate interrupting a fast downhill so kept on rolling.
As I turned back onto the highway something felt wrong... It did not take me long to figure it out – the wind was not at my back. Crap. Two days ago I was flying on my return trip and today I was actually riding into a headwind again. This persisted all the way down 159 and only got worse on 160. I had a brief moment of concern when I realized there were still 25 miles to go and it was going to take me over an hour as this was my longest ride since last summer! My left hamstring was feeling kind of suspect like it might cramp but I worked it out, told myself to enjoy the sun and it ended up being okay.
Although I was not flying back home, the net loss in elevation did let me ride at 22-24 mph most of the time so that was some consolation. Still, the 35+ mph I was doing two days ago was pretty damn fun.
As I rode back on the bicycle paths I could not help laughing at their condition. The bits that were finished were great but then the path would stop and I was floating through gravel. I'm betting there is not much incentive to get these kinds of projects finished up in this part of the country. Just a hunch.
I noticed just 30 miles into my ride that my chain was making a lot of noise and it only got worse the further I rode. I had used alight lube two days ago and I think the conditions had simply evaporated the oil! The take-away from this is lube your chain more often when you are in Las Vegas.
Two days ago my back started to hurt when I rode and today it was as good as I had any reason to expect. Nice. Not totally free from discomfort but pain free and that is good enough for me. I rode on the tops of my bars a lot today and tried to keep my spine straight. As straight as I could anyway. Nice to get in four solid hours and not have it complain too much. Also nice to get in this much riding time with a minimum of stopping/dorking around! Only 17 minutes off the bike, that's great!